About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Blogging post by Alexis Lanza, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Blogger, Enfield, CT
Our blogging team brainstormed a list of 17 reasons why students should attend FLEFF.
Number 11: An opportunity to learn through different mediums, art forms, and formats.
There are so many different ways one can learn— through hands-on experience, a lecture, a discussion, a screening, et cetera. It differs for everyone based on learning preference. It is important to allow oneself to soak up a variety of learning techniques.
Students spend a good chunk of their time studying; underlining articles, frantically trying to type the stream of consciousness that comes from their professor's mouth, and holed up on the 4th floor of the library at separate cubicles, cramming for exams.
I think sometimes students forget that they can have a learning experience in which they sit back in comfortable theater seats, take a breath, and watch.
Observation is a powerful thing. FLEFF offers students a chance to take a break from the mainstream undergraduate learning practice and allow themselves to gain knowledge through film screenings, musical performances, discussions, and other formats.
Check out the full list here! http://www.ithaca.edu/fleff/blogs/fresh_at_fleff/
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Blog posting written by Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Blogger, Cherry Hill, NJ
On Tuesday, January 28th, the Cloud Chamber Orchestra accompanied the silent ethnographic documentary, Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life (you can read Blaize's blog post for a synopsis of the film as well as her reflection on the screening!).
The screening took place in the historic Sage Chapel on a snowy hill of the Cornell University campus. It was my first time inside the Sage Chapel and I was amazed by its beautiful interior: abound with stained glass, hand-painted designs on the lofted rafters, and elegant mosaics surrounding its altar and apse.
Despite the beauty of the chapel, the real delight was the Cloud Chamber Orchestra who were situated in front of a giant screen that had been placed at the alter. As a pleasant surprise the group, which is typically comprised of only three men, had an additional member in the form of pianist Peter Dodge’s son, playing percussion. The addition of a fourth member greatly contributed to the richness of the sound echoing throughout the chapel.
An intriguing combination of electric guitar and other electric instruments performed by Robby Aceto, cello performed by Chris White, piano and horns performed by Peter Dodge, and percussion performed by his son perfectly accompanied the silent documentary. The instrumentation created an ethereal ambience during slower parts of the film and also matched the energy of more exciting parts of the film.
Though there were a number of technological malfunctions with the projector due to the cold interior of the chapel, the group’s improvised score held the attention of the audience even when the film cut out.
It was incredible to watch these musicians as they played: they, themselves, watching the film to get a feel for what they wanted to play.
Aceto, White, Dodge and Dodge received a standing ovation as they lowered their instruments as the film ended. A gracious group of musicians, they hung around after the chapel began to empty to talk to students, friends, neighbors, and the like.
Overall, it was an excellent performance to accompany a fantastic documentary. Don’t miss out on your next chance to see the Cloud Chamber Orchestra, when they improvise a live score to the classic Sergei Eisenstein film Battleship Potemkin during this year’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival!
What silent film would you like to see scored by the Cloud Chamber Orchestra?
Friday, May 10, 2013
Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD
It's been a good three years since I started college and I haven't missed a single Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. I was a blogger my freshman year, a willing participant under Dr. Zimmermann's tutelage my sophomore year and yet again a blogger this year, my junior/senior year at Ithaca College.
Each experience was different but equally amazing.
This year was especially great. With a revamped meeting structure and more diverse projects to work on I really got involved with the festival. And, since I'm a senior I didn't have any of those nerves popping up when I was talking to festival guests.
And, if there was one point to take away from all this it is this: "We need to do something together."
During each presentation, film or chat in the hallway where a couple people of differing skills were together it always seemed to lead to that conclusion. Transmedia especially seemed to be at the forefront of this.
Great projects require collaboration. Different people from different environments coming together to make something. Because if I have learned anything during my college experience it is that your good friend and editor that leans over your shoulder to tell you that your fade out doesn't work is in it for your best interest.
You have to listen to one another and evolve and move through various mediums to tell your story. Hopefully, after a few years in the field I'll be able to tell mine.
Thank you to everyone involved with FLEFF this year for the great time and learning experience.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Blog posting written by: Kimberly Capehart, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Intern, Cherry Hill, NJ
I’ve never been to a film festival.
This news might be surprising to some, especially since I’m currently interning for a film festival, but I am a complete newbie in the festival scene.
But, if there’s one thing I know about film festivals, it’s that they’re about films. Duh, right?
In addition to showing films I’ve learned that festivals, specifically the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, feature a lot of other things. This year’s festival will be bringing in an amazing array of films, guests (like directors, producers, distributors, scholars, etc.), new media artists, and music.
Wait a minute, music at a film festival?
On Tuesday, April 2nd, the Whalen Center for Music will be hosting FLEFF’s Mobilities concert: Carl Orff’s legendary Carmina Burana, performed by musicians from Ithaca and around the world.
Don’t be fooled by the name of the cantata; Carmina Burana is a widely recognized piece of music, and you’ve probably heard it before. The piece’s opening movement, O Fortuna, has been used in hundreds of soundscapes, including scenes in action movies and between plays on Monday Night Football.
The movement can be found on YouTube here, and for Ithaca College students, the cantata can be listened to in its entirety on the Naxos Music Library. I recommend that everyone listen to it at least once before the live performance,
I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to Carmina Burana while I do my homework and, let me tell you, I’ve never felt so empowered while sitting alone in a room.
Each of the movements in Carmina Burana is incredibly varied: not only within the piece, but also in and of itself. Loud, powerful choruses layered with drums and pianos (you read that right, multiple pianos!) follow haunting solos, which, in turn, follow soft instrumentals.
The piece is truly unpredictable and incredibly exciting to listen to – and that’s just through my cheap headphones. I can’t imagine how the piece will sound live.
The free performance will fill up quickly so make sure you get down to the Hockett Recital Hall at the Whalen Center for Music early on April 2nd. Don't miss out on your opportunity to see a very unique performance of this legendary piece. The concert starts at 8:15 pm.
Until then, take a listen to Carmina Burana! How does it make you feel?
Monday, March 18, 2013
Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Social Media Manager, Mahopac, New York
You might have heard it while watching the climax to an action-packed movie. You might have heard it in an elegant concert hall. You might have even heard it on The X Factor.
It's intense. It's powerful. And it will move you.
This is the music of Carmina Burana.
Seamless integration between sporadic bursts of energy, rhythm, and triumph, strung together by a haunting echo in the background define this style of music. And despite how startlingly demonic the music may sound, underneath it all, there is something still enchantingly reassuring about it.
Looking up to the lyrics to one of the more popular, well-known songs "O Fortuna," reassured me of this feeling. "…hateful life first oppresses, and then soothes as fancy takes it poverty and power, it melts them like ice." The music isn't meant to be malicious or intimidating...it's meant to be didactic. There's an enlightening truth behind the cyclical nature that defines fate. Carmina Burana's music is meant to serve as a vehicle for this message.
You can hear the music for yourself on Tuesday, April 2 at FLEFF's Concert featuring these particular pieces performed live at the Whalen Center for Music.
What do you interpret after hearing this music?
Monday, March 18, 2013
Blog post written by Kristen Tomkowid, Journalism '15, FLEFF Intern, Poughkeepsie, New York
Nicholas DiEugenio is an assistant professor in the IC School of Music with specialties in violin and chamber music. At this year's festival, Carmina Burana will be performed by local musicians. DiEugenio talked about his involvement with this performance.
Kristen Tomkowid: How did you become a part of FLEFF?
Nicholas DiEugenio: I'm extremely privileged to live in Ithaca and to teach violin at the IC School of Music. One of my colleagues, Deborah Martin, is organizing this year's FLEFF performance of Carmina Burana, and she asked if I would be interested in participating. Of course I was glad to accept the offer!
KT: Have you ever performed Carmina Burana before? If yes, where/when?
ND: I have never been a part of a performance of this work before. However, even if I had, I would not have done anything like what I am doing in this particular performance. Since we will be using many instruments to cover vocal parts (both solo parts and choral parts), I will actually be playing my violin in an attempt to evoke a soprano soloist in two specific moments in the cantata. This is kind of like the reverse of a "pants" role, which might seem rare, though I do get to do this quite often as a violinist! I wonder if it is the first time that this type of musical impersonation has ever been done with Carmina Burana.
KT: What is your favorite part of the piece and why?
ND: I'm not sure that I have a "favorite part" of the piece, but I think my favorite aspect of this piece is its original conception. It was designed to be a piece of music to go with visual movement. It's often performed as a concert cantata, but its birth as a piece of multimedia art gives it a tremendous adaptability, and creative directors can take it in many different directions. It's no wonder that this quality has been exploited over the years in commercial advertising--my brain always associates the opening of Carmina Burana with a desire to join the Marines, and I wonder why! So, the music has this "empty vessel" quality which is actually quite potent when combined with strong visual imagery, and I think that is what I appreciate most about this piece.
KT: What do you want people to take away from the performance?
ND: Hopefully this performance will be memorable for all of its musical innovation (down-scaling to two pianos, using instrumentalists to cover vocal parts, using the Trombone Troupe to cover chorus parts!), and for its powerful visual imagery in conjunction with the music. These aspects will make the performance unique, and hopefully any person in attendance will enjoy and remember a unique artistic experience which crosses boundaries and blends many senses.
KT: Are you going to see anything else FLEFF is doing? If yes, what are you most excited for?
ND: There are a few films programmed at the Ithaca Cinemapolis that are of particular interest to me; since I've recently traveled to both Russia and China to perform, I am interested to see China Concerto, Lost Boys, and No Problem. I'm also really interested in October, a silent movie for which the Cloud Chamber Orchestra will provide live music.
Will we see you at Carmina Burana?
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Blog posting written by Erica Moriarty, Documentary Studies and Production ’16, FLEFF Intern, Houston, Texas
I both love and hate scary movies. Call me a masochist, but I find fun in jumping out of my chair and squealing at the top of my lungs. However, the nights following my viewing of a scary movie are not so enjoyable.
Last night, I listened to Carmina Burana right before bed, which proved to be a less than intelligent decision. As the first song, O Fortuna, played through my computer, I grew increasingly uneasy. I felt myself return to the same fear in the nights after I watched The Exorcist.
My skin clammed up from being tightly cocooned in my comforter. My refrigerator suddenly emitted demon noises. Ghostly shapes kept popping up in my closet, later to be revealed as sweaters.
To calm my nerves, I looked up more on the meaning of O Fortuna. The translation of the last line reads, “Fate strikes down the strong man. Everyone weep with me!” After seeing this, my fear suddenly subsided. Instead, I was sad.
The song wasn’t about demons or ghosts at all. The lyrics simply follow this poor man’s terrible bout of ill fate and misfortune. With this revelation, I continued with my listening and researching of Carmina Burana. My anticipation for the concert during FLEFF in a month grew more than ever before.
Which songs from Carmina Burana are you most excited to hear? Click the link to hear more!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Blog posting written by Kacey Deamer, Journalism and Environmental Studies '13, FLEFF Intern, Binghamton, NY
I hope you all were able to make it to Hockett Hall last night for the Concert for Microtopias. If not, you should also read intern blogger Meagan McGinnes' post about the concert as a whole. She delves into the concert's connection to FLEFF's theme of microtopias.
The following is a list of my top five moments — though there were many more than five — from last night's concert. I've allowed myself some poetic license in the descriptions.
1. Pianos. Dueling pianos can be found in jazz bars across the country. I have experienced a few of them. But piano duets, now that is something special. Jairo Geronymo and Deborah Martin were perfectly in tune as their fingers danced across the keys creating an beautiful harmony. "Two Step" was one of my favorites, a more lively duet that conjured the image of swing dancers in 1950s garb smiling as they moved around stage.
2. Fabric. How do you dress a stage for such an integrative performance as the Concert for Microtopias? You use fabric, hanging from the walls. But, one sheer pink/purple piece of fabric lay across the stage, available for use by the performers. Which brings me to number 3.
3. "Lullaby." Brad Hougham has the voice of an angel, and as he sang to the piece of fabric (bundled and held like a baby) I had tears well up in my eyes. There was such a tenderness to his performance, a tangible love he displayed. It was powerful.
4. Farewell. The closing piece, a reading of the "Microtopias Benediction," brilliantly summarized the FLEFF theme. But Cynthia Henderson stole the show when she found a young boy in the audience just as she came to the line: "Microtopias never stay the same." The boy's father visibly had a 'knowing' reaction and the entire interaction was simply beautiful.
5. Water. Dr. Hougham had mentioned his apprehension to perform "Wade in the Water," an African-American spiritual song connected to the suffering of slaves. During the intern session in February, Hougham had said it is incredibly difficult to perform a song such as this without having a connection to those experiences. I must say, his apprehension was needless. I could hear a desperation in his voice, but there was hopefulness as well. The vibrato he held on the last "r" of "water" before he started to move on stage was incredible.
The concert as a whole was beautifully executed, but those were a few of the elements that I am still thinking about today. What stuck with you from the concert?
Monday, March 26, 2012
Blog post written by Colleen Ryan, Television-Radio '12, Anthropology Minor, Lansing, NY
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris White, an extremely talented musician, and one of FLEFF's returning performers.
White is classically trained on the cello, and also plays the guitar and harmonica.
It was Dr. Patricia Zimmerman's (co-director of FLEFF) idea to bring together the three musicians for FLEFF several years ago, and the trio has been doing live improv film scores ever since. "It was easy from the get-go," he said. "We just flowed so easily. We each have our own bag of tricks, but a common vision and language that works well together."
White told me that the trio watches the films by themselves, and then together practice improvising. They converse about the mood of the film and its transitions. Each time the score is played differently. The trio doesn't practice too much so the day of the performance is fresh and well, improvised!
"Every experience with FLEFF has been great," he said. To him, playing and improvising with a film is a much different experience as a musician. "It's liberating," he remarked.
Although the trio has only performed for FLEFF, and one other event for the Ithaca Motion Picture Project, White revealed to me that the trio is considering putting out a CD of their scores, perhaps in time for next year's FLEFF. (I've heard samples from their work, and believe me, it's a must have!)
To listen to Chris's personal work with the Cayuga Jazz Ensemble, you can click here.
Although I, personally, could never fathom a career in professional music, to young musicians who wish to dip their toes into improvising, Chris's greatest advice is to listen to a favorite genre of music and imitate it. Practice the style, and put a lot of time into it. "It happens more naturally than you might think," he said.
With that being said, I'm excited to watch White and his cohorts perform. It's something that indeed comes extremely naturally to them, while enjoying and appreciating their talent, is something that comes naturally to me.
If I had longer arms I'd save you all seats, so get there early, it's going to be a happy and full house. See you Sunday night!
Monday, March 26, 2012
FLEFF Week 2012 has begun! Conversations about the microtopias installation have been bustling all over campus and the artists have made their way into Ithaca. As a matter of fact, I am in the Park auditorium right now at Art Jones' master class about remixing, new media, and the arts of collaboration.
A generous introduction by Patty Zimmerman starts the workshop about how Art Jones has found his niche in the artistic world and addresses the way his inventive style defined a new, live VJ remix aesthetic. Following this opening, we got a little more into the details about what he does and how he does it.
After commenting on how remixing was popularized by modern culture and the MTV network, he elaborated upon its use – a personal use – as an individualized methodology. Art Jones’ artistry germinated with the creation of experimental films and documentaries about hip-hop and he developed a passion to translate these strategies to another art form - music.
"But why go live?" Zimmerman asks. "What's wrong with media that is fixed and is start to finish?"
"Absolutely nothing!" Jones chuckles. "Except when I started doing it, I was just a few years out of film school…but became so inspired by music that could engage audiences. I waned to remove the boundary between so-called high culture [galleries, museums] and low culture. I grew up in the Bronx where hip-hop was assembled. Hip-hop was on the low end. It would be better to find a way to organically integrate things that inspired me like hip-hop and generally electronic music."
One of the most striking things that came up during this conversation was his perspective that there was a sense of chaos that can cohere with moments. In response, Art Jones adopted a music model rather than a cinema model. If we think about music, whether it’s hip-hop, a rock band or fantastic pianists, the ephemerality of a still image is enhanced by the power of a continuous audio track through digital mixing and music processing.
If you missed the opportunity to attend his class today, make sure you check out his digital and remixing mastery at The Concert for Microtopias tomorrow night at 8:15 PM in Hackett Recital Hall! And as for a sneak preview of what to expect? "A generative art process in sense of the imagery [and] organic, biological structure that can grow the microtopia...It's going to be challenging and totally new!"
And for more current updates, make sure you follow FLEFF_IC on Twitter!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Fellow blogger Meagan McGinnes asked guest Robby Aceto last night at the FLEFF intern meeting how his improvisational music trio, Cloud Chamber Orchestra, forms a cohesive sound, despite having a different take on the film they score.
“The baseline is respect,” he said. “Even though you can have completely different views, they can still work together as long as you have respect.”
And there it is. Collaboration. Adaptation. Appreciation. Microtopias.
“[When performing live music you must] Embrace accidents, figure out ways to utilize them, and not allow them to cause disaster, which waits at every moment,” Aceto said.
“You have to be in control of the environment. Not making sound is just as crucial as making sound. Embrace the silence.”
Even though just speaking about improvisational music, I believe Robby really captured the essence of FLEFF, and I felt very touched and inspired by his words.
Flaherty’s portrayal of Nanook and his family, although slightly fabricated, is a beautiful romanticized film about the life of the Inuit people, and I’ve never watched it with any sort of accompaniment – just dimmed buzzing classroom fluorescents.
Aceto stated that most of his trio’s scores are pretty modern, yet “vocative of place and time.”
He told the FLEFF interns that his trio inhibits the mindset of the filmmaker. They take into consideration what his wishes might be, and what the filmmaker achieved with his film at the time of its creation.
Although a child of the technological age, I sometimes feel as if I was born in the wrong era. I wish I could have witnessed life in a simpler time, without the instant gratification of technology.
From the vantage point of a 21st century citizen, technology we have today was just pure fantasy to those at the time of “Nanook of the North.”
Aceto also told the interns, “In a way now, we can feel superior to [the filmmakers then], but they were making it up as they went along, and they had to think much more creatively than a filmmaker now. “
“We’ve narrowed our expectations of what a film experience should be,” he said, and I agree.
The trio’s performance on the closing night of FLEFF will be the first silent film I've ever experienced with a live score, and I personally think that it’s a tradition that although seemingly archaic, is a lost and under appreciated art form!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
Back for his fourth year, Robby Aceto is at FLEFF once again!
I got the chance to listen to Acteo speak about his work. This year, he'll be performing live music to accompany the silent, 90-year-old documentary film Nanook of the North (he's part of an improvisational trio, how cool is that?).
Here are some choice quotes from Aceto's talk, ranging from live music to film festivals itself to contributing to the microtopia of FLEFF. Hopefully this helps you become a part of the moment, FLEFFers!
"A big part of FLEFF has always been the pairing of live music with silent film. Why do we do that? It's a tradition that's just as much a part of film history as anything."
"There's a tendency to feel superior to people who created things hundreds of years ago... These guys were making films and they were making it up as they go along. They didn't have a lexicon of technology to choose from. They had to figure out as they went along how they were gonna do this. In a way, they had to work and think more creatively than a filmmaker does now. I think that, as an improviser, that really speaks to me."
"First time at FLEFF, I was hired to be a guitar player for an ensemble that was playing a commissioned work. There was some spoken word and it was a great experience, it was great fun, and then Patty said 'We want to do something again.' So get involved in as many things as you can. It's a crapshoot, being a musician, but it's worth it."
"Not making a sound is just as much action as making a sound."
That last quote was my personal favorite; it held a lot of weight to me. It really reminded me about how the difference that each person can make, no matter if it's intentional or not. Every person's action (or lack of action) contributes to something, whether we notice it directly or not.
Aceto played some of his clips for us, and I can't wait to hear more! Aceto calls himself a "color guitarist," but his music has clearly been influenced by his previous collaborations with musicians who specialize in other instruments. You can check out some of his work here.
Lean back, pop on some headphones, close your eyes, and listen to Aceto's work. Do you have a favorite piece? Are you looking forward to hearing him perform at FLEFF?
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Blog posting written by Ian Carsia, Cinema & Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Hamilton, NJ
6:51 p.m. Blogging live with Robby Aceto. Aceto will be performing in a live musical accompaniment of "Nanook of the North" for FLEFF 2012.
6:53 p.m. FLEFF T-SHIRTS ARE IN!
6:57 p.m. This will be the fourth time Robby and his co-conspirators have performed at FLEFF.
"Who has heard of Nanook of the North?"
100% of hands shoot up.
"Who has seen Nanook of the North?"
90% of hands go down.
WE ARE HERE TO LEARN!
7:02 p.m. Robby Aceto: "Right now, you don't have to convince anyone. You can just do it."
7:05 p.m. Robby Aceto: "The biggest problem that a group [of artists] has to overcome...is connecting with the mindset of someone 100 years ago making a film."
7:08 p.m. Robby Aceto: "We've narrowed our expectation of what a film is supposed to be."
7:11 p.m. Robby Aceto: "My approach to an instrument is to use it in a textural way."
7:17 p.m. Robby Aceto: "First, we try to get into the mindset of the filmmaker: What would he want?...Even if it looks silly to you, you have to remind yourself 'This guy was deadly serious' about whatever it was...And as far as doing it differently...just as a matter of course, it's going to be different."
7:43 p.m. Screening clips of accompanyment with Ernst Lubitsch's 1921 film The Wild Cat (Dr. Zimmermann: "The only German expressionist comedy.")
7:50 p.m. Robby Aceto: "Once you step into the realm of "This is what is happening on screen," you take it away from the audience."
7:54 p.m. About to screen a clip from 1925's Grass.
7:56 p.m. Robby Aceto: "None of the musicians know what the other's going to do...Not so much "call-and-response," more like...reaction..."
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD
FLEFF Week 2012 is coming up fast, and the list of this year's festival guests is up on our website!
While every FLEFF guest brings something dynamic to the table, here are five guests that I am especially looking forward to meeting and learning from!
1. Cynthia Henderson: An Ithaca College Theatre Arts professor. Cynthia Henderson has countless acting and directing credits in the United States, Europe, and Africa. As I am pretty unfamiliar with theatre, I am hoping that Professor Henderson will shed some light on the intersections between live performance and social change and the ways in which live performance and film interact with and contradict each other. I am also extremely interested in her work on "A Wrinkle in Time" at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, as that is one of my absolute favorite books!
2. Chris White: As a cellist who actively performs both classical AND non-classical music, Chris White straddles the line of tradition versus innovation. White seems, to me, to epitomize the purpose of FLEFF; to make sense of (false) binaries and create new meanings out of tension and polarity. As the founder and director of New Directions Cello Association & Festival, I am sure that he has a lot of great insights about how to create a hub for like-minded artists and intellectuals to learn and grow together.
3. Matthew Podolsky: A graduate of Ithaca College with a double major in Cinema and Photography and Environmental Science, Matthew Podolsky helps run the non-profit organization Wild Lens. Podolsky's very obvious interests in documentary production and the environment speak directly to FLEFF's mission, and I am excited to hear about his experiences as an IC alum.
4. Toivo: From Trumansburg, NY, Toivo is a six-piece band that boasts of a hodgepodge of musical influences, such as Finnish and Tex-Mex, suited for dance traditions from all over the world-- waltzes, tangoes, polanise, two-steps, and many, many more! Much like Drs. Brad Hougham and Debbie Martin in their presentation about "The Concert for Microtopias," Toivo seems to embody the very "FLEFF-y" idea of creating meaning from conflicting musical forces. I am very excited for their performance, as I don't think that I have ever heard traditional Finnish music before!
5. Laura Kissel: A documentary filmmaker and Director of Film and Media Studies Program at the University of South Carolina. Her short biography on the FLEFF website already had me asking questions; I am excited to learn about her use of "orphan films" in her critical media work. As Kissel is heavily involved in academia, I hope that she will be able to provide faculty, students, and other FLEFF attendees advice on how to balance institutional demands with creative needs.
Which artists are you most excited to see during FLEFF week 2012?
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD
What kinds of people are attracted to a festival like FLEFF?
FLEFF flirts with contradiction, embraces conflict, and accepts disruption. It forces us to take a good, hard look at the false binary of intellect versus creativity that is agressively promoted in our society.
And FLEFF represents the freedom that comes from actively dismissing that binary.
Knowing all of this, we can consider Anjali Patel a natural FLEFF-er.
Read on to find out more about her and her involvement with FLEFF!
Isabel Galupo (IG): You came to Ithaca College as a Music Education and French Horn major; how did you come to major in Documentary Studies and Production?
Anjali Patel (AP): I auditioned to be a music minor, but they asked me to become a major. So I did. And it’s not that I didn’t like it; it just wasn’t for me. I knew about the Documentary program and had always been interested in it. It seemed perfect because it would allow me to be creative, as I am in music, but it would provide me with a way to also express my passion for human rights.
IG: How do you see FLEFF balancing creative expression with human rights issues?
AP: The festival is speaking out for environmental justice and the environmental movement, which is an extremely timely issue. But it’s also creating a hub of music, art, and film…and what better way to advocate for a cause than through artwork? Because everyone in the world can relate to that.
IG: You mentioned being passionate about human rights. Could you elaborate on one specific issue that you find particularly important to today’s society?
AP: I am extremely worried about the availability of the arts in inner-school areas. You always hear, “the first to get cut is the arts.” I think that a lot of people see the arts as something disposable but it’s not. I mean, getting the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument for free? That’s incredible! And many children in this country are not getting to experience the great cultural experience of participating in the art and music in school.
IG: As a musician, I am sure that you were particularly engrossed by Drs. Hougham and Martin's presentation about “The Concert for Microtopias.” What insights did you gain about the intersection between FLEFF and musical expression from their presentation?
AP: I love that this festival is giving musicians an outlet to experiment and combine selections like the ones we heard during the presentation in ways that they would not normally be combined otherwise. I also look forward to it presenting people with music that they would not normally be exposed to.
IG: What was your favorite piece presented by Drs. Hougham and Martin and why?
AP: My favorite piece was “Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte” partially because of the beautiful horn solo in the beginning (and I'm biased because that's my primary instrument), but also because it is so familiar and so beautiful. I'm not sure how I had forgotten about it, but it was nice to hear it again!
Anjali Patel is just one of countless dynamic, passionate, and enthusiastic interns involved in this year’s festival.
Stay tuned for more opportunities to get to know Anjali-- and our entire team of interns-- better through the "Intern Voices" blog!
P.S. Check out the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela; it's one of Anjali's favorite orchestras!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog Posting written by Meagan McGinnes, Journalism '14, FLEFF intern, Norwood, MA
Even the most unrelated topics become related, weaved together in lively and interesting way. It is the magic of FLEFF, stringing things together to make unexpected, but wonderful sense.
Example: combining a film festival with a musical concert.
Brad Hougham, assistant professor for performance studies (voice), said this concert is one of his favorites to perform in because of his musical freedom. And, man, did he use that freedom!
The repertoire includes pieces utilizing an orchestra, organ, harpsichord, cello, piano and more. The material spans from lullabies to gospel. At times, they vocally will be trying to sound like other instruments to add an interesting and cool effect.
These pieces vary in rhythms, harmonies and dissonance. Just by listening there would be no obvious connection. Yet, the differences create intrigue. Intrigue leads to conversation. Conversation leads to community. Communities lead to microtopias.
“What you see will be something different than you could have possibly ever imagined,” Hougham said.
The same can be said about the FLEFF festival: it will be different than you ever imagined. FLEFF brings a diverse group of people with imaginative minds, creating a responsive environment. And what can move people to responsiveness more than music, an art form known for stirring emotions and kindling a spark in the soul.
“I love bringing excellent music to life in a different way so old music can speak to people,” Hougham said.
Music, similar to microtopias, is fragmented and yet it can come together. It is a safe place to push boundaries, to question the preconceived and to create textures both vibrant and new.
Has music ever moved you to responsiveness? What material's texture do you feel best exemplifies the "texture" of FLEFF?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Isabel Galupo, Cinema and Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Towson, MD
I am currently sitting in the Igor room of Ithaca College's Whalen School of Music with about 40 other FLEFF interns. We are listening to Dr. Brad Hougham, Assistant Professor of Performance Studies (Voice), and Dr. Debbie Martin, Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Performance Studies (Piano), present about "The Concert for Microtopias," which will be held on Tuesday, March 27.
"The Concert for Microtopias" will feature performances by both Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin, as well as outside musicians such as pianist Jairo Geronymo, and Art Jones, a VJ from New York City.
Dr. Hougham's enthusiasm for FLEFF is extremely tangible from the get-go as he proclaims that FLEFF is his favorite event to participate in each school year.
He expresses the importance of FLEFF as a space of freedom for artists to pursue the pieces that they want to pursue. He touches on the interdisciplinary nature of FLEFF, expressing appreciation at how the festival forces him out of Whalen and gives him the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm with professionals in other disciplines.
Dr. Martin explains that FLEFF allows both performers and audience members to feel feelings at the most extreme and raw levels. In order to demonstrate how crucial these raw feelings are, Dr. Martin asked us to stand up and clap out a rhythm as she played the piano in tandem.
We felt, in Dr. Martin words, "some of the fun of the music."
Both musicians share with us some pieces that they are planning on performing at the concert. They discuss the ways in which these pieces will interact with and contradict each other, creating musical conflicts leading to intellectual experiences and insights.
Often, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin stand back and let the music speak for itself.
Though I can often be seen walking around campus sporting ipod headphones, I do not consider myself a musical person by any means. Thus, I was excited to come to this presentation and really learn something about an unfamiliar field.
I thought that I would walk away with some tangible nugget of information about the ways in which music lends itself to film festivals. I expected to walk away with a handful of great soundbites from Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin that succinctly explained the role of musical expression in FLEFF.
Instead, Dr. Hougham and Dr. Martin challenged us to engage with the music on our own. We were left to digest the collision of tones, rhythms, and melodies ourselves, through our own lenses, just as FLEFF audiences will be expected to do.
The result, for me at least, was a more visceral understanding of how two extremely different ideas can collide and create a completely new, third idea.
And this collision and creation of ideas is what exists at the very core of FLEFF!
Are you all as excited as I am to attend "The Concert for Microtopias" and hear the sound of ideas being created during FLEFF Week 2012?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Television-Radio, Scriptwriting '12
It's an interesting experiment when you take a bunch of students unfamiliar with the music school, and have them try to find a room hidden in the corner. Although many of us FLEFF interns are out our element tonight here in Whalen, we're all here for a common purpose: A behind the scenes look into "The Concert for Microtopias"
I can't express how excited I am for FLEFF week.
Not only will the concert in Hockett Hall at Ithaca College the Tuesday (March 27th) of FLEFF be an amazing spectacle, but it will be an awe-inspiring event where great minds and performers have come together to combine many works of art from music to acting to on the fly image processing.
It's "The Concert for Microtopias", a concert thinking in ways of bringing people together over something joyful.
Dr. Zimmerman told the interns that many of the people involved with the performance are those "who push the envelope and go intellectually and emotionally farther than they have ever gone before."
I can't wait to see how all these elements come together.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York
"There are so many brilliant people on this campus. They are extraordinary musicians, fantastic friends, wonderful colleagues, and what I've learned from them is to have the guts to push the envelope and go artistically and emotionally where you never thought you would go."
7:12 PM - Musical decisions are announced! In order to promote the interdisciplinary culture behind FLEFF, synthesis of spiritual, ethnic and emotional music is declared.
7:14 PM - The audience rises! Clapping in rhythm, we get to preview the piano accompaniment, filling the room with energy and joy.
7:15 PM - Technical problems! Luckily us interns are technological people and know what to do!
7:19 PM - Beautiful opera music fills the room, lulling us into a daze as we hear Ice Habe Genug, meaning "I've had enough," addressing the state of human morality. As to why the selection was picked, Dr. Hougham comments: "I picked it because it's a piece that I love, love, love and wanted to sing." He continued to declare that it's heart-wrenching and I couldn't agree more.
7:25 PM - Dr. Martin blissfully plays gorgeous harmonies on the piano with a smile on her face. And yes, she's about as sweet and humble as her joyful music.
7:30 PM - Dr. Hougham just said the word "microtopia." All the interns just got so happy on the inside. I could tell.
7:33 PM - "You'll hear a lot of harp, you'll hear strings and there's woodwinds, but there's some really nice places for the harp," Dr. Martin says. Live blogging does not give justice to the fantastic music we are listening to right now.
7:35 PM - "Children wade, in the water. God's gonna trouble the water." The familiar tune to Wade In the Water ripples throughout the room, and even after hearing three different versions, the message still remains the same. Dr. Hougham struggles internally, however, by questioning "What business do I have singing this music? However, one of the things that occurred to me about microtopias is that they exist all over the campus." Upon hearing that an African American student said, "Honey, I sing gospel music, I gotta help that guy," the theme of microtopias becomes definitive. Students teaching teachers and teachers teaching students. Either way, it's a microtopia.
7:45 PM - Anytime by William Finn comes on. I've never heard it before, but trust me, it's good. What a voice.
7:49 PM - "When I go to a movie, I listen to the music. I notice if it's bad." As a film student, I'm loving this right now.
7:52 PM - "Personally I feel like FLEFF has opened my own creative parameters. This is Ithaca. It's a really tremendous place to try new things." I couldn't agree more, Dr. Hougham. I couldn't agree more...
7:54 PM - "When you try and describe music and creative art to someone, you never have enough ways because you never know what message will get through." Dr. Martin compares music to art, dance, and literature, and truly understands the fusion music plays in everyday life.
8:00 PM - "Why is it important to perform in a packed theater, and what does it mean to musicians? What does it feel like? Why does it matter?' Dr. Zimmerman makes the audience ponder the meaning of community and how often we can forget that the performer is actually aware of us. It reminds me a lot about the same question I asked myself when I wrote this blog post. We all come to the conclusion that the audience is really not that removed from the performance in the concert hall. It's more than mere entertainment. It's alive. It makes you feel different. After all, it's FLEFF: A Different Environment.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog posting written by Chloe Wilson, Television-Radio ’14, FLEFF Intern, Ashland, Massachusetts.
So I'm going to liveblog a FLEFF session that is for the interns, but I figured all you interested FLEFFers will get a kick out of this info too. This session is focused on The Concert for Microtopias and is hosted by two of the musicians performing in the concert.
6:58 PM- Patty Zimmerman (FLEFF Festival Coordinator and Ithaca College professor) is introducing "The Concert for Microtopias" and it sounds fantastic! Turns out we're using the Whelan School of Music for a concert location.
6:59 PM- Ann and Phil get a shout-out from Patty! #Awesome
7:01 PM- The actresses involved in the performance are loving the microtopia theme! The concert has been commissioned by FLEFF and is free!
7:07 PM- Brad has the floor! (He loves FLEFF because he gets to pick what he sings.)
7:09 PM- Debbie says that she loves working with dead people (musicians, I hope/am pretty sure of). Debbie shares a story about a man and his fabric collection (and Brad bought the guy's house and it's full of fabric) and his fabric room.
7:11 PM- Debbie: "We thought we'd start off my choosing some of our favorite things to play. Different things that make you happy or inspired or feeling feelings at the most extreme levels. That's what you'll find here. You'll find everything from different countries to different takes on spiritual things to ethnic things. Old, old-old music, new music, it's really a lot of different things."
7:14 PM- Debbie made us stand up and clap/dance along to music! It was hard to liveblog...
7:15 PM- Brad is playing us a German song with lyrics from a sacred text. As somebody who has sung in German, it's really hard! Gotta give the singer props.
7:16 PM- Recording isn't working... bummer.
7:17 PM- FLEFF Team Leader springs into action! She saves the day!
7:18 PM- Discovering a love for German opera right now.
7:20 PM- The title of the song (when translated) is "I Have Enough," as it "I have enough knowing that I'll go to heaven." What a great aria! (Guess my older brother's interest in Gilbert and Sullivan is rubbing off on me! Even though this particular opera is from Bach...)
7:21 PM- Brad gets to sing this piece? He mus be so excited! (He is. He also just said so.)
7:24 PM- Debbie is playing the piano for us. It's such a soft melody. Makes me wish I was that talented...
7:27 PM- Brad is playing a recording of the piece that Debbie just played. The soprano is amazing and its such a soft lullaby!
7:30 PM- This soft opera lullaby is going to be followed up by Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante defunte." I recognize this! (I used to study at the New England Conservatory. It was all music all the time!)
7:34 PM- Debbie says that the challenge will be to take these orchestral pieces and adapt them fully to piano. It's going to be hard to adapt harp for two pianos!
7:35 PM- Next on the program?! "Wade in the Water!!!!" I'm so excited! I performed to this in high school and am obsessed with this song.
7:36 PM- Listening to Big Mama Thornton's cover!
7:38 PM- I always get chills listening to this song! This cover is by the African American Choral Ensemble. Loving the alto line in this!
7:40 PM- Brad says that microtopias occur all over the IC campus... when professors teach in their classroom, in organizations, etc.
7:42 PM- From Debbie: The word "tarantella" comes from "tarantula." Ew...
7:43 PM- Listening to "Anytime" by William Finn.
7:45 PM- Somebody is asking a great question about how to collaborate over long distances! Brad is saying that they owe a lot to Patty and that she helps bring everyone together.
7:47 PM- Debbie is going to Berlin to practice with her fellow pianist! I'm jealous, it's such a beautiful city and there's so much history.
7:50 PM- Debbie: "If you really sit and think about it... these small moments of every aspect of who we are and what we are and it's fragmented and yet it can come together... That's what we're aiming for. This should be a new experience! Something that you don't do all the time."
7:51 PM- Brad: "I feel that FLEFF has opened my boundaries greatly... Just knowing that this is Ithaca, it's a really tremendous and wonderful safe place where you can expand yourself as an artist."
7:52 PM- Brad: "I love music and I love pushing the limit. I love having the music speak to people."
7:55 PM- Art Jones is the VJ for the concert! According to Patty, he has never worked with classical musicians. This will be a cool experience for everyone!
8:00 PM- Brad: "It's interesting to wonder what brings people to the concert. I think it's great that people are there because of music and their appreciation and love of music. I think that having a response is also really important. Not applause at the end, it's about the sense of something being given and something being received."
8:03 PM- And that's a wrap! Brava! Thank you! Encore! Many other words to express the thanks of the FLEFF interns.
What music would you want to hear at a FLEFF concert? What if it could be anything (Britney Spears, Sutton Foster, Jarhand... literally, anyone!)? Sound off below!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Blog posting written by Peter Keahey, Film, Photography and Visual Arts, '12, FLEFF Intern, Yellow Springs, Ohio
I was able to have a discussion with Ithaca College professor Peter Rothbart. Professor Rothbart teaches Jewish studies, music theory, and history & comparison. He has served as a programming consultant for FLEFF in the past, and this year he is teaching a FLEFF mini-course titled, "Cultural Ecology," which explores how different social elements influence environment.
Peter: When did you first become involved with FLEFF?
Rothbart: The first or second year it was at IC.
Peter: Why did you become involved with FLEFF?
Rothbart: I had an interest in film and sound and it was an interesting thing to bring environmental awareness through film and sound.
Peter: What are you're responsibilities as programming consultant?
Rothbart: I wrote a FLEFF mini-course Cultural Ecology. I also previously worked on sound production around environmental issues.
Peter: How did you develop your mini-course Cultural Ecology?
Rothbart: I went back to United Nations’ idea of ecology: an interaction of different elements that create a society or environment. As a musician, I focused on the interaction of different cultures and how new artistic cultures form, including what new aspects are created and what old aspects are lost. It applies the idea ecology to a cultural, anthropological perspective through the arts.
Peter: What aspects of music and sound do you bring to FLEFF?
Rothbart: I talk about music, soundscapes and how they are used to reflect culture and evolution and how sound changes or effects my students’ listening, studying, and thinking habits.
Peter: Are you involved in the silent screenings and live musical bands?
Rothbart: No, I did some of that a couple years ago, but not now.
Peter: What knowledge do you want students to take away from your mini-course?
Rothbart: An awareness of who they are, where they came from, and how artistic influences from different cultures have helped shape their history and their current habits.
Peter: How were you involved as an advisory board member?
Rothbart: We thought about what kinds of movies we wanted to bring, what direction we wanted to go, and what kinds of courses we wanted to offer.
Peter: What does FLEFF contribute to the Ithaca community?
Rothbart: It deepens the cultural experience of film-going, beyond entertainment, to edutainment. It makes people more aware of the environment on many different levels