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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 Isabel Galupo at 7:58PM

Blog posting by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD

Tonight, Robby Aceto visited the intern staff to discuss his role at FLEFF 2012.

Aceto is an internationally recognized "color" guitarist. He explained that the term "color guitarist" allows him to signal that he uses his instrument in unexpected, non-traditional ways.

He explained, "there's an expectation of what you hear from a guitar, especially an electric's used in very narrow ways...[but] the capabilities of the instrument are really much broader than that."

This year will mark his fourth year performing at FLEFF. 

Aceto will be performing on the closing night of the festival at Cinemapolis, the local independent art cinema and long-time FLEFF partner.

He will be scoring the silent film "Nanook of the North," which is considered the first feature-length documentary film. 2012 marks the 90th anniversary of the release of the film. 

Scoring silent films is a crucial part of film history. Before synchronous sound technology was developed, it was very typical for orchestras to accompany the screening of silent films in theaters. 

In explaining the integrity of scoring silent films in modern times, Aceto also stressed the importance of active audience attendance and participation in these performances:

"Being there, you have an effect on the outcome." 

Many interns inquired about the process and technique behind improvisational film scoring. Some of his tips included:

"Embrace the accidents that occur."

Ask yourself: "What did the filmmaker want? If he was here now, what would he think?"

"You've got to embrace the silence, as well as the noise." 

And, above all, "You've got to make it happen." 

The one thing that struck me the most about Aceto's presentation is the almost cautionary statement he made as soon as he stood up before us:

"I'm not an academic. I'm a person who is always doing things." 

The nature of Aceto's improvisational work for FLEFF is doing. He does not glue himself in front of his television watching and re-watching films, completing hours and hours of preliminary research before he performs. He sees, experiences, and feels the film, and then translates those raw emotions into uncensored musical language. 

In today's society, are we encouraged to process information by doing as Robby Aceto does? 

How does FLEFF create a safe space for artists and academics alike to explore ideas through action, through doing

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