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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 Tianhong Yang at 4:04PM

Blog posting written by Tianhong Yang, Environmental Sciences, ’18, FLEFF Blogger, Hangzhou, China

Seith Soulstein, Workshop on the Harry Potter Alliance

Although I’ve learned lot about the HPA, I was glad to meet Seith Soulstein for the second time. The HPA believes in the power of story-telling to inspire social change. Fans are taking active roles in improving local communities through collaborative actions. For example, the Stillwater Hippogriffs is a high school chapter founded in Fall 2015. Volunteers have raised money to build an aquaduct in the Dominican Republic and to pack food for people in Haiti on the trip, Feed My Starving Children. I often try to puzzle out ways to protect the environment, and I felt hopeful after hearing the story of the HPA. I believe that we could not solve environmental issues simply by government regulations. Instead, we should encourage grassroots participation through fandom in local scales.


I attended three sessions of FLEFF forum and very much enjoyed the cross-disciplinary conversations exploring landscapes as natural and artificial, reverence and nostalgia, built and imagined. I was surprised by the diversity of the guests and their research projects. Although each project represented one field, all projects were interconnected in terms of making a better world. I appreciated Prof. Cynthia Henderson’s theater project, created via the practice of Theater of the Oppressed. Prof. Cynthia pointed out that projects are not about majority thinking but about the actual need of the people.  

Sadie Thompson w/live music

Sadie Thompson is a young prostitute who arrives at Pago Pago to start a new life. On the island, she encounters Davidson, a missionary, who tricks her into telling him about her past in San Francisco and wants to send her back to the US. It was my first time to watch a silent film. I tried to be open-minded for the film’s pacing, acting styles, and costumes were all outside of my frames of reference. Nevertheless, I appreciated such opportunity for me to embrace silent films with live music.  

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