FLEFF: A Global Experience

By Lou Baron, April 13, 2021
One blogger reflects on the places she's traveled because of FLEFF.

Blog Posting by Lou Baron, Culture and Communication ‘23, minors in Spanish and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies.

I haven’t boarded an airplane in over a year. 

Yet, in the last three weeks, I traveled around the world.

Where to?

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1. The Home Office of a South African Filmmaker

Before FLEFF began, I interviewed director, editor and producer Catherine Meyburgh. While my full profile focused on her experience making the documentary Dying for Gold, Meyburgh also provided insight on how she became a storyteller in the first place. 

Growing up in Apartheid South Africa, storytelling was a necessity.

She reflected that, “There’s a time when you naturally become a storyteller...because news needs to be out there.”

Meyburgh’s perspective cracked open a window into life in Johannesburg. 

Movie Poster for The People vs. Agent Orange

2. Forests from Oregon to Vietnam

The People vs. Agent Orange transported me to the forests of Oregon and Vietnam, ravaged by chemical warfare.

Sweeping aerial shots of Vietnam portrayed a devastated landscape.

A man working in the mountains of Oregon filmed himself coughing up blood. That image will forever stain my mind.

3. An Infiltrated Nicaraguan Newsroom

With a click, I looked around the newsroom of Confidencial, a Nicaraguan newspaper.

Ransacked.

Political cartoonist Pedro X. Molina used to work in that very room. Now, Nicaraguan soldiers threaten the remaining staff. Molina’s experiences reminded me that freedom of the press is not to be taken for granted.

Movie Poster for La Idea de Un Lago

4. The Middle of a Lake in Argentina

A bright green car floats through a lake, happily waving its windshield wipers. A young girl named Inés laughs and waves back.

Although that was one of the most surreal moments of La Idea de Un Lago, the lake in Argentina felt tangible

I could have been swimming alongside her.

5. The Home of a Korean-Cuban Family

Joseph Juhn abandoned his life as a corporate lawyer to make a documentary about a man named Jeronimo

As Juhn spoke at the talkback for the film, his adventurous spirit was evident. It’s that adventurous spirit that took Juhn from Cuba to Korea, following the story of Jeronimo’s life and heritage.

Through letters, pictures and home videos, I immersed myself in generations of Korean-Cuban culture.

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Seven countries.

Five continents.

In this blog alone!

FLEFF allowed me to cross these global borders, all from the comfort of my own room.