My FLEFF Plan: Advice for Students

By Queline Meadows, March 23, 2021
If you’re a student going to FLEFF for the first time this year, let me be your guide.

FLEFF:  We Are The Screen

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

The 24th annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival has begun! For some people, this is like coming home. For others like myself, this is a completely new experience.

If you’re a student going to FLEFF for the first time this year, let me be your guide.

Here are five pieces of advice to keep in mind as you plan out your festival experience.

1. Set aside “festival time.”

This is the first festival I have ever attended, virtual or in-person. So, during my preparation as a member of the FLEFF Team, I have been asking festival guests what advice they have for people who are completely new to this world.

Last week, I profiled Professor Michael Richardson, a moderator at one of our weekend talkbacks. He told me that, in a virtual environment, full immersion in a festival becomes difficult.

It helps him to block out a few hours in the day to dedicate to FLEFF. While it may be challenging to fit in multiple consecutive films between classes, I think it will improve your festival experience.

2. Recruit your friends.

For newcomers, going to a Zoom event alone can be scary. That’s why I recommend you bring a friend or two. You won’t be alone, and you’ll have a way to continue the conversation beyond the festival.

If you don’t want to watch a film alone, grab an HDMI cable and your podmates for a collective screening. You can also split the cost of the films between your group.

IC Students: Many of our residence hall lounges have HDMI cables already plugged into the TVs!

3. Seek out free events.

There are so many ways to enjoy FLEFF without spending money.

On Eventive, the We Tell series is free. There are three different programs in the festival, one for each week.

We also have 18 free weekday events on Zoom, from a roundtable with opera singers to a book launch about radical gaming.

I personally recommend using this 100% virtual festival as a way to explore new media.

When I asked Dr. Dale Hudson for advice about how to look at new media, he said, “I always think that it is helpful to think about the particular form and platform that the artists select to prompt us to think about things differently.”

4. Stick around for the afterparty.

Many festival events have afterparties following the main event. These typically have a much more relaxed environment.

At an afterparty, you can connect with scholars, artists, and fellow students.

When I went to the afterparty for the launch of Entangled Infiltrations, we were put into breakout rooms to get to know each other in a smaller, more intimate setting.

We are all tired of breakout rooms as online students. Breakout conversations classmates can often grind to a halt. Trust me when I say that breakout rooms at FLEFF have a lively atmosphere that will draw you in.

5. Need help? Ask a member of the FLEFF Team.

At all of the weekday events, there will be bloggers helping to keep things running smoothly. Just look for FLEFF backgrounds and “FLEFF Team” identification in our display names.

You can also follow the FLEFF Voices Instagram account to learn more about the blogging staff.

Fellow students, let’s use these tips to infiltrate FLEFF with our new perspectives!