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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Blog posting by Brian McCormick, Film & Photo '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA
The last two nights have been very exciting for FLEFF! Now that the Cinemapolis screenings are underway it feels everyone has really gotten amped up!
The crowds down at the theater are very lively and energized. Every post-screening discussion has been full of energy and passion, since these issues and ideas are so important to the filmmakers and their audience. That's what makes seeing a film at FLEFF so unique -- the chance to talk to the filmmaker after the viewing.
Thursday night I saw "Even the Rain", a fiction feature film about a Spanish film crew making a movie in Bolivia amidst the Water Wars. In the film, the director casts a local Bolivian to play a major role. He soon finds out that this local is one of the prominent activists fighting for water and his rebellion throws the director and his crew through the biggest obstacles imaginable. I personally loved this film -- it really showcases the passion and determination put into filmmaking, as well as the passion of the locals to fight for water and essentially their lives.
Attending the screening was the film's casting director Rodrigo Bellot, an IC alum who it has been an absolute pleasure to have at FLEFF. Following the screening, Bellot conducted an enlightening Q&A, and he also spoke at the "How to Get Your Break" panel discussion yesterday evening.
Bellot will be at FLEFF again today -- don't miss the chance to meet him and the other FLEFF guests!
Last night, I then saw F. W. Murnau's "The Last Laugh" with live music performed by John Stetch. Really incredible. It felt very experimental in the way he would transition from scene to scene by isolating one sound or bringing a new one in, or just by changing the way he hit the drums or which keys he played. Keep in the mind the movie's original soundtrack is composed of an entire orchestra -- Stetch performed it by himself!
There will be two more silent film screenings with live music performances: Tonight, 7pm "Siren of the Tropics, and Tomorrow, 7pm "Storm Over Asia."
"Even the Rain" will also be screening again today -- go see it if you haven't!
Also, don't forget to head down to Delilah's for the after parties if you want to chat it up will all of the FLEFF guests!
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Blog posting written by Shea Lynch, Documentary Studies '14, FLEFF Intern, Glens Falls, New York
DON'T FORGET TO DOWNLOAD THE FLEFF EVENT CALENDARS! Click here to view/download now!
You will be playing piano during FLEFF Week's screening of The Last Laugh, tell us a little about the creative process you undergo.
The music that I'll be playing is all improvised. I'll allude to the period of the film occasionally so there will be some stylistic references to early jazz. But if it were only that, it would sound boring for the whole movie, and I might run out of ideas. So, I also go with the moment, and play modern-day piano sounds that reflect the action and images of the film.
How long have you been performing for silent films?
I've played several over the last few years but this one is the first solo piano performance. The nice thing about silent films is that many different bands and musicians will all interpret the same film in their own personal way. Because of that, there are infinite combinations and results for a limited amount of vintage silent films. It is also an opportunity for me to play a concert that's quite different than my normal line of work: by improvising to an inspiring film. The overall package for the audience is more accessible and engaging than just an all-audio concert.
The theme of FLEFF is Checkpoints, ideas coming together. How does the piano and the silent film represent the FLEFF theme?
Sometimes there are sections in the film with either no action, or sections where images are inconsistently changing and unpredictably contrasting to each other, so part of my job is to provide a steadily flowing, forward-moving backdrop to tie these visible images together, provide a steady undercurrent and help make the audio link to the present.
What do you wish the audience can get out of this performance?
I think its a chance to see a collaborative, creative process happen in real-time; they can even have fun imagining 'what would I play if I were a pianist at this moment'. And thank goodness we are going to have a real acoustic piano in Cinemapolis, thanks to Don McKechnie at Ithaca College Piano Services.
The Last Laugh will be screened Friday, April 15 at Cinemapolis. SAVE THE DATE!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Blog posting written by Lindsay Harrop, Cinema & Photography '13, FLEFF Intern, McMinnville, Oregon
Fellow FLEFF Intern Abby Sophir has already highlighted her Top 5 films to check out on the Ithaca College campus for FLEFF week. For those interested in heading into town, here are five of the films I'm most excited to be seeing at Cinemapolis!
1: Bastards of Utopia by Maple Razsa: As a politics student, I love learning about areas of international conflicts and the Balkan States are one of my favorite corners of the world. Bastards of Utopia is about three leftist-Croatian-activists who continue to fight for their political views after the collapse of Yugoslavia. As an added bonus, the filmmaker Maple Razsa will be at the 4:00 showing too! (Screening: Sunday, April 17 @ 4:00pm & 9:30pm)
2: The Last Laugh by F.W. Marnau: Ithaca College's own award-winning pianist John Stetch will be performing live improvised accompaniment to this 1924 silent expressionist film. This is literally a once in a lifetime event that can never be recreated so make sure to be there! (Screening: Friday, April 15 @ 7:00pm)
3: Plunder: The Crime of Our Time by Danny Schecter: We hear about the financial crisis all the time but this film from "the news dissector" Danny Schechter explores the criminal activities that lead to the collapse of the housing market. Plus Danny Schecter will be present at the 2:00 showing on April 16th so it's definitely one to check out! (Screening: Saturday, April 16 @ 2:00pm & 7:30pm; Sunday, April 17 @ 7:30pm)
4: Four Lions by Christopher Morris: If you're in the mood for a narrative film, Four Lions is the story of an incompetent terrorist cell in the UK. It's a black comedy that's garnered a lot of critical attention and one I'm definitely interested to check out as something different from the mainstream. (Screening: Thursday, April 14 @ 9:30pm; Saturday, April 16 @ 4:10pm; Sunday, April 17 @ 7:40pm)
5: Agrarian Utopia by Uruphong Raksasad: Back to the documentaries, this is a gorgeous film from Thailand following two families trying to get through one more season of rice-farming despite facing seizure of their land. This is an important issue we don't often hear about and I'm interested to look at it from a non-American perspective. (Screening: Friday, April 15 @ 7:30pm; Saturday, April 16 @ 9:30pm)
What other films are you guys excited to see?