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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 Andrew Ronald at 2:55AM   |  4 comments
Andrew Ronald

Blog posting written by Andrew Ronald, Film, Photography & Visual Arts '15, FLEFF Intern, Mahopac, New York

Alright, here's the scene: you are finally about to see the film you have been begging all your friends to sacrifice ten bucks for and go see with you. You get there, overcome with excitement for this movie. You are sitting in the middle of a packed theater with about one hundred other people who are as excited as you for the lights to dim and the previews to start rolling. Suddenly, this unfamiliar, yet bittersweet feeling of claustrophobia overcomes you. And for some reason, you love this feeling. We all do. And that is what we call community.

Community is ubiqituous. The sensation that is shaped through cliques of texting teenagers. The harmonious brotherhood that materializes in college fraternities. The cohesion between families that is created in neighborhood culdesacs. No matter where this dynamic manifests, it's undeniable that community is bliss. 

This was exactly what it felt like during the screening of Oka! at Cinemapolis, a film that jumpstarted the fifteenth anniversary of FLEFF. The theater was saturated with incredible passion, palpable energy and, of course, a feeling of togetherness. Audience members even expressed promising feelings that the amount of energy will only escalade as the festival quickly approaches. 

It's funny to think about how total strangers can be thrown together in a room and generate a better viewing experience than the one that would be created by being alone in a theater. But that's what communities do. It's astonishing to see how the idea of a communitiy can achieve so many rewarding effects. It creates a lingering sense of unity while still promoting diversity. It enhances companionship while preserving identity. It's basically what we would call a microtopia. 

Now here's some questions I will leave you all with:
Do you agree with the sensation of being in a packed theater?
What does it feel like before a film starts for you? 
What are your thoughts on the establishment of a community?

(And in case you didn't get the title, check this out. Save Community!)


Love the title!
I have never thought of a packed theater in the sense of the "bittersweet feeling of claustrophobia." Yet, that is the exact feeling I have never been able to identify in this packed theater scenario. Everyone has a shared investment and shared emotions in what's going on. By pooling all of these things together, a group of what was once strangers have now formed a community; and I think that is wonderful.

Cinema has two parts: the film on the screen and the audience who forms the community AROUND the film. Your post really captures how important that intensity of shared spaces and shared ideas is for films without big advertising budgets. It seems like OKA!--film and experience--was really compelling. What did you think of the film and the director?

I love that you brought up this point of how going to see a film in a crowded theater evokes a sense of community and belongingness. There's nothing like going to a movie and having laughter spread like the 'wave' at a sports game or feeling solace in the fact that everyone is as spooked as you are at a horror film.

I'm happy to see that everyone was able to relate to this feeling! As for my personal thoughts on the film, I would like to share how fond I was of its cinematic style. Oka! was a film that resonated qualities of a documentary, yet the film as a whole was polished to such an extent that upheld a visually stylized and stunning, cinematic experience. The content of the film was, of course, remarkably made accessible and held significant importance, yet as a cinephile, I couldn't help falling in love with the visual appeal of the film. The director was also very informative and I wish I had approached her to learn a little bit more after the screening.

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