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

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Posted by Kimberly Capehart at 10:42AM
A list of the films being shown in one of the theaters in Cinemapolis on Saturday, April 5th

Blog posting by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production '16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, NJ

With screenings beginning at noon, Saturday, April 5th was a very full day of FLEFF. 

The lobby quickly filled with coffee-clutching people around 11:30, eagerly anticipating the day's full line up, including: A Will for the Woods with filmmakers Amy Browne, Tony Hale, and Brian Wilson, Dissonance Diaries: a free event with Dr. Steve Tropiano of the Ithaca College Los Angeles program, a screening of a number of EngageMedia shorts with co-founder and executive director of the site, Andrew Loewenthal, Drill Baby Drill with filmmaker Lech Kowalski via Skype, the WORLD PREMIERE of Cotton Road, with filmmaker and IC alum, Laura Kissel, The New Public with distributor Rodrigo Brandao of Kino Lorber films, Arise with filmmaker Lori Joyce, Shored Up with distributor Vanessa Domico and, via Skype, filmmaker Ben Kalina, a free lecture by Russian feminist and academic, Irina Aristarkhova, titled Okrunzie: Pussy Riot, Sochi, and Anti-Gay Politics, Battleship Potemkin, a silent film with live music by Ithaca's own Cloud Chamber OrchestraThe Rocket, with distributor Rodrigo Brandao, The Questioning and Though I Am Gone with distributor Kevin Lee of dGenerate films, Mothers, and Brasco

I started off my Saturday with the screening of shorts from the social and environmental justice video site EngageMedia. The screening featured a number of films from a project that Engage had set up, called Papuan Voices. Loewenthal and his team went into West Papua, a province of Indonesia, and provided the locals with cameras, computers, and editing supplies and then taught them all of the technical aspects of filmmaking so that they could have an outlet to tell their own stories. These mini-documentaries are then available for viewing on the EngageMedia website. 

We saw several of these mini-documentaries that revolved around issues such as land use, environmental protection, women's rights, the influence of the military in daily life, etc. The screening was followed by a discussion with Loewenthal, who happily went into more detail about the project and EngageMedia in general.

Next up was the world premiere of Cotton Road. Ithaca College and FLEFF alumni Laura Kissel was proud to be screening her film for the first time to a completely SOLD OUT audience. The film traces the path of cotton in the global supply chain from South Carolina to factories all over China back to stores in America and in other countries all over the world. 

After the film, Kissel answered questions from the audience and passed out information sheets about ways in which people can get involved in the conversation about clothing production and globalization. 

Following Cotton Road, I made my way over to Irina Aristarkhova's lecture, Okrunzie. Aristarkhova discussed contemporary Russian society and feminism in the framework of such events as the Pussy Riot protests, the Sochi Olympics and President Putin's new anti-gay laws. Clearly a very interested and well-read academic, Aristarkhova entertained questions from the audience following the lecture. The post-lecture discussion lasted nearly as long as the lecture itself.

After a small gap in time between the lecture and the 7 PM showings, a massive crowd made its way in to theater 5, Cinempolis' largest theater, to see Battleship Potemkin, a classic film from 1925, with accompanying improvised instrumentation from the Cloud Chamber Orchestra. The Cloud Chamber Orchestra is always a pleasure to hear, and they absolutely transformed the experience of watching a silent film, such as Potemkin

They received a huge round of applause from the audience after setting down their instruments. 

And so, after a long day of films, popcorn, and discussion with filmmakers, producers, and distributors both in and out of the theater, the 3rd day of screenings at Cinemapolis came to an end. 

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