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Fresh at FLEFF

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Posted by Patricia Zimmermann at 9:56PM   |  Add a comment
Cynthia Henderson, who will channel the dazzling Josephine Baker

FLEFF 2011 Checkpoint Not to be Missed:

Saturday, April 16

Siren of the Tropics

7 p.m.


Silent Film/Live Music/Performance

Fe Nunn and Friends, jazz

Cynthia Henderson, performance

A Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Original Commission


Use your FLEFF pass for admission, or $9.50 for general admission, $8 for students and seniors. Plan to arrive early, as seating is limited.

About the Film

Siren of the Tropics [La sirène des tropiques] ( Henri Étiévant, Mario Nalpas, Portugal, 1927; 86 , min.) The dazzling, extraordinary, riveting, singer and dancer Josephine Baker stars in this film, the first to feature an African American woman as a star. Baker was born in St. Louis but spent most of her life in France. Marquis Sévéro, a rich, lazy Parisian, wants to divorce his wife so that he can marry his own goddaughter Denise. But Denise herself loves André Berval, an engineer employed by the marquis. Filled with jealousy, the marquis sends André to the Antilles, to prospect some land he has just acquired. He promises André that he can marry Denise if he is successful in the tropics, but he then writes to Alvarez, his manager at the site, asking him to prevent André from ever returning to France. The brutal Alvarez forms an instant hatred for André when the engineer breaks up Alvarez's attempt to rape Papitou, a beautiful native girl. Papitou becomes devoted to André, and protects him against Alvarez's schemes. But she faces a crisis herself when she learns that André plans to marry Denise.


About Cynthia Henderson


Cynthia Henderson is an associate professor with Ithaca College’s Department of Theatre Arts. A professional performer for a number of years in the United States, Europe, and Africa, her Ithaca credits include Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hangar Theatre, and Lily in Crumbs from the Table of Joy and Callie in Stop Kiss, both at the Kitchen Theatre. Her New York City credits include A Wrinkle in Time at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, and Dorothy Dandridge: An Evening of Song and Remembrance, Brother’s Keeper, and It’s Only a Play off Broadway. Her European credits include leading roles in Dreamgirls, Into the Woods, Children of a Lesser God, and Little Shop of Horrors. She was acknowledged by the European Tournament of Plays with a best supporting actress in a musical award for her role in Little Shop of Horrors. African credits include Charlayne in Pretty Fire and a production of For Colored Girls, which she directed. Television credits include a starring role in UPN’s Ghost Stories, as well as numerous commercial and industrial credits. She is also the recipient of a Fulbright award.

About Fe Nunn and Friends

Fe Nunn is a songwriter and composer who lives in Ithaca, New York. He has written music for television and radio commercials, as well as for film. As a pianist, he specializes in jazz and avant-garde musical forms. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, during the powerhouse jazz era there in the 1960s, where he regularly heard John Coltrane, Sonny Stitt, and Roland Kirk perform live at the Blue Moon. He wrote the score for the All of Us Project, an initiative to involve the entire community in children’s education. With Jeff Claus and Baruch Whitehead, he helped to launch the Community Unity Music Education Program, a new form of music school. His CDs include We Can Make It (1999) and Precious Moments (2004). He currently teaches media literacy and television production at Boynton Middle School. He and Mike Vitucci, guitarist, have played together for over 25 years. His band, Fe Nunn and Friends, has worked with silent film and live music events, most notably the Within Our Gates project, recently featured in the archival journal Moving Image as an innovative project combining archival research, African American silent film, and live music.

Sound Support: Calf Audio

Producing and Lighting: Insights International

Writer and Researcher: Patricia R. Zimmerman, with Cynthia Henderson and Ann Michel


Funding for this performance of silent film/live music is generously provided by the Park Foundation and Ithaca College.

FLEFF: A Different Environment





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