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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Nnebundo Obi at 11:34PM

Blog posting written by Nnebundo A. Obi, FLEFF Intern, South Setauket NY.

Ed’s journey to FLEFF began in South Orange, New Jersey, an affluent upper middle-class neighborhood. He was born on Long Island but moved to South Orange where he spent most of his childhood. Ed describes his town as "a place that everybody moves to from all over, it’s a little bit like Ithaca". Ed’s school district is shared with the adjacent town of Maplewood, the district has funding for numerous art related programs. This is where  Ed began to hone his craft in media and film. His interests, particularly in film was sparked by his father who introduced Ed to different types of films while he was growing up.

Starting out by making simple YouTube videos in middle school, Ed gradually progressed to making short films in high school. Fortunately, his high school offered opportunities to take filmmaking and tv classes. One of Ed’s teachers submitted several of his films to several different short film competitions. At the age of sixteen, one of his films “Love Triangle” won the Montclair Film Festival. It was screened in front of a live audience. The film departed from the traditional depiction of a love triangle. One of the film’s protagonist witnesses his crush fall in love with a girl in their class. The film won because it challenged heteronormative depictions of love triangles. In retrospect, Ed said that he was not really challenging anything, he just wanted to break free from the typical story.

With his passion for storytelling, filmmaking and media, he initially came to IC as a film major, but he realized that he needed a framework to ground his creative works. He switched his major to philosophy. According to Ed, “the manner of critical and analytical thinking is what drew me to philosophy and influences the way I approach things I am passionate about”.

 One of his many interests is the Passion Project, a multimedia online publication that deals with contemporary youth media and relevant areas. He describes the Passion Project as “forward thinking and progressively minded in terms of its focus on youth media, topics that matter to college aged students”. According to Ed, its content is held together by “a unified visual aesthetic consisting of specific colours, photography and creative elements.” Passion Project does not just focus on media-related issues, but also strives to publish written pieces that facilitate discussions and greater awareness to the nuances of people’s lived experiences.

I remember reading a Passion Project piece written by Avery Alexander in 2018. She wrote about how her identities as a plus-sized, POC, female cosplayer impacted her experiences in the larger online and offline cosplay community. I found her piece interesting because it illustrates how her identities intersected to create a unique experience that speaks to larger inequalities in society. Ed enjoyed Alexander’s story because it intersects with his some of his interest in media and pop culture. He said Avery’s work “had a specific angle that incorporates broader discussions about nerd culture and one individual’s unique experiences”. In addition to his work with Passion Project, he also runs a podcast program with his best friend, Segaro Bozart called “Loosely Defined”. Ed has also written for Buzzsaw magazine and the Ithacan newspaper continues to seek opportunities to write about film, media, and art.

Ed is no stranger to FLEFF. During his freshman year, he was a FLEFF fellow and participated in some of the events and film screenings. As a senior and a FLEFF blogger, Ed is excited to gain more insight into the inner workings of FLEFF. He says “I felt like a guest before and now I feel like an insider. It feels good to be able to connect names like Dr. Saunders and Dr. Barbara Adams to work that makes FLEFF happen”. His most fond memory from his first FLEFF experience was witnessing “the busy and energetic ambiance of the packed theater houses and seeing people experiencing and reacting to the viewing together”.

Ed’s relationship and passion for film, art, and storytelling has influenced his involvement in the Passion Project, Buzzsaw magazine and many more creative outlets. All his interests, passions and involvement brought him back to FLEFF. This is a small glimpse into the creative ideas blossoming in Ed’s head.

 



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