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Culture Cafe

Finger Lakes Film Festival honors documentaries, animation and more

The festival, held in Geneva, N.Y., was held for its fifth year in 2012.

By Erin SchererFilm Panel Notetaker / November 27, 2012

A gila trout, a species of trout, is shown underwater. Geneva, N.Y. is often referred to as the lake trout capital of the world.

Gila National Forest Service/AP

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In the past five years, the city of Geneva, New York, has emerged from decades of post-industrial limbo and embraced its status as a college town. Establishments like The Red Dove Tavern, Opus, Joe’s Hots (which was the subject of a documentary in this year’s festival), Finger Lakes Gifts & Lounge, Stomping Grounds, and Microclimate have reanimated a previously soporific (and sometimes ominous) downtown. Many of the owners of these establishments are not lifelong residents, but outsiders who have ended up in Geneva for one reason or another. Others grew up in Geneva and/or the surrounding areas, moved away, and then returned to take advantage of the wide open spaces and low property value. They are passionate about the natural beauty of the area and the opportunities Geneva represents.

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Since its humble beginnings in December 2005, The Film Panel Notetaker has evolved from one blogger to a team of several bloggers, all of whom contribute to our independent film community in one form or another from filmmakers, to producers, to writers, to editors, to marketers, to publicists, they all have unique backgrounds, but one common interest – to be a fly on the wall at film discussions and share with you information they’ve learned that will be helpful in your own film endeavors.

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On the more arts end of this development is Headless Sullivan, an alternative/experimental theater group; Geneva 13, a ‘zine devoted to documenting the peculiarities of the city; The Cracker Factory, an arts space that exhibits the work of artists and hosts the Finger Lakes Film Festival, an annual showcase of short films held every November. While not particularly oriented toward the independent film community, the Finger Lakes Film Festival is perhaps the only film event in Western New York that not only acknowledges but cultivates a DIY Film Culture. Like a lot of people involved with the exhibition of independent film these days, the organizers of the Finger Lakes Film Festival are motivated by nothing except a passion for showcasing locally-oriented short films.

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