7 months ago, I was in my hometown bedroom dealing with the end of my first fully virtual semester while trying to keep up with the flood of emails students receive daily.
For once I had decided to actually look through an email from one of my professors, Dr. Zimmerman, about an opportunity to an internship for a festival that she heads. While the experience was initially intriguing, looking back I do not think I completely knew what I was getting myself into.
Although I have never experienced an in-person festival and understand that festivals going virtual has been more than a challenge, from a newbie's perspective FLEFF ran incredibly smoothly.
The events that I attended were eye-opening and rather amusing. Each and every panelist brought something new to the “virtual” table, whether that was a different perspective or a different personality.
The event that sparked the unexpected shock and new ideas for the audience and myself was the F2F with Dr. Horsely. Her unapologetic behavior and unconcernedness while talking about pop culture and black sexuality was beyond beautiful and enlightening, especially as a black viewer.
“Theatre in the Time of Covid” will forever go down as my favorite event due to the positivity and insight into the theatre during this trying time. Jokes were flying through the zoom conversation and smiles were plastered on the screen.
Even the panel of healthcare workers brought new information to light for me. Hearing about REACH and the work that the people do there with people that face misconceptions, and how they try to have a stigma-free workplace.
FLEFF has shown me that film festivals can stem beyond just films. There is so much that can be learned from them when you submerge yourself into the festival and are truly engaged.
My overall takeaways can be summed up by FLEFF was everything and more. My expectations were met and exceeded. And from some of the speakers and films, I am walking away with new ideologies and a new mindset.
It truly has taken me out of my egocentric point of view, and I am grateful for that impact.