Press

April 11, 2015


New film fest shares GREEN IDEAS

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9:58 a.m. EDT April 11, 2015

First-time film festival director Rebecca Delaney wasn’t sure what to expect when the Fast Forward Film Festival put out a call for submissions in October 2014.

She was pleasantly surprised by the deluge.

“We received 96 eligible submissions,” Delaney said. “We only planned on receiving about 20 to 25, which would be more typical of a first-year film festival. Receiving so many more was a great problem to run into!”

Submissions were required to have an environmental theme, be five minutes long and come from professional or amateur filmmakers who reside in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.

Twelve were selected by a jury of four to compete for cash awards to be presented at the George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre on Saturday, April 18. They will also be screened on Friday, April 17, at The Little Theatre in Rochester.

“The stories that have been told are really exciting and they are all unique,” Delaney said.

The films hit upon diverse local and global subjects, such as urban beekeeping in Rochester and the water crisis in South Sudan. They were created by individuals and organizations with filmmaking experience that runs the gamut.

Meagan Dellavilla, of Webster, is a first-time filmmaker. Her film Landed tells the story of a couple who lives in an earthship, also called a passive solar house, in southern Ontario, Canada.

She discovered the earthship while taking an intensive, 14-week documentary filmmaking course in Toronto last summer.

“For filmmakers just starting out, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to submit to a festival,” said Dellavilla, who works in the refugee department for Catholic Family Center. “The Fast Forward Film Festival staff did a great job of creating an inclusive environment and providing so many resources for the filmmakers to work with.”

Nick Neumann, a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, began to seriously pursue filmmaking six months ago. His film Greenovation shines a light on Rochester Greenovation, a volunteer-run store on East Main Street in Rochester that sells upcycled, repurposed and “green” wares.

“I stumbled upon the store and thought it was the coolest thing ever,” said Neumann. “I love that the store is run by volunteers who love what they do. While it’s important to create new things, it’s also really important to exhibit what already exists.”

April Lynn Luehmann, director of the Get Real! Science & Science STARS program at East High School, guided her students in the creation of Changes, the only music video among the 12 selected films.

“The team was really excited to advocate for the better care of our world,” said Luehmann about the film with lyrics by East High senior Michael Ramsey.

The entire Science & Science STARS program — which is supported by the University of Rochester’s Warner Graduate School of Education and aims to nurture and amplify urban youth voices through film — will be attending both nights of the film festival, with tickets and transportation provided by Lori’s Natural Foods in Henrietta.

“This festival has had so much passion from the beginning,” said Delaney about businesses, organizations and individuals that have supported the festival and its filmmakers in its inaugural year. “We had a minimal budget and this has been a true grassroots, community-organized event.”

The film festival was founded by Dr. Andrew Stern, of Rochester, as an effort of the Lost Bird Project, of which he is a co-founder. The project uses public art to raise awareness of environmental ideals and has produced a book and a film about its exhibition of sculptures of extinct birds.

Judges for the film festival were Jack Garner, who writes about film for the Democrat and Chronicle; Deborah Dickson, Academy Award nominee; Todd McGrain, independent filmmaker and The Lost Bird Project co-founder and winner of the 2014 Audubon Award for Art Inspiring Conservation; and Enid Cardinal, RIT’s Senior Sustainability Advisor to the President.

Caurie Putnam is a Rochester-area freelance writer.