FLEFF Takeaways

By Queline Meadows, April 13, 2021
Reflecting on this year's festival.

Illustration of a laptop on a desk with a coffee mug and cactus

Blog posting written by Queline Meadows, Culture and Communication with minors in French and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies, ’23, FLEFF Intern, Buffalo, New York.

I am still sitting at my desk in Buffalo, New York.

I wrote about this desk in my very first blog back in February. Not much has changed. I cleaned it the other day after the talkback for Charlatan gave me an unexpected burst of productivity. Otherwise, it’s the exact same.

The only difference is me. FLEFF reset, recharged, and reconfigured me in a way that even my incredibly optimistic early blogs could not have predicted.

In the first week, I dove into the Entangled Infiltrations new media exhibition. At the launch event, I learned about Going Viral, which combines the voices of public health experts and the faces of public figures into new videos to combat the spread of misinformation.

The goal of the project is to get people to share those videos. While participation is certainly a central part of new media, I had never before considered that this participation could expand beyond the project.

FLEFF’s new media pushed the boundaries of what this already daring form can look like.

In the second week, I attended the book launch for Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism by Dr. Terri Francis. In the middle of the event, she mentioned that she makes video essays.

My mind started racing. Anyone who knows me knows that I love videographic criticism. Close readers may have noticed this obsession slip into a couple of my blogs already.

I raised my digital hand and asked Dr. Francis how making video essays affects her written work. She said that it helps her look at films differently, reshaping them to find new perspectives.

I closed my laptop at the end feeling energized about the endless possibilities of video essays.

In the third week, I watched the film Rouge or, in English, Red Soil. I learned from the press kit that the story of the film is inspired by real events, so I was excited to watch.

The film does not draw from a single event, instead exposing a global problem of corporate greed and environmental carelessness. As the credits rolled, I wondered what else was happening in the world that I didn’t know about.

This was a common experience after many film screenings and events.

At the end of every FLEFF roundtable or talkback, festival guests and attendees would be invited to share their takeaways. My takeaways were often in the form of quotes that I had scribbled in my notebook. 

My final takeaway from FLEFF is this simple realization: I don’t know anything, and that’s okay.

I have spent the past three weeks having my brain turned inside out by the scholars, filmmakers, and artists at FLEFF. I’ve processed an abundance of new information and ideas.

Even if I don’t know anything right now, that won’t stop me from trying to learn all I can.