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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 Meagan McGinnes at 3:43PM   |  Add a comment
cotton road- laura kissel

How can the techniques behind shooting film mold the way the audience interprets the film’s intended message? If local spaces are microtopias, then what would the global marketplace be categorized as? These were the main two questions going through my head when watching the film Cotton Road, directed by Ithaca College alumnus Laura Kissel.

The film technique:

The cotton moves; the machinery moves, but the camera is still, like a painting, rather than the rougher shooting seen in many other advocacy films. Kissel explained this was purposeful. She is trying to invite her audience to engage more deeply. She does not want to tell the audience what to think. When you visit a museum you are given the time to interpret the visual. The purpose behind these shots, and their lingering, gives room for this same type of reflection and deeper thought.

The big picture:

Microtopias encompass the idea of sustainability. Yet, I believe the ideals and basis of capitalism will never fit into this same sustainable value because capitalism relies on the idea of surplus. Resources and labor are exploited, not given their actual value or worth, allowing for more money to be made from these products. The image burned into my mind from this film is one of a room full of young Chinese women with coats on diligently working on sewing machines. And it is fact they are not making the minimum wage we see in the United States. Maybe the global marketplace, as is now, would then be categorized as a macro-dystopia? Can a capitalistic society ever be reshaped to fit the sustainable mindset of microtopias? What do you think?

"Is it good; is it bad? I don't know, but we are part of it," said Kissel on consumerism and the complexities of the global marketplace.


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