FLEFF Goes Virtual

By Patrick Bohn ’05, April 10, 2020
Annual environmental film festival moves online with help of local independent theater.

Every year, Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) showcases global media projects focusing on issues of sustainability, with events both on campus and at local independent theater Cinemapolis. This year’s effort was initially canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has since moved completely online, replete with virtual screenings.

This year’s festival has three different initiatives, composed of more than 50 films and new media projects, and includes two exhibitions, “Radical Infiltrations” and “Infiltrations: A Different Media Environment.”

An online exhibition of new media art, “Radical Infiltrations,” showcases art generated by code, algorithm and interfaces that explore the power of questioning and even challenging infiltrations, such as the manipulations of profit-driven algorithms and the relentless rhetoric of political polarization.

Infiltrations: A Different Media Environment” features eight different independent media groups from Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, and the United States, featuring short, community-produced, and modestly resourced videos that confront urgent unresolved environmental, health, and political issues, including coronavirus. The exhibition is a partnership between FLEFF and the Park Center for Independent Media.

“Our partnership with Cinemapolis has insured FLEFF and Ithaca College can bring groundbreaking international art cinema to Ithaca, our region, and the world.”

Patricia Zimmermann, co-director of FLEFF

The media from these two exhibitions can be viewed for free on the FLEFF website.

Starting on April 10, Cinemapolis, whose executive director, Brett Bossard, is a 1995 alumnus of Ithaca College, will screen several international art film titles originally slated for FLEFF. The cinema is collaborating with independent film distributors to sell patrons “virtual tickets” for online rentals of current first-run releases that can be screened using a laptop or mobile device.

Viewing Party

The Cinemapolis "Virtual Cinema" will screen several films slated for FLEFF over the next several weeks. For more information, and to watch the films, go the virtual cinema page on the Cinemapolis website.

“Our partnership with Cinemapolis has insured FLEFF and Ithaca College can bring groundbreaking international art cinema to Ithaca, our region, and the world,” said Patricia Zimmermann, professor of media arts, sciences and studies and co-director of the festival. “And this vital partnership has meant continually adapting and innovating to community needs, whether embodied or now virtual, to insure space for cinemas that change how we see and think about the globe.”

Begun in 1997 as an outreach project from Cornell University’s Center for the Environment, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival was moved permanently to Ithaca College in 2005. It is housed in the Office of the Provost as a program to link intellectual inquiry and debate to larger global issues.

Launched in 2008, the Park Center for Independent Media is a center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems.

For more information, contact Patricia Zimmermann at patty@ithaca.edu.