Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Celebrates 20th Anniversary With 'Geographies'

The Fingers Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) returns this month to mark its 20th season with a weeklong series of film screenings, concerts, lectures, exhibitions and workshops focused on the theme of “Geographies.” The events will take place April 9-15 on the Ithaca College campus and downtown at Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St.

The festival, which began as a joint venture between Ithaca College and Cornell University, examines how specific themes are expressed or help shape physical and social environments. “Geographies” explores how material and immaterial spaces and places relate to each other. Read more about the theme at

All events are open to the public, with free events taking place on the Ithaca College campus. More than 20 film screenings at Cinemapolis will require tickets. Festival passes cost $40 for adults and $20 for students. Individual tickets are $9.50 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. An additional 20 films will be screened on the Ithaca College campus.

“This year’s program is one of our best ever, since it includes films, music, parties, presentations of academic research and a brand-new addition called Cinemas on the Periphery, which involves Ithaca College and other regional faculty convening on the topic of global cinemas that are marginalized but deserve a more central place on our screens and in our conversations,” said Tom Shevory, co-director of FLEFF.

FLEFF was launched in 1997 by Cornell University’s Center for the Environment as an outreach initiative. Since 2005 it has been fully organized and run by IC. It is housed in the Office of the Provost as a program to link intellectual inquiry and debate to larger global issues.

“FLEFF has evolved from being an interesting idea developed by two college professors, who didn’t completely know what they were doing, into an innovative festival, with a wide array of diverse and provocative content, and multiple forms of artistic and intellectual activity,” said Shevory.

The festival is organized each year by Shevory, a professor of politics at IC, and Patty Zimmermann, a professor of media arts, sciences and studies at the college.

“Twenty years is a milestone. We’re quite proud of that,” Shevory said. “Patty and I had little to no idea what we were doing when we started. We have both learned a huge amount about how to mount a film festival with approximately 100 events.”

FLEFF 2018 Highlights

• “Geographies of a Current Drug Crisis,” a lecture on opioids and harm reduction by Sheila Vakharia, assistant professor at Long Island University-Brooklyn, on April 9 at 7 p.m. in Textor Hall 103.
• “Geographies Concert,” multimedia concert featuring two concert pianists, opera singers and video footage from NASA throughout the performance, on April 10 at 8:15 p.m. in the Hockett Recital Hall, Whalen Center.
• “When Politics Becomes Personal,” a reading from writer Raad Rahman, on April 11 at 6 p.m. in Handwerker Gallery.
• “Cinemas on the Periphery,” a roundtable discussion of marginalized cinemas, on April 13 at 3 p.m. in the Center for Faculty Excellence, Gannett 316.
• “Unfractured,” a documentary that follows Ithaca College Distinguished Scholar in Residence Sandra Steingraber’s fight against fracking, on April 15 at 3:30 p.m. at Cinemapolis (ticketed).
• “Bitter Money,” a banned Chinese film about migrants moving to East China, on April 15 at 7 p.m. at Cinemapolis (ticketed).

A detailed schedule is available at

For more information, contact Tom Shevory at (607) 274-1347 or

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