About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Phil Wilde, vice president of Insights International, Inc. fell in love when he was a college student at Cornell University in 1970. That year, he picked up a Portapak camera for the first time and began recording everything. Film became his addiction.
Since 1970, Wilde has helped develop small video organizations in Ithaca, has worked at Insights International Inc., and has worked for Ithaca College several times as lecturer. His most recent collaboration with the college has been through his involvement with Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.
EG: How did you first discover film?
PW: It’s an addiction. Honestly, it’s just like heroin. I had my first hit of video in 1970. I borrowed a Portapak, it was the first thing that I could get my hands on where I could actually have the freedom of expression in television. Film was too expensive to produce. I was a student; I couldn’t afford film to run through a camera, but I could to borrow a video camera from Cornell University’s library, and go out for the very first time — these were the first portable cameras that ever existed — and go out and film something that was a subject I was interested in. So I got an addiction to being able to tell my story with video and I was lucky enough to come along at the time when it was first invented. I was a sophomore in college, I was just 18.
EG: Why is it important to have festivals like FLEFF somewhere like Ithaca, a college town?
PW: The problem with most film festivals is that they are mostly involved in selling the films. In other words, the film festival is a place where the filmmaker comes and presents his or her work. They bring their stuff here and try to get a distributor or whatever it might be, that is the typical film festival. Or a film festival is meant to try to promote a certain place. The first film festivals where Paris and Italy and Rome and they were meant to promote Rome and not necessarily the film, but what Ithaca College brings to it is a third way. It’s not just about the film, it’s not just about the place, it’s about the intellectual experience of the expression of film and the audience. The intellectual perspective that a college town and a college — and specifically Ithaca College — brings to it is to allow a dialogue that is an examination of the film not just a celebration.
EG: How are you involved behind the scenes at FLEFF?
PW: I teach people how to schmooze, how to go up to people and have a conversation and come out of it with something more than a pleasant conversation. In other words you never learn anything if you are talking, so I teach people how to listen to the people who come to FLEFF: the presenters, the people who bring their films, the people who are interested in film.
An awful lot of the [interns in FLEFF are] people who were in film or television or theater or parts of Ithaca College that are the performing and television radio arts and the best thing that you can do if you are a person like that is to learn how to talk to other people. So I showed people the ways to get the most out of that kind of experience at FLEFF. To enhance the students’ intellectual dialogue. Thats exactly what we do.
EG: What about FLEFF do you like the most?
PW: I just love the idea of having this experience right in my backyard. I travel all over to other festivals. I’ve got some favorite little ones that I always try to go to, but here it’s coming to me, and the other side of it too is an chance to offer what I’ve got inside me to this intellectual community. I’ve always thought of the educational side of video and film.
EG: What advice do you give students attending the festival?
PW: I think everyone should take the time to go up to the artists who are there and engage in a personal dialogue. I think that is the most incredible thing about FLEFF. Everybody should approach a filmmaker or a producer or somebody who has brought a film or somebody who speaks on a film at FLEFF, or somebody who’s been at FLEFF. Everyone, engage in a dialogue.
I know it’s as hard as asking a girl out. It’s just as hard to go up to most people and start a conversation, but it’s so worth it.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD
Every Wednesday night, the staff of FLEFF interns are instructed by Ann Michel and Phillip Wilde, co-directors of the production company Insights International. In this class, Ann and Phil guide us on how to market FLEFF to the Ithaca community, how to engage with festival guests and artists, and how to think about the business of film festivals in creative and innovative ways.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ann after class last week and learn about her experience as a media professional, her paradoxical interests in mathematics and filmmaking, and her thoughts on live performances in FLEFF:
On her work for Insights International and her March 27th "Workshop on 100 Films about Water:"
"Insights produces social issue and science films...[the films at the workshop] are very short, bite size science...we're hoping with our filmmaking skills to bring people into the science fold that haven't really been in it before."
On the influence of math in her work as a filmmaker:
"Mathematics is a very concise language...the shortest sentence in the world is e = mc2. In 5 letters, you have described the universe. Good filmmaking, in my opinion, can also be concise."
On what makes FLEFF a unique experience:
"FLEFF always tries to do outside of traditional film screening events...watching a movie is not a big deal, so to get people out of their houses and into a theater...you have to add value to the experience, and one way to do that is to have performers...so that it becomes a more theatrical event."
Be sure to attend the "Workshop of 100 Films about Water," hosted by producers/directors Ann Michel and Phillip Wilde on Tuesday, March 27th in Park 279 from 2:35 - 3:50 P.M. Ann and Phil will be presenting segments of films that deal with the science and politics of water.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This past week, I spoke with Phil Wilde, FLEFF producer, Internship Coordinator (my boss!), and coprincipal of Insights International. We talked about the unique atmosphere of the festival, the various interpretations of the term "Environment" as well as our shared enthusiasm for soul music. Phil has been active in the festival since its inception and expressed excitement for the upcoming events.
Evan Johnson: What are some of your responsibilities as FLEFF Intern Coordinator and have their roles or responsibilities changed this year?
Phil Wilde: What we tried to do this year was to create some teams that would allow people a lot of flexibility. If someone has a class one night - someone else can pick up the slack. It's a task where assigning someone a job in Februrary that needs to be done in April is a very difficult thing to do so having a team that's assigned the project means there's a flexibility to get the job done
EJ: Recently, you told me about the appeal of "the big city" and a much more rural environment. Could you tell me more about why they appeal to you?
PW: It's not what they have in common, it's more of what's different between the two. The idea of the environment is really based on where you are. So a "city' person will have a different view of the environment than a "country" person and that's something that FLEFF really plays with - the different environments people find themselves in.
EJ: The interpretations of "environment" is something that FLEFF does a terrific job of analyzing. As the festival has grown in success and popularity, how has FLEFF changed its interpretation of the term?
PW: FLEFF was very much involved in activism and the green movement at Cornell. What's become unique about FLEFF is that the kind of people who are now helping the program have a very deep around the cultural issues around the environment. Not just if we have enough air to breath but what will get us there through cultural understanding.
EJ: As an organizer, what drew you to the festival?
PW: One of the reasons i gravitated towards working with FLEFF is that I'm very conscious of people's environmental perception. It's what I studied in college and what I studied in grad school. What I tend to make films about are people's perceptions of their environment. Whether it's a person in the disabled community, urban-rural issues, or farming, food and putting food on the table. I'm always interested in people's personal perspective and I try very hard not to prejudge. And that's what FLEFF tends to be.
EJ: What are some different perspectives audiences can expect this year at FLEFF?
PW: I think its very similar to previous years only in that the films are not typical environmental films. People would have a hard time calling some of the films "environmental films." But the perspective of the people who are programming it have brought a good enough explanation so that we'll understand those things.
EJ: Are there any long term plans you have for FLEFF outside of the Ithaca area?
PW: I really don't think there's a need to address that. If it grows in the same way it's been growing then I don't think it needs to leave the Ithaca area. Maybe something in the city that shows us off - but I think we're doing quite alot by having it here at Ithaca College.
EJ: What is the best part about having FLEFF interns?
PW: It's absolutely their ethusiasm. I know what they're about to experience and how much they'll enjoy it. Some people have no idea what we're about to do - others have seen it last year or the year before but it's always an amazing event when it happens because people find a common bond after watching all these films.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Blog posting by Shea Lynch, Documentary Studies and Production '14, FLEFF Intern, Glens Falls, New York
Things are heating up!
We have FLEFF mini-courses coming up after spring break and FLEFF Week is just around the corner. I interviewed FLEFF Internship Coordinator Ann Michel to give us further insight into the FLEFF community.
Why is FLEFF important to the student body and community?
"We hope it encourages you to think. I mean, your whole college experience should be about that but we hope that FLEFF, in a concentrated way, really gets your braincells activated in new ways that you didn't think could."
How do you like "team teaching"?
"I like it because it takes the pressure off me. Two heads are better than one. I think humans do very well in groups and that's one of the reasons we structured the class to have groups of eight or nine people. Those groups will come up with more than 45 individuals ever could."
What are some struggles in teaching the class?
"It's tricky to schedule people to come in to speak to the class and coordinating 15 classes to make sure that each of the classes is worth it for [the interns] is a challenge. I want everyone to walk out of this room saying, 'I didn't know that before'."
What about the future interns?
"Bigger and better. If [the current interns] are successful this year, [FLEFF] will be bigger next year because we would have sold out more shows, created more buzz, made more of our guests happier, and our brand will become better known, which means we will get more money, more sponsors, and more audience. Hopefully we will continue to be better."
Ann Michel has been with FLEFF for 5 years with her company Insights International, Inc. and this is her first year teaching the FLEFF Internship class, invited by FLEFF Codirector Patricia Zimmermann. Michel teaches alongside Phil Wilde and together they hope to inspire many creative minds and continue the FLEFF legacy next year.