A Beginner's Guide to FLEFF

By Grace Collins '22, March 23, 2021
Is FLEFF 2021 your first film festival? Mine, too!

If you’ve been keeping up with the FLEFF Voices blogs, then you’ve probably read about how the virtual format of FLEFF 2021 makes the film festival experience so much more accessible to people worldwide. With no geographical boundaries and fewer financial barriers, anybody anywhere can join in on the virtual programming or get together with friends for a film screening. 

This also means that a lot of people are getting to attend a film festival for the very first time (myself included!). As someone without a film background who was lucky enough to get the opportunity to work with FLEFF, I definitely had some nerves going into my first event. 

If this is your first time attending a film festival, it can be hard to know what to expect or how it all works. Below are my plans for how I’ll be taking in all that FLEFF has to offer this year, along with a few tips I’ve collected through the weeks leading up to the festival!

When interviewing featured guest and filmmaker Helen De Michiel, she shared a piece of wisdom that I’ll be carrying with me throughout the festival — “Pick something completely unknown to you, and just show up. It could be life-changing.”

I’d suggest that all FLEFF festivalgoers, whether first-timers or veterans, heed this advice as well. I know that I personally get a little nervous at the idea of hopping onto a Zoom call full of experts on a topic that I don’t know anything about. Will everything they say go right over my head? What if my questions make me sound dumb? 

I’m excited to take this opportunity to ignore all the what-ifs and step way outside of my comfort zone. I plan to go beyond taking notes and asking questions, and use the next three weeks to make connections and look for common threads between films I see and events I attend. Maybe I’ll send a chat to someone at an event, or think back to something I learned in a talkback when I’m writing a paper for a class later this semester. The possibilities are endless. 

If you’re itching to start planning your FLEFF immersion, here’s what I would recommend:

  • Explore the schedule

There’s so much programming at FLEFF that it can be overwhelming trying to take it all in! From talkbacks to screenings to virtual media exhibitions, exciting new opportunities await you every day and it can be hard to pick and choose. There are two platforms you’ll want to get familiar with as you set up your FLEFF schedule: 

  • Eventive is home to all of the film programming and talkback scheduling. Each week features seven different films that are available for those seven days only, so make sure you don’t miss any of the titles that interest you! In the description of each film, you’ll also find the details for the film talkback - a panel or roundtable discussion with filmmakers, media scholars, and industry experts. 
  • The FLEFF website is home to all of the event programming, as well as ENTANGLED INFILTRATIONS, FLEFF’s online media exhibition. You can also find Zoom registration links and information about ticketing! 
  • Follow along with the FLEFF Voices staff on social media!

The blogging staff behind FLEFF Voices has launched an Instagram account! You can follow along as we share weekly schedules, event recaps, and take you behind the scenes of a day in the life of a FLEFF staffer. 

Whether FLEFF 2021 will be your very first film festival or your fiftieth, we can’t wait to see you there!