FLEFF at Cinemapolis MARCH 29-APRIL 1 2012
We are excited to announce that the 2012 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) will come to Cinemapolis Thursday March 29th through Sunday April 1. Every spring, FLEFF throngs the theater for a few days with a heady collection of new films on a variety of themes, often accompanied by their directors, producers, and distributors. A FLEFF favorite every year: two wonderful silent films with brand new scores by local musicians. It's a wonderfully stimulating and enriching experience which we look forward to every year, a chance for Ithaca movie lovers to see 4--or 14--films in a single weekend.

NANOOK OF THE NORTH  Sunday April 1 at 7:00 pm


It's the 90th anniversary of  Robert Flaherty's groundbreaking documentary--with live music by Robbie Aceto, Peter Dodge, and Chris White (7:00 Sunday 4/1)

Nanook of the North is regarded as the first significant nonfiction feature, made in the days before the term "documentary"... had even been coined. Filmmaker Robert Flaherty had lived among the Eskimos in Canada for many years as a prospector and explorer, and he had shot some footage of them on an informal basis before he decided to make a more formal record of their daily lives. Financing was provided by Revillion Freres, a French fur company with an outpost on the shores of Hudson Bay. Filming took place between August 1920, and August 1921, mostly on the Ungava Peninsula of Hudson Bay. Flaherty employed two recently developed Akeley gyroscope cameras which required minimum lubrication; this allowed him to tilt and pan for certain shots even in cold weather. He also set up equipment to develop and print his footage on location and show it in a makeshift theater to his subjects. Rather than simply record events as they happened, Flaherty staged scenes -- fishing, hunting, building an igloo -- to carry along his narrative. The film's tremendous success confirmed Flaherty's status as a first-rate storyteller and keen observer of man's fragile relationship with the harshest environmental conditions. (In a sadly appropriate footnote, Nanook, the subject of the film, died of starvation not long after the film's release.

BUSTER KEATON SHORTS (Buster Keaton, US, 1920-23, 105 min)--with live music by Li'l Anne and Hot Cayenne 

Saturday March 31st, 4:00 pm

The short films of Buster Keaton are considered cinematic classics, and offer some of his best early work.  They are "an exception to the idea that shorts are inherently less satisfying and less accomplished than feature films...And at their best they dispel the theory that you can't do something grand on a small scale." (Screen Savour) Five of keaton's best short films are offered in this program: The Scarecrow, One Week, The Playhouse, The Boat, and Cops.                                                                                                    (4:00 Saturday 3/31)

ARLIT: DEUXIEME PARIS (Niger/France 2004 75 min)

Sunday April 1, 4:00 pm

Arlit: Deuxieme Paris

A case study in environmental racism set in a uranium mining town in the Sahara desert of Niger.  here European corporations extract nuclear power and profits, leaving behind disease, contamination and unemployment.  Ironically the primary activity of Arlit today is waiting to die of radiation illness or to emigrate to find work in Europe. Everyone is there in the hope of going somewhere else.

With filmmaker Idrissou Mora Kpai

BEIJING BESIEGED BY WASTE (China 2011; 71 min)

Saturday March 31, 7:10; Sunday April 1, 9:00

Beijing Besieged by Waste

Photographer Wang Jiu-liang travels to more than 500 landfills, fearlessly documenting Beijing’s unholy cycle of consumption through poignant observational visits with the scavengers who live and work in the dumps. While China’s economic ascent commands global attention, less light has been shed upon the monumental problem of waste spawned by a burgeoning population, booming industry, and insatiable urban growth. Award-winning photographer Wang Jiuliang focuses his lens upon the grim spectacle of waste, excrement, detritus, and rubble unceremoniously piled upon the land surrounding the China’s Olympic city, capital, and megalopolis, Beijing.


Saturday March 31st, 2:00 pm

Cotton RoadCotton Road
Globalization as seen through one of the world's most important commodities, w/filmmaker Laura Kissel and Sourcemap creator Matthew Hockenberry

Cotton Road (Laura Kissel, USA, 2012) From fields in South Carolina to factories in Shanghai, “Cotton Road” makes visible the production cycle of an agricultural commodity through the stories of workers who transform raw cotton from a seed in the ground to a product on a store shelf. The film begins with farmers and seeds and ends at a retail store. In between, it tracks the travels of cotton to China where young factory girls dye, spin and sew, manufacturing the products we desire to consume. Connecting our consumption to the labor behind it, “Cotton Road” weaves a portrait of globalized work in the 21st century.

(With filmmaker Laura Kissel and Matthew Hockenberry)

View the trailer.

EL VELADOR  (The Night Watchman) (MEXICO 2011, 72 min)

Saturday March 31 2:20 and 9:00 pm

El Velador 
Extravagant mausoleums are the setting for a peaceful meditation on the violence of Mexico's drug cartels

El Velador (Natalia Almada, Mexico, 2011; 72 min.) Night after night, Martin watches over the extravagant mausoleums of some of Mexico's most powerful drug lords like a guardian angel. Set in a massive, labyrinthine cemetery in the hours between dusk and dawn, EL VELADOR (THE NIGHTWATCHMAN) is a peaceful meditation on violence. Natalia Almada's haunting documentary reminds us that even today, during the turmoil of Mexico's bloodiest conflict since the revolution, ordinary life persists.

View the trailer here.


Sunday April 1 12:00 noon

Empowered: Power from the People 
Tompkins County, New York, and the energy independence revolution, w/ filmmaker Shira Golding Evergreen

Empowered: Power from the People (Shira Golding Evergreen, USA, 2011; Tompkins County, NY is one of the cloudiest, least windy places in the country, and yet its residents are proving that we can meet our energy needs through totally renewable resources. From solar and wind to veggie oil and geothermal, Empowered: Power from the People tells the story of one community’s role in the energy independence revolution.

(With filmmaker Shira Golding) FREE SHOW

Watch the trailer.

THE FAIRY (France/Belgium, 2011; 90 min.)

Friday March 30 9:20 pm; Saturday April 1 7:20 pm

The Fairy 
A whimsical comedy featuring a shoeless fairy and the hotel night clerk.


The Fairy (Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, France/Belgium, 2011; 90 min.) Dom works the night shift in a small hotel near the industrial sea port of Le Havre. One night, a woman arrives with no luggage and no shoes. Her name is Fiona and she tells Dom that she is a fairy that can grant him three wishes. Fiona makes two of his wishes come true then mysteriously disappears. Dom. who has fallen in love with her by then, searches for her everywhere. (Narrative film)

View the trailer.


HELL AND BACK AGAIN (Afghanistan/USA; 2011; 88 min)

Sunday April 1 7:10 pm

Hell and Back Again 
Stunning Afghanistan war reportage contrasts with "normalcy" of life back home. [Nominated for Academy Awards best documentary]

From his embed with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man’s personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life with the love and support of his wife, Ashley. Masterfully contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, HELL AND BACK AGAIN lays bare the true cost of war. [Documentary]

INDOCHINE: TRACES OF A MOTHER (Benin, 2010, 71 min.)

Saturday March 31st 7:00 pm

Indochine: Traces of a Mother Indochine: Traces of a Mother
Tells the story of African colonial soldiers fighting for the French in Indochina, between 1946 and 1954, w/filmmaker Idrissou Mora-Kpaï.

Indochine, Traces of a Mother (Idrissou Mora Kpai, Benin, 2010; 71 min.) Indochina: Through the story of Christophe, a 58 year old Afro-Vietnamese man, the film tells the story of African colonial soldiers fighting for the French in Indochina.Between 1946 and 1954, over 60,000 African soldiers were enlisted by the French (often involuntarily) to fight the Viet Minh. Little known is also that children born of marriages between these soldiers and Vietnamese women were shipped back to Africa by the colonial army after the war, never again to see their mothers. Mora Kpai poetically relays the stories of some of these African veterans and children, including that of Christophe, who now in his adulthood grapples to come to terms with his past and identity.
With director Idrissou Mora Kpai.

View the trailer


KISSED BY LIGHTNING (Canada, 2009, 89 min.)

Friday March 30, 7:10 pm

Kissed by Lightning  
A modern version of an Iroquois tale about a widow grieving for her lost husband.


 Inspired by an ancient Iroquois tale, this story follows a Six Nations Mohawk artist who grieves for her lost husband. In an effort to extinguish haunting memories, she immerses herself in painting. Unexpectedly, an upcoming art exhibition forces her to consider the possibilities of the here and now.

With director Shelley Niro.

View the trailer.

KOCH BROTHERS EXPOSED (Robert Greenwald, Jim Miller

Friday March 30, 7:00 pm

Koch Brothers Exposed 
Robert Greenwald and Jim Miller team up to exposed the political machinations of the billionaire Koch brothers.

Koch Brothers Exposed (Robert Greenwald, Jim Miller, USA, 2012; 60 min.) Koch Brothers Exposed is a multi-media multi-platform creative campaign to expose the billionaire Koch brothers and the ways their money is influencing the narrative, changing regulations and harming our democracy. From the fines paid by Koch Industries, Inc. involving of hundreds oil spills, to efforts to dismantle environmental regulations, to advocating against safety nets for working Americans, we plan to uncover how the Koch brothers have launched a large network to attack our most crucial American values. The event involves screening a series of 8 video exposés focused on the many issues in which the Koch brothers are involved.

MARIMBAS FROM HELL (Guatemala, 2010, 75 min)

Friday March 30 7:15 pm; Sunday April 1 7:20 pm

Marimbas from Hell 
The weirdest heavy metal movie you will ever see, straight from Guatamala.

Marimbas from Hell (Julio Hernandez Cordon, Guatamala, 2010; 75 min.) Don Alfonso is a deliveryman. He also plays marimbas, the traditional Guatemalan instrument. He  plays a folkloric musical show in one of the fancy hotels of Guatemala City. He faces the population's lack of interest for his instrument, considered  out of date and old fashioned. Black is pioneer of the Heavy Metal Guatemalan underground stage. He also is also a doctor in the public hospital but nobody wants to be treated by him because of his long hair and his tattoos. When Don Alfonso and Black meet each other and decide to combine their talents and create a brand new project called Marimbas from Hell, they could never have imagined all the reactions they would provoke among the population.

View the trailer here.

MY JOY (Ukraine, 2010, 127 min)

Thursday May 29 9:10 pm; Sunday April 1 4:10 pm

My Joy 
A truck driver takes a wrong turn and finds himself lost in a bleak Russian underworld.

A truck driver takes a wrong turn and finds himself lost in a bleak Russian underworld, struggling to survive amidst increasingly violent reminders of the country's dark history. The first fiction film by acclaimed documentarian Sergei Loznitsa, My Joy is a mischievous, ultra-nihilistic parable of post-Communist Russia, shot by master cinematographer Oleg Muto (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) Critic Andrew O'Hehir states that My Joy was the most unexpected and arresting picture in the main Cannes [2011] competition. Russian film director, Andrey Zvyagintsev, called My Joy the best Russian-language film of the decade. (Narrative film)

View the trailer.


West Memphis Three

 When a documentary named "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills" played on HBO in 1996, it left little doubt that the three young men convicted of the crimes were innocent. When "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations" played in 2000, it left less doubt. Now it is 2012 and a third film, "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," shows them being set free in August 2011 after 17 years in jail. One of them was on Death Row. The case of the West Memphis Three became famous. The naked bodies of three Cub Scouts were found in a creek in a wooded are near an interstate Exchange in West Memphis, Arkansas. Within a month police had charged three teenagers with the crime: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. There was no physical evidence against them, and they all had alibis. The original conviction was based on flawed circumstantial evidence and a confession obtained from Jessie Misskelley, one of the defendants, who had an IQ of 72 and was questioned by police for 12 hours without a parent or attorney present, and then tape-recorded only long enough to recite a statement he later retracted. This new film is the culmination of years of extraordinary persistence by the documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, whose work freed the three men.

 POMEGRANATES AND MYRRH (Palestine, 2009, 95 min)

Saturday March 31, 9:10 pm; Sunday April 1, 2:20 pm

Pomegranates and Myrrh 
A dancer, the wife of a Palestinian prisoner, finds herself caught between loyalty to her husband and attraction to a new choreographer.


 Director: Najwa Najjar.A free spirited woman dancer, Kamar, finds herself the wife of a prisoner, Zaid, and away from everything she loves until she returns to the dance, defying society's taboos. At the dance Kamar is confronted with Kais, a Palestinian returnee, who has taken Kamar's role as the head choreographer. Sparks fly between Kamar and Kais, creating more than a passionate, emotional dance for the both of them. Matters become even more complicated when Zaid's sentence is extended. At the same time the family's legal case against the land confiscation faces one obstacle after another and the villagers from the nearby villages are unable to reach the family's olive groves, placing the annual harvest and consequently the family's livelihood in danger. [Narrative]

View the trailer.

PUTIN'S KISS (Denmark, 2012, 85 min)

Thursday March 29  9:20 pm; Saturday March 31st 2:10 pm

Putin's Kiss 
Marsha, a spokesperson for a Russian government youth organization, meets the opposition, and starts to have doubts.

Director: Lise Birk Pederson. 19-year old Marsha is a spokesperson in the government- friendly and strongly nationalistic Russian youth organization, Nashi. The movement aims to protect Russia against its 'enemies'. Marsha was seduced by the high energy of the movement by the age of 15 and has got a lot of benefits in return for her loyalty. But then she starts seeing a group of critical journalists. Among them is the well-known blogger, Oleg Kashin, who compares Nashi with 'Hitlerjugend'. Marsha is defending her movement, but she starts recognizing how harassment and dirty provocations against the Russian opposition by 'unknown perpetrators' is going on around her. When Oleg is getting seriously beaten up and nearly dies, Marsha has to take a stand for or against Nashi. PUTIN'S KISS  won the Documentary Cinematography Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

View the trailer.


Thursday March 29, 7:00 pm

Scavenger Hunt:  An Unlikely Union 

Directed by Matt Podolsky

 In the remote canyons of Northern Arizona, condor biologists and hunters unite to save a species. The film focuses on the efforts of biologists in remote Northern Arizona to re-introduce the highly endangered California Condor. Through these efforts a much larger problem is revealed that could have serious implications for hunters and their families.

With Matt Podolsky

View the trailer

SUSHI: THE GLOBAL CATCH (US, 2010, 75 min)

Thursday March 29, 9:00 pm; Saturday March 31st, 9:20 pm

Sushi: The Global Catch 
As Sushi has become a mass-produced global delicacy, it has begun to upset the ocean's ecological balance.

Directed by Mark Hall. Sushi, a cuisine formerly found only in Japan, has grown exponentially in other nations, and an industry has been created to support it. In a rush to please a hungry public, the expensive delicacy has become common and affordable, appearing in restaurants, supermarkets and even fast food trailers. The traditions requiring 7 years of apprenticeship in Japan have given way to quick training and mass-manufactured solutions elsewhere.This hunger for sushi has led to the depletion of apex predators in the ocean, including bluefin tuna, to such a degree that it has the potential to upset the ecological balance of the world’s oceans, leading to a collapse of all fish species.

View the trailer.

 TUESDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS (Romania, 2011, 99 min)

Thursday March 29, 7:20 pm; Friday March 30, 9:10 pm

Tuesday After Christmas 


Director: Radu Muntean. The Romanian New Wave of the past decade has yielded such internationally acclaimed gems as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and 12:08 East of Bucharest. Add to them Tuesday, After Christmas, an elegant, emotionally resonant drama of a middle-class couple whose 10-year marriage is rocked by the husband's illicit affair with their daughter's sexy dentist. In many respects it's an oft-told tale: Paul must choose between the easy rapport and stability of his family life and the uncertainty and excitement of a relationship with a much younger woman. The fact that the two leads are actually a married couple adds to the verisimilitude. (narrative film)

VEINS IN THE GULF (US, 2011, 78 min)

Sunday April 1, 2:00 pm and 9:10 pm

Veins in the Gulf  
Traces the environmental crisis of southern Louisiana and disappearing bayou culture w/filmmakers Ted Hardin and Elizabeth Coffman.

Directors Ted Hardin and Elizabeth Coffman

A documentary that traces the environmental crisis of southern Louisiana, the political decision-making challenges surrounding coastal flooding, and rapidly disappearing bayou culture. Interviews with scientists, musicians and engineers, starting before Katrina and continuing through the BP oil disaster, are narrated by Louisiana writer Martha Serpas. Serpas guides the audience through stories of land loss, flood control engineering, and oil-damaged marshes. Her poetry reminds the viewer where great American literature, music, and seafood have come from for the past century.

View the trailer.


WINTER VACATION (Han Jia) (China, 2010, 91 min)

Sunday April 1, 1:30 pm

Winter Vacation [Han Jia] 
A comedy about adolescent life in Inner Mongolia.

 It’s the last day of winter vacation in Inner Mongolia. Four aimless adolescents enjoy their last hours of freedom drifting between the barren spaces of their small town. They make surreal visits to homes of family and friends, including an unhappy little boy who dreams of becoming an orphan to escape the tyranny of his family. A prevailing absurdity casts over their lives as they endure petty instances of bullying while arguing over the purpose of school, teenage love, and life in general. Winner of the Golden Leopard for Best Film at the Locarno Film Festival, the third film by poet-novelist Li Hongqi announces him as a major figure in China’s independent cinema. Targeting the nonsensical undertones of modern Chinese society, Li unleashes a mercilessly deadpan humor that’s as biting as the film’s wintry landscape.

View the trailer.


Thursday March 29, 7:10 pm

Upstate Filmmakers Showcase, Volume IUpstate Filmmakers Showcase, Volume I
Award winning shorts from local filmmakers

These films represent a range of cinematic forms: non-narrative, observational, dramatic live action, and animation. The films are lyrical, truly independent and finely crafted by Ithaca based filmmakers. Including the works of Mara Alper, Changhee Chung, Cathy Crane Vincent Grenier, Jason Harrington, Becky Lane, and John Scott.


Saturday March 31st, 4:20 pm

Upstate Filmmakers Showcase, Volume IIUpstate Filmmakers Showcase, Volume II
A program of short documentaries from Upstate New York's finest filmmakers

These documentaries tell the stories of itinerant musicians in Mexico’s drug corridor, the last segregated unit in the US Army, and about Ithaca’s homegrown Porchfest. Featuring recent documentary films made by Ithaca-based filmmakers James Rada, Arturo Sinclair and Gossa Tsegaye.
BUY FESTIVAL FIVE-PASS at the theater: $45