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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Jennifer Barish, Communication Management & Design ‘14, FLEFF intern, Skokie, IL
When Lynne Cohen moved to Ithaca, NY, she noticed that the community needed film—not just commercial blockbusters, but substantial pieces of art that could infuse a small town with big city culture.
In 2000, current Executive Director, Lynne Cohen, co-created The Seventh Art Corporation of Ithaca, Inc. The non-profit currently owns and operates Ithaca’s Cinemapolis with the goal to bring the best international and independent film to the community.
After chatting with Lynne, I learned how a small community cinema could become an epicenter of new thought and multi-generational conversation.
This year Cinemapolis will host the 2012 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. When Patricia Zimmerman approached Lynne Cohen about partnering with the festival, Lynne welcomed the idea because holding the festival would strengthen Cinemapolis’ mission to “encourages central New York residents to explore the power of film.”
FLEFF gives Cinemapolis a chance to screen a unique array of international films only available through the festival. And Cinemapolis gives FLEFF a beautiful facility to present poignant films in a venue loved by the entire community.
During Cinemapolis’ reopening in 2009, the community flocked to build the new theatre. The location is truly a reflection of the passionate, Ithacan patrons who support art in the local community.
Starting March 29th at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Cinemapolis will open its doors to community members, students, and guests from around the world to discuss complex ideas in a new, equally passionate micro-topic community.
And Lynne’s advice to initiate your own, artistic microtopia?
“Be passionate….find a need that’s not being met….take a risk, be thoughtful, and be brave.”
Monday, February 20, 2012
In every academic paper I have written, I am always told to define my terms. But with a term as complex as microtopias, declaring a definition becomes daunting. The meaning of the complex concept of microtopias depends on personal perspective. But the same is true when defining utopias in general because perfection or the characteristics of a perfect society differs from person to person. So here are my terms.
A utopia is an ideal, perfect society. We imagine this society without limits or constraints, reminding me of the inspirational quote, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” For me, that means creating a sustainable community with a systems thinking mindset that utilizes nonviolent communication.
That being said, I define microtopias as a society that recognizes one cannot create a utopia for the entire world. Instead we strive to bring this concept to the little piece of world surrounding us. What makes up my entire world may not even be on someone else’s radar. It doesn’t make it any less important; it just makes it mine. Through this concept we localize, which is a vital characteristic to my utopian sustainable society that I defined above.
FLEFF itself can be defined as its own microtopian society. It’s here. It builds community. It sparks conversation about limitless solutions to local struggles.
How do you define microtopias? Is it possible to turn ideal into actuality? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Monday, February 20, 2012
Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York
Alright, here's the scene: you are finally about to see the film you have been begging all your friends to sacrifice ten bucks for and go see with you. You get there, overcome with excitement for this movie. You are sitting in the middle of a packed theater with about one hundred other people who are as excited as you for the lights to dim and the previews to start rolling. Suddenly, this unfamiliar, yet bittersweet feeling of claustrophobia overcomes you. And for some reason, you love this feeling. We all do. And that is what we call community.
Community is ubiqituous. The sensation that is shaped through cliques of texting teenagers. The harmonious brotherhood that materializes in college fraternities. The cohesion between families that is created in neighborhood culdesacs. No matter where this dynamic manifests, it's undeniable that community is bliss.
This was exactly what it felt like during the screening of Oka! at Cinemapolis, a film that jumpstarted the fifteenth anniversary of FLEFF. The theater was saturated with incredible passion, palpable energy and, of course, a feeling of togetherness. Audience members even expressed promising feelings that the amount of energy will only escalade as the festival quickly approaches.
It's funny to think about how total strangers can be thrown together in a room and generate a better viewing experience than the one that would be created by being alone in a theater. But that's what communities do. It's astonishing to see how the idea of a communitiy can achieve so many rewarding effects. It creates a lingering sense of unity while still promoting diversity. It enhances companionship while preserving identity. It's basically what we would call a microtopia.
Now here's some questions I will leave you all with:
Do you agree with the sensation of being in a packed theater?
What does it feel like before a film starts for you?
What are your thoughts on the establishment of a community?
(And in case you didn't get the title, check this out. Save Community!)
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Passion: it’s an uncontrollable desire, an inner fire. For me, passion is the most important emotion to incorporate in every aspect of my life, whether that is through my writing, my friendships, or my other interests.
What is even more exciting and invigorating than personal passion is finding people with a shared passion. And I’m not talking about shared love of trends like sports teams, Harry Potter, Twilight or Lady Gaga. I am talking about true, down and dirty, this-is-going-to-change-my-life and I-want-to-change-the-world passion. Trends are superficial. Passion goes deeper than that. It’s an emotion of the soul that touches down to the inner cores of our being. Passion builds relationships, friendships, and community.
At the screening of Oka, the first film to kick off FLEFF 2012, the sense of shared passion in the packed theater was overwhelming. The buzz of excitement, the gasps of shock, the silence of intrigue had everyone in a joint state of hypnosis. This can only happen with a connection on that deep level that passion evokes. We were all there and present in that theater because of a passion for environmental advocacy, music, film, etc. I felt connected to the strangers in that theater because of it. We all shared a few hours together, soaking our souls in FLEFF goodness.
I have found that the best friendships and strongest relationships in my life have not been formed because of a shared obsession for Urban Outfitters or the catchy television show Glee. They have grown from life loves and awe-inspiring aspiration. The best things in life come from passion.
What is your passion and how will you share it?