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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Ann Michel and her husband Phil Wilde are FLEFF producers and owners of Insights International, Inc. According to the company website, “We speak science. We speak non-fiction video. We speak documentary filmmaking. We can bring the outside world to the classroom; and the classroom to the outside world.” Insights International, Inc. was formed in 1980 and continues to produce innovative work today. Check out their latest endeavors!
Can you tell me about your role in FLEFF?
About 10 years ago or a couple years after, Ithaca College acquired FLEFF. Professor Zimmermann, who’s a very good friend, asked us, my husband Phil Wilde and I who run Insights International Inc, that’s our production company – she basically asked Insights to help her produce some of the events that were taking place at Ithaca College and it’s grown into us remaining producers for the live events that are part of the FLEFF week and also helping at Cinemapolis making sure that the festival is run in a professional manner. In the past 3 years we also ran the internship class that enable students to get 1 credit for participating in very hands on way during the festival and in other events surrounding the festival, which is actually something much bigger then the festival. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes and throughout the year to run a festival.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
For many of the artists who participate in FLEFF the organizers and the flavor of FLEFF give us some creative freedom to really create some original imagery which is usually used during the Tuesday night concert as well as help to shape the festival. It’s a great team to be a part of. The leadership is good. It’s always a pleasure to be on that kind of team and on this team we are given quite a bit of create latitude. And here’s an example of that, last year and this year we will be curating a section of Russian films and documentaries for FLEFF. There’s a slot now. We did it last year and they’ve asked us to do it again and we will. So we’ve been able to really create an international presence for FLEFF and bring some interesting new documentaries into Ithaca and we have a discussion after we screen something. This year I’m really excited because of the Olympics the spotlight is really on Russia. The short part of it is that we’re able to work with FLEFF to bring some exciting films into Ithaca and I’m really excited to be able to do that.
What’s something people don’t know about FLEFF?
There’s more to it that meets the eye. Which is good. Like a good party – there’s a lot of planning but you should never be made aware of it.
What do people in the community need to know about FLEFF?
For a student I think the hardest thing for them is to carve out the time, especially Ithaca College students. There’s so many extracurricular so many important things. I think students get stretched very thin. And the thing about a festival is it’s a very compact experience. What people should know is that the more time they spend at FLEFF the better it is. It’s kind of hard to convince people otherwise. You can pick one or two films you’re really interested, but just being around and going to the parties and participate in the discussions, the atmosphere is such that you can meet people. You can meet the visiting professionals and just have conversations. Some students have eventually landed jobs making a contact at the networking thing. So what you have to do is just go! Save the date! Don’t book any championships or state team finals or breaking up with your boyfriend. Just come. And the more you come the better it is. It’s a direct relationship.
What’s your proudest moment in all the years you’ve been involved?
There’s highlights and low lights. It’s a little like show business. You go on with the show right?
What are you looking forward to the most at the festival?
I always look forward to the concert at Hockett with the visiting musicians. Jairo Geronymo comes in. He was an IC professor for a while and now he’s one in Berlin. He’s so much fun. Debbie Martin and he are such a great pair on the piano. We’ve worked together for years. So that’s always nice to have a team with continuity. Everybody knows each other. Everybody knows how to work together and how to make things better each year. So that’s been a really nice progression to do that concert because these are very professional people. And Professor Zimmermann directs it and she really gives everyone a lot of creative latitude when they work with her.