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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Matthew Reis at 12:26AM   |  1 comment
"Mississippi Damned" Production Photo

Blog was written by Matthew R. Reis, Cinema & Photography Major with an Art History Minor, '13, FLEFF intern, Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

Be sure to look below for important information regarding "Mississippi Damned."

MR: So when will you be arriving for FLEFF?

TM: I’m coming in late on Thursday night.

MR: I know are on the panel “How to Get Your Break,” on Friday, April 15, but can you tell the people who read this blog what other events will you be a part of during FLEFF week?

TM: I have 2 screenings. After the panel that night I’m showing “Mississippi Damned.” The next day (Saturday) I have another screening of Mississippi Damned and that’s it.

MR: You went to USC for your masters in film, but what did you do for your bachelor’s degree. Was it film related at all? Did you even know you wanted to make films at that time?

TM: Not at all I did not have a clue. I went into my undergrad program as a political science and psych major with the intention of going to law school. So [in] my last year I watched “Boys Don’t Cry” directed by Kimberly Pierce and then I watched “Love & Basketball” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Those two films kind of changed my life in a way. Law was not really a passion, at all, for me. It was more of a “job security” thing and making films didn’t seem like a possibility. You know, growing up in [the small town of] Tupelo, Mississippi nobody makes films. So I ended up doing some research on both of the [aforementioned] female directors, where they went to school and I kind of said, “What the hell lemme give it a shot.” [At the time] my parents were wondering how film translated into a financial gaining field and I’m (laughs) still trying to work on that. I’m like lemme get back to you on that one.

I applied to graduate film school and I got into USC. Since I didn’t have a passion for law I figured if I was going to go further into debt I might as well do it for something I loved you know? And film was something I always had a connection to, but I just never knew how to make [a film.] I would diligently watch anything I could get my hands on you know? It mostly started with horror films that I watched with my mom. Then I kind of transitioned into more serious films with my older sister. So I decided that I would just step out on faith and go to LA.

MR: Being that you’re from a small town was there a cinema? Or were the movies you watched mostly shown on TV?

TM: I would go to the movies every once in a while, especially once I got a car in high school. But mostly I connected to films through TV and movie rentals. The only movies of course that were coming to the theaters were mainstream movies. So we (Tina and family) would go to the rental store and peruse the aisles and anything that seemed interesting not even knowing if it was independent or not, we’d rent it and give it a shot. That’s basically how I kind of consumed film and TV during that time. It was also a way for me to connect, yeah connect, with the outside world.

Thanks Tina! Have a safe trip to Ithaca. I can't wait to meet you in person.

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Don't miss out. Go see "Mississippi Damned" on:

Friday April 15, 7:10
Saturday April 16, 4:10

at Cinemapolis in Downtown Ithaca

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