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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 Michael Mulvey at 1:32PM
Mulvey: Democracy upside down

By Michael Mulvey. Michael is a class of 2019 Politics major, and member of IC’s Honors Program. He studies political action and social movements. Michael was born and raised in New York City.

My internship as a FLEFF 2018 blogger comprises part of an IC Honors seminar course titled: Film Festivals and Blogging. Dr. Patricia R. Zimmermann, professor of Screen Studies at IC's Park School of Communications teaches HONORS 20051 01. Dr. Zimmermann is also co-director of FLEFF. The course includes readings, lectures and discussions covering the theory, history and operations of film festivals as critical nodal points in the entertainment and arts industries. The other component of this advanced Honors seminar immerses students into the festival as bloggers, and ambassadors for FLEFF.

My path to blogging comes through my interest in how independent media can help frame social movements. Social activism is in my blood. I’m descended from three generations of labor activists. The Mulveys have been organizing workers to collectively bargain since the 1880’s. My paternal great grandfather, whose name I bear, founded the International Union of Operating Engineers in 1896 with ten other men.

I went to work for the International Union of Operating Engineers at age 17. The union’s apprenticeship-training program financed my three-year technical education. Their apprentice program also taught organizing, collective bargaining and some labor history. I spent 25 years as an operating engineer, organizer, shop steward, and negotiation representative for the I.U.O.E. in New York City. I ran facilities like the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and the CBS and Capitol Cities/ABC broadcast centers in Manhattan.

I am also a professional musician and visual artist. I began studying independent film in 1986 while working as a projectionist for The Speed of Light Show. Speed of Light was a multi-media company mentored by Joshua White, legendary lighting designer from the Fillmore East. My appreciation of independent film grew through my research as Director of Speed of Light’s Film Department. In that capacity I was always searching for innovative, visually stunning or avant-guard films to add to our resource list. I scoured NYC’s extensive independent film collections housed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Filmmaker’s Coop and the New York Public Library’s Donnell Media Center, which closed in 2008. Blogging for FLEFF re-engages my love for the medium.

At IC, I study how to help build effective movements, which can advance the cause of environmental and social justice. The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival dovetails with my interests. It also reflects my ethics. FLEFF brings together people concerned with environmental justice, independent media, education and social-engagement. Blogging for FLEFF brings together my commitment to environmental justice, my intention toward social engagement and my appreciation of independent film. It’s an honor to be part of FLEFF 2018.

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