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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 Kathryn Beaule at 7:37PM
Chelsea Wessels

Blog posting by Katie Beaule, Communication Management and Design '16, FLEFF Blogger, Windsor, CT


If one person has experienced different habitats, it’s Chelsea Wessels, the Professor in charge of this years FLEFF Junior Fellows program.  Before landing at Ithaca College, Wessels received her PhD in Film Studies at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland. Her adventure to a different country was driven by her interest in the university’s PhD program, one that was heavily focused on research.


Coming from the small town of Bellingham, Washington, Wessels explained that one of the major adjustments for her in Scotland was being exposed to the global community at St. Andrew’s. Unlike Bellingham, which has a very local atmosphere, St. Andrew’s is a microcosm of people from all over the world.


After her time spent in Scotland, Wessels then returned to the States and joined the Park School of Communication’s staff as a lecturer in the Media Arts Department. This semester, she is also working at Cornell University where she teaches an introductory film course and a seminar on global westerns.


“Working at Ithaca and Cornell has given me a cross-section of the community, which I like,” Wessels explained. She has enjoyed exploring Ithaca's natural beauty and learning about the town's values surrounding topics such as sustainability and buying local. 


As FLEFF week approaches and Wessels is preparing for her first FLEFF experience, she tries to provide her own understanding of this year’s theme, HABITATS.


“What I like about FLEFF is that they are very broad in their definition of environments. So when I think about habitats, I do think about it in terms of FLEFF. I think about it terms of both spaces of occupation, in terms of homes and communities, and also more broadly in terms of ecological habitats”.


Wessels will be communicating this year's theme and its goals to the 75 students who are enrolled in her FLEFF Junior Fellows mini course. As Junior Fellows, students will receive a guided immersion experience into FLEFF as well as a background into the histories and practices of festivals. “The goal of the course is to teach the fellows how they can engage with the festival beyond just showing up to a couple of films,” says Wessels.


On March 1st, Wessels will also be leading a FLEFF discussion on The Girl Walks Home Alone at Midnight. “I’m really excited,” she says about the film’s western and feminist focus. “It has my perfect combination of research interests”.


As Wessels adapts to her new Ithaca habitat, she eagerly awaits the festival and the large array of global films that it will include. Join her from April 6-12th as FLEFF provides film, art, and music that will challenge your own views of HABITATS.


 How would you define HABITATS?

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