Contributed by Melissa Gattine on 01/04/2013
Patricia Zimmermann, professor of screen studies and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), delivered two invited lectures in Hong Kong in late November as part of a US State Department initiative to foster cultural exchange and understanding.
On November 29, Zimmermann presented a lecture entitled “The Open Space Project: Towards a Collaborative and Relational Theory and Practice of Transmedia Documentary” in the communications school at Hong Kong Baptist University for Ph.D. students and faculty. Showcasing US-based transmedia projects exhibited in previous Finger Lake Environmental Film Festivals at Ithaca College, her talk theorized how these works simultaneously continue documentary legacy formations and also offer new shifts and recalibrations that significantly alter the documentary project.
On November 30, she presented a lecture entitled “The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival: New Ecologies of New Media” at the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Hong Kong. This talk focused on how FLEFF has moved beyond film into a multi-disciplinary approach that explores the new ecologies of media and arts practices migrating between analog, digital, and embodied as a way to expand into a more complex notion of the environment. Open space transmedia projects previously programmed for FLEFF were shown as examples of how new media projects consider the environment in new and different ways, fostering participation and critical thinking.
Zimmermann also engaged in faculty and student dialogues at both universities about FLEFF, new media, and emerging forms of documentary that challenges and rewrites legacy strategies.
Her work in Hong Kong was supported by the US State Department. The US State Department named Zimmermann one of 25 film envoys in 2011 as part of the American Film Showcase, a joint project between the State Department and the University of Southern California funded by appropriations from the Congress of the United States.