Ithaca College  »  FLEFF  »  News  » 



Ithaca College's Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Will Collaborate With An International Film Festival In India

ITHACA, NY — For the third year in a row, Ithaca College faculty members Patricia Zimmermann and Tom Shevory, co-directors of the college’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), have curated a selection of works screened at last spring’s FLEFF for inclusion in “Voices from the Waters, 2009.” A four-day international film festival to be held this September in Bangalore, India. “Voices from the Waters” will spotlight water scarcity, river pollution, floods and droughts, climate change, deforestation and other global issues surrounding water.

FLEFF, along with a consortium of national and international organizations, will partner with the Bangalore festival. The distributors are Documentary Educational Resources, Bullfrog Films and Microcinema International.

“The 2009 edition of ‘Voices from the Water’ will be an effort by students, filmmakers, artists, water activists, architects and engineers from across the world to consider the impact of water on our contemporary lives and our futures,” Zimmermann said.

“This year’s festival seeks to embrace and trigger interdisciplinary dialog and vigorous debate on water in all its forms,” added Shevory. “It’s a unique platform for voices of concern over water that includes testimonies of people working on and with water.”

A listing of the works curated by Zimmermann and Shevory, along with summaries, is attached.

Launched in 1997 as an outreach project sponsored by Ithaca College, Cornell University’s Center for the Environment and Einaudi Center for International Studies and others, FLEFF is now under the auspices of the Ithaca College Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies. FLEFF has become a major regional event in upstate New York and enjoys an international reputation as a cutting-edge, multi-arts program.

For more information on FLEFF, visit More information on “Voices from the Waters” is available at


 Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF)
Curated titles for the 4th annual “Voices from the Waters” Film Festival

Bangalore, India
September 2009

Curated by Patricia Zimmermann and Thomas Shevory, co-directors
Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, Ithaca, New York

“Kalendar” (Naomi Uman, U.S. / Ukraine, 2009, 10 min)
A brief, cyclical passage through the months of the year depicted by startlingly beautiful single shots taken of Ukrainian village life. Whether focusing on blossoms on a branch bobbing before a painted wall or the patient preparation of dandelion tea, Uman employs clear, medium-range depth of field to provide a poetic accretion of detail that belies any traditional documentary agenda.

“Earth from the Air” (Yann Arthus-Bertrand, France, 2008, continuous ambient media)
The director has flown over hundreds of countries to create an extraordinary aerial portrait of our planet as never seen before. This ambient DVD forces viewers to ponder the future of Earth and its inhabitants.

“Ice Bears of the Beaufort” (Arthur Smith, United States, 2008; 55 min)
This documentary shows Alaska’s Beaufort Sea coast as critical polar bear habitat. Five years in the making by a single resident of an Inupiat Eskimo village, “Ice Bears of the Beaufort” is a color-intense, cinematic portrait of a polar bear society on the edge of survival.

 “An Island Calling” (Annie Goldson, New Zealand, 2008, 75 min)
A postcolonial tale of a country deeply divided along tribal, class and ethnic lines, this film explores the 2001 murders in Fiji of gay couple John Scott and his partner Greg Scrivener. A fourth generation Fiji-born European, Scott came from a powerful colonial family. A 22-year-old Fijian was charged with the killings. This film probes Fiji’s historical and contemporary landscape.

“Open Minds Open Mouths” (Helen de Michiel, USA, trailer, 2009 [Film to be completed in 2010.] 5 min)
In 1999, the Berkeley Unified School District mandated that the food served in the schools be nutritious, tasty, fresh, locally grown and, to the maximum extent possible, organic. A decade later, the Berkeley School Lunch Initiative is still going strong. “Open Minds Open Mouths” shows how a community of cooks, educators, parents, health advocates, politicians and food purveyors created a model for how students can eat healthy meals that reflect the diversity of the local culture.

“The Other Campaign: Indigenous Voices of the North, Part One” includes “Toxic Water” (17 min) “Tiburon Island” (20 min) “Yaqui Assembly” (20 min) and “From the Sierra of the Pima” (11 min) (Chiapas Media Project, USA/Mexico, 2007)
In an effort to initiate new governance structures in Mexico, the makers of “The Other Campaign” spoke with many indigenous communities in Northern Mexico. Existing in extreme isolation, poverty and violence, these communities constantly struggle against government projects that include toxic waste dumps, tourist development, land takeovers and military occupations.

“The Other Campaign: Indigenous Voices of the North, Part Two” include “Cucapas and Kiliwas 9,000 Years Later” (58 min) and “From San Jose de la Zorra, Northwestern Mexico”
Living in northwestern Mexico, the Cucapas and Kiliwas base their survival on the fish found in the delta of the Colorado River. The government, however, prohibits these people from fishing there. For the Kiliwas, who live in the mountains, the situation is more grave: many had to abandon their land, leaving behind a ghost town and a population on the edge of extinction. In another piece in this collection, the Kumial people, indigenous to Baja California, have been displaced from their ancestral lands by large landowners in collaboration with the Mexican state. The survival of the Kumial as a “first nation” is at risk.

“Paying the Price: Migrant Workers in the Toxic Fields of Sinaloa” (Alexandra Halkin, USA/Mexico, 2008)
This film follows impoverished migrant workers from the town of Ayotzinapa Guerrero as they pick vegetables to be imported to the United States and Canada. “Paying the Price” reveals hardships the workers face and how local and state governments have abandoned them to inhumane and slave-like working conditions.

“La Ruta del Chontaduro” (Alexander Gonzalez Tascon, Colombia, 2008, 50 min.)
The chontaduro is an exotic fruit with many health-giving properties. It grows in South and Central America. This film follows the chontaduro crop from a tropical jungle to big cities, showing how cultivating, harvesting and transporting this exquisite fruit preserves an ecosystem that not only sustains a way of life but also provides climatic equilibrium.

“A Sea Change” ( Barbara Ettinger USA, 2009, 85 min)
Experts predict that over the next century, steady increases in carbon dioxide emissions and the continued rise in the acidity of the oceans will cause most of the world’s fisheries to experience a total bottom-up collapse. “A Sea Change” broadens the discussion about the dramatic changes we are seeing in the chemistry of the oceans, and conveys the urgent threat those changes pose to our survival while surveying the steps we can take to reduce the severity of climate change.

“Sharing Paradise” (by Amelia Hapsari, Indonesia, 2008, 58 min)
Above the water, the Indonesian island of Pulau Balobaloang looks like an ideal tropical paradise, with blue skies, coconut trees and crystal water. Under the water, however, “fish bombing” with dynamite and cyanide is destroying the coral reef, threatening the marine habitat and the livelihoods of the island’s inhabitants. Collaborating with Balobaloang fishermen, the filmmakers confront illegal fishermen, government officials and police officers to investigate the dangerous new methods that threaten Balobaloang’s sustainable way of life.

“Stories from Myanmar: Film made by Participants of the Yangon Film School Workshops” (Lindsey Merrison, Myanmar, 2008, 188 mins)
This is a compilation of short films by students in the Art of Documentary Filmmaking Beginners Workshop 2007. Grappling with the technical, artistic and ethical aspects of the genre, the beginning filmmakers produced short documentaries on various topics, including children in Myanmar and how development organizations are making a difference in the lives of people from Kachin State, southern Shan State and the Ayeyarwaddy Delta.

“Umiaq Skin Boat” (DER) (Jobie Weetaluktuk, Canada, 2008, 31 min)
“Umiaq Skin Boat” is a beautiful and poetic film about a group of Inuit elders in Inukjuak, Quebec, who decide one summer to build the first traditional seal skin boat their community has seen in over 50 years. Over the course of working together on the boat, the elders recount astonishing stories of survival while navigating volatile and unforgiving Arctic waters.

“Unnamed Film” (Naomi Uman, USA/ Ukraine, 2009, 55 min)
“Unnamed Film” is a quiet, delicate and absorbing portrait of a rural Ukranian village, where preservation of what might be considered trash enables the inhabitants to survive on pensions of less than eighty dollars a month. The film provides intimate portraits of people who live simply and practically, wasting nothing.

“Weather the Storm: The Fight to Stay Local in the Global Fishery” (Directed by Charles Menzies and Jennifer Rashleigh, Canada, 2008, 36 min.)
In today’s global economy, the world’s ocean resources as well as local fishing communities are being hit hard by enormous industrial “floating factories” that follow the fish wherever they are abundant and move on once the fish stocks have been plundered. The fishing communities on France’s rugged western coast are fighting back by launching a multi-faceted strategy to stay small and successful in the face of global competition. Although the battle to save the oceans is often waged between environmentalists and corporations, this film gives voice to an important group who just may have the small-scale solutions needed to preserve the ocean’s resources.

Originally published in News Releases: Ithaca College's Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Will Collaborate With An International Film Festival In India.