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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Dr. Auyash, the Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Health Promotion and Physical Education (HSHP) department at Ithaca College, sees FLEFF as far more than a festival – because in reality it is so much more than a festival.
“One of the things I love about FLEFF is that it’s not just about film,” said Dr. Auyash. “It’s websites, activism, guest speakers, music; even parties downtown where students can meet filmmakers, activists, distributors just to talk about what life is like outside of our narrow professional areas.”
This year, like they have in the past, HSHP is partnering with FLEFF. Along with the FLEFF mini-course Dr. Auyash is teaching, HSHP also hosts a Global Citizens Speaker Series during FLEFF week. They bring the speaker and FLEFF provides the promotion.
Last year in his International Scholarly Conversation course, HSHP brought in Dominica Dipio, a Fulbright Scholar, from Kennesaw State University and Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. She spoke at Ithaca College but also screened her film “Crafting the Bamasaba” at FLEFF.
One of Dr. Auyash’s favorite programs of FLEFF is the Festival Graduate Fellowship, which, according to FLEFF, “brings outstanding graduate students of color enrolled in Ph.D. programs to campus during the festival to immerse in screenings, lectures, workshops, master classes, concerts, and events within an engaging, interdisciplinary, think-tank environment.”
When Dr. Auyash showed the film “Ladies of the Gridiron,” in his class last year, the Festival Graduate Fellows engaged in a discussion with Ithaca College students about the film. “That’s one thing I love about FLEFF,” said Dr. Auyash. “It generates discussion.”
Students are able to encounter experiences they wouldn’t find elsewhere at FLEFF. “For some of them it’s the first time they’ve ever seen a subtitled movie.” Last year, Dr. Auyash’s students attended a screening of Buster Keaton and students were blown away.
They couldn’t believe that he did his own stunts. After the screening, students wanted to see more silent films. For Dr. Auyash this is why students should attend FLEFF. “It’s just a great opportunity for this campus.”
This year’s theme of dissonance is intriguing for Dr. Auyash because it forces a conversation about issues across the board. Dr. Auyash explains, for example, “not everybody agrees on what human rights is. That’s why dissonance occurs. Because one person’s human rights activist is another person’s terrorist.”
As words of wisdom for this years festival goers, Dr. Auyash recommends that students “Go to as many things as you possibly can. Go to the movies where the speakers are.”
“Even if I wasn’t chair I would still want to participate and get my department to work on those things,” says Dr. Auyash. “I care about it because I want students to get as much as possible out of their college education.”