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Introducing Microtopias: FLEFF Invades IC

The 15th annual Finger Lakes Film Festival kicked off this past Sunday with a public reading at Buffalo Street Books. The kick-off, centered around the theme of International Relations and Microtopias, featured readings from IC professor Naeem Inayatullah and novelist Sorayya Khan. “I, IR: International Microtopias” took place at Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca’s only cooperatively-owned independent bookstore. The event, held in the back room of the bookstore, was packed with students, community members, and fellow faculty members.

 

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Students, community members, and faculty members listen to novelist Sorayya Khan read an essay during the FLEFF Microtopias Reading "I,IR: International Microtopias" at Buffalo Street Books on Sunday March 25, 2012.

 

Khan, an author who has been published by Penguin and received a Fullbright award, read from an essay entitled “The Sound of Conversation.” The essay traveled to Pakistan with Khan to explore her motivation for writing – to discover and examine the web that connects the pieces of her life together. Further, she spoke of exploring the relationship between the political and the personal – the connections to be made between personal stories and international relations.

 

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Novelist Sorayya Khan reads an essay during the FLEFF Microtopias Reading "I,IR: International Microtopias" at Buffalo Street Books on Sunday March 25, 2012.

 

Inayatullah followed Khan with a reading on autobiographical international relations, a topic that began to interest him after the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan. To him, it was not “an abstract bombing zone,” and he felt he had to write about it personally, while simultaneously addressing world events. He stressed the importance of this way of thinking about international relations for students, stating that it helps "articulate language to describe their scars and wounds” and makes their writing clear and exciting.

 

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Naeem Inayatullah, an Ithaca College politics professor, reads an excerpt during the FLEFF Microtopias Reading "I,IR: International Microtopias" at Buffalo Street Books on Sunday March 25, 2012.

 

“It’s a way of speaking about International Relations that’s sophisticated and subtle,” he explained, while not “eliminating prose.” Following his reading, there was a heated discussion between audience members and the two speakers regarding this theory, as well as questions and conversation on microtopias as a whole.

The reading was only the beginning to this week-long festival, featuring readings, film screenings, performances, and discussions in collaboration with Ithaca College and Cinemapolis. This year, there are over 50 student interns working to promote FLEFF and to learn more about microtopias. The festival is co-directed by Professor Patty Zimmerman and Tom Shevory. There are also two assistants to the intern coordinators, including Kelly McKenna ’12.

“I get to be a liaison between the festival director and interns, so I have the opportunity to mentor interns while also learning from the people that are managing the festival as a whole,” she explains. Seem like a lot of work? There are a lot of perks to the job too. “I get to meet a lot of interesting people, like film makers, video and media artists, and activists,” McKenna, a Culture and Communication major, says.

 




Originally published in Fuse: Introducing Microtopias: FLEFF Invades IC.


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