About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Blog posting by Kayla Reopelle, Documentary Studies and Production ’14, FLEFF Blogger, Roy, WA
Leslie Thompson, senior Film, Photography and Visual arts major from Annapolis, Maryland, leaned against the black leather couch in the Ithaca College Photo Gallery. She just finished testing some new techniques in the lab for her darkroom photography class.
“[I like] trying out new things, testing and manipulating material, just playing with things, and being okay with failure.”
Thompson transferred to Ithaca last year after studying at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design her freshman year and at a community college near her home her sophomore year.
Photography has been Thompson’s passion for a long time, but during her sophomore year she became interested in film. When she found Ithaca College’s BFA program, she saw it as a perfect fit.
“[Film is] an escape... it’s nice to be able to immerse yourself in something that isn’t necessarily your reality. Opposite of that, pretty much 90 percent of my photography is self portraits.
“Both [are] honestly a nice way to express yourself without having to be loud about it. You can hide behind it a little bit, but you can still get your thoughts out there.”
When she came to Ithaca, she saw FLEFF T-shirts and stickers everywhere. Once she learned what the acronym stood for, she wanted to get involved.
“I’ve been interested in film festivals from afar. I had never really worked on them. I had some experience working with Bonnaroo, music festivals, so it seemed like a really good opportunity to do something...with my peers and experience what a film festival is.”
Thompson took the Festivals mini-course last year and works as an intern for the festival this year.
She’s looking forward to interacting with filmmakers. Thompson expects it will be challenging, yet beneficial: challenging because she isn’t comfortable with “casual schmoozing,” beneficial for the different perspectives these filmmakers acquired through their work in the field.
Her advice for students is to immerse themselves in the festival.
“Go to as many films as you can. I didn’t go to quite as many as I could have last [year] and I think it was definitely a missed opportunity. If you can swing it or afford it definitely go as much as you can.”
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Blog posting written by Kayla Reopelle, Documentary Studies and Production '14, FLEFF Blogger, Roy, WA
Kaley Belval has held almost every position a student could hold with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. She spoke with me over the phone about her experience and what she is looking forward to for the 17th Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.
When did you first hear about FLEFF?
I first heard about FLEFF when I visited Ithaca College when I was in my senior year of high school because I visited when the festival was taking place. The tour guide that I had told me about the festival but unfortunately I couldn’t go to any of the events that year, but I was really interested in the festival and its mission. When I came to Ithaca College, I obviously wanted to intern with the festival and took Film Aesthetics and Analysis with Dr. Zimmermann my first semester and she talked about the internship and I applied and got it, the second semester of my freshman year.
Why did you decide to get involved?
I decided to get involved with FLEFF because I’ve always cared a lot about environmental issues, social justice issues, human rights issues, things like that. I’m a Documentary Studies and Production major so I am very interested in different documentaries coming out as well as new media projects. I thought that FLEFF would be a really cool way to start to see the film festival side of the industry and it’s been a really great experience so far.
What positions have you held in FLEFF?
My freshman year I was an intern and a blogger because at that point, they were separate things. And then my sophomore year I was a team leader and this year I am also going to be a team leader again.
What is one of your favorite memories of working with FLEFF?
Oh boy. Okay. I have to think about this a little bit... My favorite memories with FLEFF probably came from my blogging experience my freshman year because I got to talk to a lot of directors and I actually got to help one of the directors and take pictures when she spoke at a couple different things. That was a really great experience and I got to know her pretty well during festival week. And then, there were two directors that I interviewed and they had foreign exchange students with them from Germany so at the festival I got to talk to them about their experience at film festivals and about being film students in a different country and we talked about feminist film, things like that. And then last year I thought it was really cool that I got to meet more filmmakers and new media designers who I didn’t really know that much about and just got to see projects that I had no idea even existed and things that I wanted to get involved with in the future.
What is one project, be it a film, performance, new media project, lecture, etc.; featured at FLEFF that challenged you intellectually?
Huh, tough questions! Okay, one project that challenged me intellectually was probably last year there was a filmmaker (Elizabeth Miller) who came in who had screened one of her films in one of my classes at Ithaca College before. And I got to meet her which was really cool. But she was working on a project in, I believe it was Nicaragua... but she was working on a project where they use popular television shows to show women resources if they were being assaulted or if there was domestic violence or those types of situations. It was really cool to see how popular media could be used to give people resources in a way that wasn’t too invasive. So that was definitely a project that I was challenged by intellectually because I had never really thought about how to use popular television shows in that way, especially for an issue that is really hard to tell people about, especially if they’re in the middle of a domestic violence situation.
What do you think about FLEFF’s 2014 theme, Dissonance?
I think that dissonance is a really great theme for the festival. I think it’s something really different than the themes that we’ve seen in the past and I think that it’s a very timely theme, especially with all of the surveillance stuff that’s been happening in the United States. I think that it’s going to be a really exciting week for everyone that’s working with the festival as well as everyone that attends.
What are you looking forward to for the 17th FLEFF?
I think I’m most looking forward to seeing all the different projects that are featured this year and seeing how the people that attend are challenged by the projects that they see as well as the different ways that the theme is implemented in each project.
FLEFF has been a really great experience. I’ve met some of my best friends through interning with the festival and it’s given me a new perspective on my major and the industry that I’m going into and it’s been very helpful for that.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts ’13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
I’m not the only person coming back to FLEFF this year!
Evan Meaney is a professor of transmedia design at the University of Tennessee. And, he is both an Ithaca College graduate and FLEFF alum. He will be returning this year due to his involvement with Null_Sets, winner of the Distributed Microtopias jury prize.
First, what is transmedia?
Meaney described transmedia as the communication of ideas through different forms. It has a lot to do with everything. It includes the science behind the work, the math in the program, and anything else that may be involved.
An interesting definition. Now, what is the big deal with Null_Sets?
He said that people are obsessed with ordered sets. Which makes sense, we like being able to understand information. But, this takes that data and converts it over to a new form (this time a jpeg image file). Now, we can look at and compare two things in a new way. Or we can simply look at the image created by a text file of Moby Dick and be intrigued with how pink is turned out.
And being familiar with the idea of FLEFF themes, Meaney has his own take on Mobilities.
Meaney was immediately reminded that there are so many systems in place to keep people from moving.
What immobilities can you think of?
Update: Profile: Amy Szczepanski written by Erica Moriarty. Stay tuned for a joint post on Null_Sets.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio '14, FLEFF Blogger, Ashland, Massachusetts.
When I was a freshman in high school, I got bitten by the travel bug.
With the People to People Student Ambassador Program, I travelled to Australia to discover an entire new culture. I stayed with a host family, got to snorkel through the Great Barrier Reef, and hike around Uluru - considered by many to be an unofficial wonder of the world.
After that, all of the money I earned from part-time jobs went to travel - whether it was a class trip to Germany or gas money so I could drive to visit my friend a few towns over, I loved travelling and I loved being mobile.
The ability to explore - which I think is inherent to this year's theme of mobilities - is something a lot of people take for granted. Many people in countries all over the world do not have access to things that seem commonplace to us - public transportation, well-paved roads, government access to leave and enter countries freely.
FLEFF allows artists, scholars, interns, and all other attendees to be mobile. Physically, FLEFF is an international festival that brings people of many cultures together. Intellectually, ideas at FLEFF travel from person to person and at the festival's end, they travel to the homes of all who attended.
Being mobile allows us to explore other places while sharing our knowledge. FLEFF's theme of mobilities gives us the opportunity to explore that this year.
What are your thoughts about this year's theme of mobilities?
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts ’13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, Maryland
Have you ever geotagged a photograph?
I do it all the time!
Some artists even do the opposite. Nate Larson and Marin Shindelman took photos to go with the location of the tweets that caption the photographs. Geolocation is an incredible “tribute to the data stream,” as they call it.
It calls into question the idea of place and movement.
Movement today is different. Smoother. Less physical. In one second we can receive a message from the other side of the world. We can actually be in another place in real time.
But, what does all this mean?
It means that we can go wherever we want at any time. We can go to Flickr and travel to a beach in Costa Rica. All from the comfort of our bedrooms. And, if you close the curtains, you may be able to forget that it is snowing here in Ithaca, NY.
Mobilities explores this idea. FLEFF brings people and ideas from all around the world to transport the attendees to all around the world. The Distributed Microtopias Exhibition brings together work from India, Ethiopia, the United States, Iraq, and plenty others. And that’s just one thing.
I hope I can make it to Latin America with a little help from FLEFF.
Where do you want to travel?
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, New Jersey
To my right sat a fellow intern and friend, to the left sat my brother.
For the past eight months, my brother has lived and worked in China, this weekend being our first reunion since last July. It seemed only fitting that we should view a film about that very country.
Images of thousand-acre landfills and poverty-stricken citizens fill the screen. A small boy playing with items found in a trash bag, a man building a house among the garbage, ponds completely smothered by waste.
At one point, a middle-aged Chinese woman onscreen describes her life as a 'professional' garbage scavenger - a job her family does not know she holds.
She is cheerful but clearly impoverished, citing an amount of Chinese money and states that she is lucky - lucky - if she makes that much in a month.
From beside me, my brother whispers, "That is forty-five American dollars."
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, NJ
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with Stephanie Khoury - who goes by Steph - a fellow freshman and FLEFF Intern like myself.
Some quick facts about Steph include the following:
What I found most intriguing about Stephanie was her major - it was not originally her major of choice!
For Steph, high school provided art and video production classes, all of which sparked her interest and creativity. However these alone were not enough to push her in the direction of a definitive college major. She had though halfheartedly about attending an art school or major in art, however the sentiments were not fully realized.
Then began the long, arduous journey towards choosing a college...
In a sea of college applications and campus tours, Stephanie and her family passed a sign for Ithaca College, a school that some of her friends had recommended in passing. Nearly on a whim, she took the tour and ended up applying - and, eventually, attending!
Steph's interest in documentary works and environmental activism brought her to the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival - where we are happy to have her this year!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Blog post written by Sarah Lockwood, Cinema & Photography '15, FLEFF Intern, Blairstown, NJ
In order to define microtopias, I believe we must divide the word into two logical halves, toss in a little bit of etymology, then piece it back together again. With a little help from the Online Etymology Dictionary, of course.
Sounds like - microscope, microphone, microchip, microeconomics.
What it derives from - Greek, form of micros, meaning small.
Sounds like - dystopia, utopia, digitopia, topiary.
What it derives from - Greek, topia is plural of topian, meaning a field, which is diminutive of topos, meaning place.
Small places, small worlds, small moments. How and where they exist.
Microtopias are different for each person, which partly embodies their brilliance. True to their etymological origin, the small places human beings create when they express themselves and connect with one another, create microtopias.
However I do pose a question as to the choice of microtopias for FLEFF 2012: the word is not, may I note, microUTOPIAS.
I fear that many who encounter the word microtopias will assume one end of the topia bias, in favor of divine perfection and ephemeral beauty, over the other topia with which intellectuals are familiar - dystopia, which embodies the abnormal, the difficult, the imperfect.
Rather, topos or topia simply indicates a place - for good or for evil.
Do you believe this neutral choice was deliberate?
Monday, February 6, 2012
Blog posting written by Ian Carsia, Cinema & Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Hamilton, NJ
When I first heard that the Criterion Collection was doing a release of Ishiro Honda's Gojira my excitement was indescribable. I only vaguely recall seeing the movie for the first time at the tender age of 3, but what I do remember was its irreparable impact. The metaphor flew right over my head, but there was a visceral power to the film, unparalleled by anything I had seen before or would see after.
Thus is the power of cinema, to be able to drive chills up our spines without our ability to articulate precisely why.
It was that experience which ignited my blindly stumbling journey, pursuing the allusive answer to that very "why". My majoring in Cinema & Photography, my reviewing film for The Ithacan (where my last name is oft-mispelled), and my maintenance of a personal critical/analytical blog, are all a part of that journey to quench the fires of that question.
Which is what draws me to FLEFF. With this year's theme of MICROTOPIAS, the festival once again seeks to bring together the love of cinematic art with passionate activism for human rights and the sustainability of the environment.
With this theme, FLEFF further implies a democratization of art made possible by the ubiquity of technology in our everyday lives.
For many, movies represent passivity and a detachment from the kinds of critical theories and ethical dilemmas that FLEFF seeks to address. (I believe Fran Lebowitz's fifth bullet-point offers a fairly humorous and welcome criticism of the 'art' of cinema.)
Unfortunately, this attitude has not been helped by a critical and analytical community that has emphasized more 'traditional' modes of making, exhibiting, and engaging with the cinematic art-form, and in such a way that mirrors the exact kinds of anti-democratic and elitist attitudes that defined cinema in its earliest incarnation as the un-godly entertainment of illiterate new immigrants.
FLEFF rejects these biases and its unarticulated pessimism. All individuals have the ability to make and engage with art and to effect profound change in the public perception of global affairs.
If you are passionate about FLEFF, then that means you too believe in and are a part of the Microtopia in which critical theory about art and activism collide into a techno-democracy above and beyond the prescribed notions of how one engages art and media.
It means you too are on a journey to find the answer to that "why". Far from pessimistic, you take profound pleasure in engaging the questions.
I do, as well. Will you enjoy this limited engagement with me?
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Blog posting by Shea Lynch, Documentary Studies and Production '14, FLEFF Intern, Glens Falls, New York
It is now spring break for all Ithaca College students. I am currently watching Lost in my room in my sleeveless shirt.
I interviewed Emily Potts a few days ago, FLEFF Intern and team leader.
Who are you?
"I am Emily Potts. I am from Southwick, Massachusetts and I am a Junior Park student at Ithaca College.
For the first two years of college, I attended Springfield Technical Community College, and received my associates degree in Digital Media Production.
This is only my second semester at IC, but I already love it here."
Can you share your FLEFF experience with our blog readers?
"Currently I am a team leader for FLEFF and it has been a unique learning experience being immersed in the planning of a film festival. It is fascinating to know how the film industry works regarding getting films and artists for an event.
Perhaps my favorite FLEFF experience so far was attending several of Albert Maysles' documentary screenings, and having the chance to talk with him afterwards. Being able to interact with such brilliant artists is an invaluable opportunity to share and listen to ideas."
Question of the Blog: What are you doing for spring break?
Monday, March 7, 2011
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film and Photography ’14, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, Maryland
Welcome back to the FLEFF blog! Glad to see you are still checking in!
Today we have some proof of how this festival is truly international. Here at FLEFF, within our group of interns, we have Neli Gacheva. She is a freshman here at Ithaca College who hails from Bulgaria. She’s pretty far from her hometown. But she’s here working with the festival.
Here's Neli describing what her FLEFF experience has been like to date:
February is already over. March is already here. April is just around the corner. Now, FLEFF week is approaching with the speed of light.
A week ago, I was tabling at Cinemapolis as part of my internship at the festival. Sitting at a small table, I had to convince people to come see movies at the festival.
At the interns practica course, they taught us the importance of appealing to a large group of people. Focusing on the pros and cons of tabling and what was at stake if we do not fill the house.
When I first heard about my assignment, I thought it was going to be an easy job. First, because I was going to be talking to people at the cinema, already known moviegoers. Second, because I knew FLEFF was already well known in the area.
However, as it turned out people were not willing to stop for very long. So I had to come up with a strategy to get as much information out as fast as possible. (Shawn: As the other intern that afternoon I can vouch that Neli did an excellent job.)
But, the people who actually had time to stop by the table demanded to know as much information as possible. (Shawn: Here's some!) Hence, I came to understand the importance of one of the key points always made at the FLEFF practica: “Learn, read and know everything that has to be known in order to be a trustworthy employee and to attract as many people as possible.”
* * * * * *
Thank you, Neli, for sharing your voice. Now, if you see her walking around campus or at Cinemapolis, ask her about FLEFF. She’s ready.
Finally, check back in at FLEFF INTERNS VOICES as much as possible. All of our interns are working really hard to get the information out. Make sure to buy a pass for the festival!
P.S. If you have a good story idea check out our FLEFF Story Contest! And if you don't: think one up and write it down.
You still have plenty of time for this chance to win $500 dollars!
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Blog posting written by Shea Lynch, Documentary Studies '14, FLEFF Intern, Glens Falls, New York
I hope everyone is having a great week!
I interviewed FLEFF intern and team leader Holly Kreczko about her experience with FLEFF.
Holly is a Documentary Production and Studies major at Ithaca College and has Anthropology and Outdoor Pursuits minors. She is from Endicott, NY and likes to hike, go camping, explore the Adirondacks and make movies. Her academic interests include photography, anthropology and art. Holly hopes to one day start her own independent film company for documentaries and music videos. She enjoys watching documentaries about African social rights activism.
What Holly does as a FLEFF Team Leader:
What Holly has learned:
"FLEFF is much more than just a film festival.It's an opportunity for people to come together, learn about a topic, and discuss it afterwards.
Going into this, I thought the festival would just be about directors making movies and presenting them, but I soon learned that it's all about activism." -Holly Kreczko
Question of the Blog to our Loyal Readers: What is your favorite Film Festival?