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Get your FLEFF on

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival

Posted by Francesca Sherman at 11:44AM   |  Add a comment

I saw two FLEFF films this week right here on the IC Campus. The first one was on Wednesday evening and called "Bound by Promises." It was a really short film, but it packed a powerful punch. The film was about contemporary slavery that is a big problem in rural Brazil. WITNESS (their website is and is definitely worth checking out to learn about what other kinds of human rights violations exist) says that 25,000 workers are being enslaved in rural Brazil. The film talked to men who had experienced this enslavement (more than likely they had escaped, since buying your way to freedom is meant to be an impossible goal) by being lured from their families in hopes of making more money to get out of poverty, only to find themselves in "debt bondage." The work is physically tough and the entire situation, especially separation from family, is emotionally hard. While Brazil is making more of an effort to find these landowners and end slave labor, there's still a lot of work. If you missed this movie and you want to see it (because you should), go to the WITNESS website and there are links to both excerpts and the entire video, as well as what you can do to help end the slave trade in Brazil through them.

The second film was longer and featured a lot of cute animals, but still focused on a problem that's facing us today. With all the Al Gore hype about global warming, this set of scientists went to Antarctica to study the penguins there and really start to understand the effects of climate change on their wildlife. While the penguins, seals and whales were adorable to watch, what struck me was how "The Return to Penguin City" was able to really show the daily work and jobs of the scientists (almost like the film crew wasn't there), but in a way that wasn't so technical people couldn't understand it or so flashed up for Hollywood that it lost it's message. Directed by an IC alum, the film was informative in addition to being visually beautiful (unlike most people here on campus, I never get sick of snow). A (shortened) version of it was played on Animal Planet, so try to be on the look-out for this film if you're interested in animals, environment or the unique work of some pretty cool scientists.

And be sure to head downtown for some films of the final FLEFF days!

Posted by Francesca Sherman at 11:42AM   |  Add a comment


Francesca Sherman here. I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who came to FLEFF and helped to make it happen. I had an amazing time, seeing, listening, and interacting. Thanks especially to Patty and Tom for including me in this event. The parties at The Lost Dog were great as a chance to meet people and exchange stories and film reviews.  All in all, it was a great week, and I hope to come back for it next year!

Thanks to all,

Posted by Francesca Sherman at 3:55PM   |  Add a comment

I went to see Sharon Lin Tay talk about Ubuntu Kuqala, something she co-curates.  She spoke in Kati Lustyik’s course on Global Youth Media.  The talk was fascinating.  We discussed different definitions of the environment and watched “Chicken Delight,” some of the “Being There” videos, “The Meat Cutter,” “Return to Animalia,” and more.  If you haven’t had the chance to see these, I recommend them highly as they are all very thought provoking.  Though I can’t say exactly what I thought of them, I can say that they made me think a lot about the environment and how I see it.


Posted by Francesca Sherman at 3:54PM   |  Add a comment

“Grass” showed as the last film of FLEFF and the theater sold out.  The film itself showed the migration of a tribe in Iran, crossing a mountain-pass with all of their livestock to reach a place with grass, so their livestock will survive.  The tribe has to walk over a snow-covered mountain without shoes.  The visuals in the film are amazing.  The camera showed the mountain from a distance as the 50,000 people climbed it and it was incredible to look at. 

Although the actual film was great, the live music was better.  With Chris White, Peter Dodge, and Robby Aceto, the score for the film was incredibly moving.  The entire atmosphere they created was stimulating and really captured, for me, the magnitude of the event.

Posted by Francesca Sherman at 3:53PM   |  Add a comment

“The Price of Sugar” is a documentary about human trafficking, and Haitian slave labor in the Dominican Republic.  This was a very interesting piece.  It revealed a lot of issues about the Haitians cutting sugar cane in the DR.  The film focused on a priest, Father Christopher, who works with the Haitians in the DR to improve their lives.  Although the film focused around this one man, I believe that it was done very well as it showed his leadership role and the way that Haitians followed and supported him and how some Dominican’s opposed him as well as the Haitians.  Following the film was a discussion led by two Ithaca College professors, Alicia Swords and Shianne Osterreich.  In the discussion, we discussed, among other things, a cease and desist letter that FLEFF received from sugar corporations, forbidding us to show the film.  Clearly, this letter was not very effective.  It’s nice to know the corporation is ashamed of itself and doesn’t want people to realize the inhumanity they have toward their workers.

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