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Ithaca College's Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Partners with United Nations University

ITHACA, NY — Thanks to a recently formed partnership between Ithaca College’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) and the United Nations University (UNU), the UNU-produced video series “Indigenous Perspectives of Climate Change” will be screened at FLEFF 2011 next April 11-17. Established by the UN General Assembly, the UNU is composed of the UNU Centre in Tokyo and a worldwide network of research, training centers and programs that collaboratively research pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare. The UNU Media Centre has been producing documentaries since 2004 and produces a webzine called Our World 2.0 dealing with the interconnected issues of climate change, peak oil, biodiversity and food security (see

Produced by documentary filmmakers Citt Williams, Luis Patron and Megumi Nishikura, the “Indigenous Perspectives of Climate Change” series supports the UN’s efforts to empower indigenous peoples to develop frameworks for assessing the impact of climate change on their communities and ecosystems. The series consists of 11 videos shot at Tajikstan, Borneo, Papua New Guinea’s Carteret Islands and other indigenous communities throughout the globe, and may be viewed at Lasting from 5 to 11 minutes, the videos were screened at the Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change and the recently held United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen, at which a contingent of students and faculty from Ithaca College attended under the auspices of permanent observer status.

Exploring the ways indigenous people can participate in the evaluation of global climate change dovetails with “Checkpoints,” the theme of FLEFF 2011.

“Checkpoints evoke crossing over to a different physical, artistic, social, political, psychic, emotional or intellectual place,” said Patricia Zimmermann, a codirector of FLEFF. “Checkpoints function as reference points, markers and navigational aids.”

“Checkpoints especially mark environmental turning points such as global temperature gradients that signify flooding and heat waves,” added Tom Shevory, also a FLEFF codirector. “FLEFF’s new partnership with United Nations University is a vivid way to recognize that correlation.”

In addition to screening “Indigenous Perspectives of Climate Change,” FLEFF 2011 will feature a weeklong offering of feature films at Cinemapolis in downtown Ithaca, forums, labs, panel discussions, for-credit labs on new media design and silent film/live music presentations.

Launched 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.

For more information, contact Patricia Zimmermann at or Tom Shevory at