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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, March 9, 2014
A red carpet swarmed with famous actors, celebrities, glamorous gowns, tuxedos, photographers, Ryan Seacrest, cameras, lights, Paris, Toronto, Sundance. When people think of film festivals, these are some of the images that come to mind. Before working behind the scenes for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, I – as many others – imagined film festivals were about one thing above all, the razzle-dazzle.
Yet, as I delved deeper into the planning and production aspects of festivals through interviews with experts and research in class, I learned ‘glamour’ is merely a tip-of-the-iceberg factor in any film festival. Scholars, critics, and festival programmers agree the purpose of film festivals is above all to provide a platform for intelligent dialogue about important issues.
More than for entertainment purposes, films screened at festivals convey important and/or controversial messages that spark discourse. The difference between watching a film at home versus watching one at a festival is that at home there is no interaction with the film. The message ends with the credits and no other points of view are explored. At a festival, the audience and guests allow for necessary conversation.
George Stoney, a social justice filmmaker, once said, “I’m not happy until my media lead to face to face interaction.” This is the sort of engagement film festivals offer. It is a perfect place for the birth of new ideas, solutions, and activism.