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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 Kimberly Capehart at 7:40PM
The Crowd by King Vidor (1928)

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

On Saturday, April 10th, the 18th annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival hosted its annual silent film, live music collaborative event. This year, King Vidor's 1928 classic, The Crowd, was accompanied by the musical stylings of Ithaca's very own Cloud Chamber Orchestra. 

The smooth electroacoustic musings of piano, cello, electric guitar, percussion, and brass provided a larger than life sensory experience: transporting the audience to the young energy and business of 1920s Manhattan. Sitting there in the theater, shoulder to shoulder with a crowd of community members, the resonances between art and life became too obvious to ignore.

Consisting of local musicians Robby Aceto, Peter Dodge, and Chris White, the Cloud Chamber Orchestra is an improvisational group that specializes in live film scores for silent films.  

The group has performed original, improvised film scores for films such as Nanook of the North, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and The Great White Trail, among others, and continues to be an annual favorite at FLEFF favorite.

The Crowd "addresses the life and travails of a "common" married couple as they struggle to survive in a large and impersonal metropolis. The film is generally included on lists of greatest of all American films and was chosen as one of the first twenty-five selected by the Library Congress for permanent preservation."

Chris White, the cellist of the group, writes in an email correspondence, " I think that this was the most poignant film we have scored. Being a father, a husband and having lived through a lot of the ups and downs portrayed in the movie, I felt very empathetic with the kinds of hardships that the main characters were facing. Even though this all took place a century ago, it addresses real human experiences and feelings that are still pertinent to today, and I hope that our music helped underscore that."

What did you think of The Crowd and Cloud Chamber Orchestra? 

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