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SYRACUSE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
OCT. 15, 2009
10 am –2:00 - Meeting/Discussion
Facilitator: Leo Crandall

Attendees:  Colleen Prossner, Jane Winslow, Phil Novak, Leah Shafer, David Hollenback, Owen Shapiro, Patty Zimmerman, Toni Cooke, Leo Crandall, Christine Fawcett

1.    Roundtable review and survey.  Participants reported on the various media programs, projects, presentations and academic profiles at their respective institutions.

Colleen Prossner of Cazenovia College: reviewed the activities at the college.  In addition to academic media presentations Colleen outlined activities at the Theater and its community usage.  She also discussed the media exhibitions at the College Gallery.

Jane Winslow of SUNY Oswego discussed media endeavors at Oswego.  She also mentioned projects she has worked on in the past.  She mentioned the vitality of the 24-hour film competition.  She discussed contacts on campus in other departments. Oswego has a local community based film exhibition group and she serves on the board of directors. .

Phil Novak of LeMoyne College began by outlining the academic media offerings.  Additionally he discussed collaborations with the Syracuse International Film Festival.  These collaborations included hosting visiting film makers, working with local high schools on an essay contest, working with music departments at local high schools and thematic screenings at the College-the festival “Sidebar” screenings.

Leah Shafer of Hobart William Smith outlined the film studies program in the Media and Society Program, as well as in other Departments, such as English, Romance Languages, and International Studies.  She discussed the new media interaction at the college and the Finger Lakes Film Festival. Primarily faculty members at Hobart William Smith generate Finger Lakes Film Festival.

David Hollenback of SUNY Cortland told the group that SUNY Cortland constructing a screening room at the college. He discussed acting as a film producer on campus.  Regarding production he said that the work was mainly documentary and animation projects.  There is a lot of production interest on campus. David is working to expand the film studies program.  He discussed the thematic film festivals on campus.  He discussed internships placement in Hollywood and NYC.

Owen Shapiro outlined the film program at Syracuse University and the many programs of Syracuse International Film and Video Festival.  He mentioned the media programs both in the Transmedia Department and in the Newhouse School.  He briefly discussed the many collaborations generated by the Syracuse International Film Festival.  The festival also programs thematically. 

Patty Zimmerman of Ithaca College discussed her involvement in the Central New York Programmers groups.  She reviewed the history and programs of that group.  She discussed initiatives at the college and at the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival.  She also discussed how film presentation works in her academic setting. 

Toni Cooke of Onondaga Community College reviewed the Arts Across Campus programming and discussed collaborations with SIFF. 

2.  Open Discussion.

Owen Shapiro posed the question as to whether the groups would benefit from a CNY film festival?  The discussion explored ways that this might happen.  Owen stressed the importance of each organization maintaining its own identity. The mutual benefits were discussed. The discussion explored regional participation and how it might be accomplished in a programmatically collaborative way.

Other questions posed included: What would be the viability of a film festival event shared among the colleges and universities?  What possible collaborations could occur? 

This discussion ended stating the benefits of CNY festivals group.  The discussion included how such a group might collaborate. The group noted the difference between festival programming and university programming.
 
There was strong agreement that convening itself is extremely important and beneficial.  The groups explored the most efficacious way to establish and continue communication.  Everyone stressed the need and value of information sharing.  Potential benefits articulated were shared audiences and additional collaborations.

Everyone agreed on the fundamental importance of audience development, especially in the academic setting.  The key to this development rests with educating the educators.  This discussion dovetailed with the idea of visiting filmmakers and how important it is to connect them with the academic experience. 

Better communication could also result in more informed programming.  Several presenters mentioned that they felt they programmed in a vacuum.

Other benefits of establishing a communication system included sharing resources in general and the value of block booking in particular. It was agreed that these ideas would contribute to economic development through the arts, which is a vitally important issue. 

The idea of shared resources brought up the topic of shared expertise. 
Owen Shapiro outlined the Syracuse International Film Festival DVD distribution process.  The group was enthusiastic about the possibility of taking on DVD distribution as a consortium.

Patty Zimmerman related an audience development strategy used by a South American Film Festival.  The festival created a certificate program wherein students viewing films get a ticket punched.  These certificates are valuable resume items for students and the participation is highly valued.  There is a cocktail party and presentation ceremony for certificate recipients. It is an effective means of professional recognition.  A project of this nature could be managed by this consortium and could be a great collaborative project to enhance local visibility of media presentation.

The group discussed IT needs to establish this web based directory.
Leah Shafer volunteered to work with Leo Crandall to set up the initial web presence.

The groups articulated a number of items as important next steps:

To establish an identity and title for group
To codify the interest and direction.
To create a web presence.  
To establish a directory of participants.
To make available a profile of each participating organization
To schedule regular meetings, every two months.

The group agreed to meet in early December at Cazenovia College. Details to be worked out.

Respectfully submitted
Leo Crandall

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