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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Andrew Ronald at 1:02AM   |  2 comments
Andrew Ronald

Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York

The power of cinema is important to anyone who may be in the filmmaking business or studying film theory, and it even targets viewers who simply derive enjoyment from watching films. This affinity to cinema was something that struck me at an early age, justifying my current role as an eager freshman at Ithaca College working towards earning my BFA in Film, Photography & Visual Arts. It probably also accounts for why my friends vacantly stare at me when I hold interminable conversations about the latest feature film out in theaters that they “need to go see immediately!” It also explains why I find these jokes hilarious:

  • Screenwriting tip: The best place for a character to breakdown and cry is always in the shower.

  • In Fight Club, half the people in the movie talked about the damn Fight Club.

  • If you really want to know why horror movies no longer scare people, just watch the news.
    ...and more entertaining movie humor!

Simply put, film is moving. Is it captivating. And it is inspiring.

This power, however, is not limited to the cinematic world, and this is something that the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival understands. FLEFF manifests this energy in such a way to permeate the minds of an interdisciplinary culture, ranging from aspiring filmmakers to individuals who are ardent about exploring human nature and even those who are passionate about the planet. Appropriately, this year's theme touches upon the concept of microtopias, an environmentally relevant subject as the festival upholds values of sustainability. Microtopias is indicative of the nature of the festival, promoting a liberal view on a myriad of subjects that will be presented at the festival.

This is one of the main reasons I knew I needed to become involved with FLEFF. Of course during my experience as an intern, I know that I will be surrounded by an overwhelming (yet by no means exhausting) amount of film. After all, the first festival-related event includes a screening of OKA! taking place at Ithaca's local not-for-profit theater, Cinemapolis on February 12 with director Lavinia Currier. But I knew there was more to FLEFF than just letting the harmonious sound of the words "film festival" ring in my ears. There is so much more rewarding information to inherit by becoming involved with FLEFF (and some delicious wine to taste at the Finger Lakes Wine Center who was generous enough to host our evening celebrations!) The collision between social interaction, dynamic energy, mystifying adaptation, relatable locality, innovative technology, and rejection of utopia all seem to define FLEFF for what it promises and what it teaches.

So now I have a question for all you eager and ambitious FLEFFers out there! As a passionate film enthusiast, I am going to throw this question out there: What's your favorite film and how does it inspire you? Who knows, maybe your favorite film hasn't been discovered yet and will be screened on March 25 when FLEFF starts!


Great first post, Andrew! As a fellow film fanatic, I found all of your discussions about film as an art (or even something to joke about) incredibly entertaining!

I particularly like this quote: "Simply put, film is moving. Is it captivating. And it is inspiring."

As for a favorite film, I'm sure you know as well as I do, that is a challenge to try to answer! Though I have many, I thought I would share one that is lesser-known, and also relevant to FLEFF:

"Contact", starring Jodie Foster, is a film about contact with beings from another galaxy, however their intent and identities are completely unknown, and the film is essentially a journey to discover how to make contact back with them. The plot is hard to describe without having seen the film, but by the end of the 2-hour journey I was left absolutely *floored* at the concept of the human race, how insignificant each of us are, and how we have to let our own individual beliefs remain strong no matter what.

I think that says a lot about FLEFF - we do not live in a utopian society, but we CAN create microtopias within our own lives. The people we make contact with, those we share our beliefs with... it can be incredibly powerful.

Your passion for film is tangible throughout your first post and I am eager to read more about you and your perspectives on FLEFF throughout the upcoming semester; great job, Andrew!

Sarah's previous comment struck me as particularly insightful, as she answered your question with the theme of FLEFF in mind. Therefore, I have decided to also choose a movie that at once inspires me and also furthers discussion about the idea of microtopias: "Ratcatcher," by Lynne Ramsay.

"Ratcatcher" is set in a working class neighborhood in Glasgow during the 1973 Scottish national garbage strike. Trash bags line the sidewalks, and rats and other disease-carrying vermin start to live dangerously near residencies. The trash build-up also pollutes a nearby canal, where the children of the neighborhood often play. The children are forced to live and grow up-- dealing with things such as bullying, death, first crushes, and friendship-- among these unsafe conditions.

Ramsay's film is relevant to FLEFF on multiple levels; for one, it depicts an extremely damaging environmental problem that threatens adults and children alike. It also shows how childhood and imagination can become microtopias in the face of environmental, social, political, and domestic crises. "Ratcatcher" reminds me that when building solutions to the world's problems seems too daunting of a task, I can always find solace and solution in my imagination.

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