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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 Jackie Marusiak at 9:50PM
Courtesy of Karen Rodriguez.

Blog post written by Jackie Marusiak, Documentary Studies and Production ‘21, FLEFF Intern.


How often do we look past the people sitting right beside us? While focused on the far-away, we might miss what’s happening in our local communities.


FLEFF celebrates and recognizes our local filmmakers and media creators every year at the Upstate Filmmaker’s Showcase.


A documentary filmmaker and former Ithaca College professor, Karen Rodriguez pitched the idea of the Upstate Filmmaker’s Showcase as a part of FLEFF over eight years ago. The showcase features work and discussion with media creators in the upstate New York region.


“I proposed it just because I knew of a lot of filmmakers who were working locally and it was something I think FLEFF was interested in. We started doing more work with shorts and locally grown filmmakers, as sort of a play on the environmental theme,” Rodriguez said.


Since then, she’s worked with Dr. Patricia Zimmermann, FLEFF’s co-director, to curate the showcase. Over the years, Rodriguez said the showcase has “morphed from the original multi-person screening to being more focused on individual filmmakers.”


This year’s event features Kelly Gallagher and Jacqueline Goss, two professors and filmmakers in the region. They teach at Syracuse University and Bard College, respectively.


Gallagher is an experimental filmmaker and animator, whose pieces explore stories of resistance and politically charged themes. Her animation More Dangerous Than a Thousand Rioters chronicles the life of Lucy Gonzalez, a labor organizer and activist in the mid nineteenth century. With a flashy and sparkly aesthetic, her work dives into complex topics quickly, leaving viewers stunned.


Goss specializes in flash animation, single channel video work, and new media. Her films explore scientific patterns of thought. The Measures investigates the origin of the metric system amid the French Revolution.


Rodriguez says both works fit into the theme of disruptions in different ways. While ‘disruption’ implies something disturbing, that’s not always the case.


“It could potentially have a playful edge, which is what I like about Kelly Gallagher’s work. It’s very playful, and tries to throw light on certain subjects, but in a really fun way. So the idea of disruptions isn’t always a negative,” Rodriguez explained.

In preparation for the showcase, Rodriguez advises FLEFF-goers to “show up and be ready to ask questions and engage with the filmmakers. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.”

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