Media Ithaca was formed as an outgrowth of an Upstate Media Conference held in Ithaca in the Spring 1987. It was formed initially as a formalized way for people to gather and look at work, but early activity was sporadic.
NYSCA then supported the position of Coordinator of Central New York Programmers Group, an alliance of upstate college and media center programmers. The group has met annually since 1986 to plan tours of video and filmmakers. John Efroymson became the Coordinator in January 1988; the office was housed at Ithaca College.
Efroymson was also interested in helping to get Media Ithaca off the ground; he helped with the formation of a board, which included representatives of Ithaca College and Cornell University. Efroymson was personally involved in community organizing, and produced a cable access series, with weekly programs.
Media Ithaca was initially a program of Cornell Cinema in 1988; it received support from the New York State Council and also services and office space from Ithaca College School of Communications.
The goal of Media Ithaca was to encourage independent media work, to devise cooperative programs with Ithaca College and Cornell University to provide more access to resources for the community, and to arrange gatherings for local producers and makers.
Media Ithaca is a group of producers, academics and community members who meet in a forum for discussion and advocacy. The Ithaca region has a large group of people involved in various aspects of media - teachers, students, writers and programmers from the universities and also from the community. Media Ithaca also assists local producers working with public access cable.
In 1992 Media Ithaca, with Graham Leggatt as Coordinator, offered two major programs. They provided five small grants to regional makers. This program was begun in 1991. Media Ithaca, in cooperation with Greg Bowman, facilitator of the Community Access Station, organized the summer Film and Video Festival. The Festival was begun in 1990. Media Ithaca also offered workshops. Mona Jimenez, Director of the Media Center at Visual Studies Workshop, offered a workshop on Amiga computers. In cooperation with Cornell Cinema, Media Ithaca also hosted a series of screenings and discussions by Cheryl Dunye, Craig Baldwin and Wilhelm Hein. Media Ithaca Coordinator Graham Leggat was also very active in organizing the Upstate Media Festival held at Syracuse University in April 1993.
Graham Leggat left CNYPG activities in July 1994. The Media Ithaca Regrant program was then administered by Cornell Cinema. Media Ithaca was disbanded in 1994.
Richard Herskowitz, Director, Cornell Cinema Squealer April/May 1988
Graham Leggat, Coordinator Media Ithaca. The State of Upstate 1993.
Mary Fessenden, Director Cornell Cinema, The State of Upstate 1995