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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 Caroline Bissaillon at 3:35PM

Posted by Caroline Bissaillon, Documentary Studies and Production '21, minors in Art and Environmental Studies, Great Barrington, MA

The festival’s 2020 theme INFILTRATIONS can be defined by physical acts of infiltrating, but may also be expanded philosophically. How does media infiltrate pre-existing thoughts, ideas, and beliefs? 

After a particularly tense screening at FLEFF last year I stayed for the discussion afterward. The audience was ardent from the film’s subject matter, and opinions began to fly around the room as people took their turn with the microphone. 

The lively post-screening discussion proved that the rolling of the credits was not the end of the film, nor was the final question and answer the end of the screening. My mind was entangled in the screening experience for quite some time after the week at Cinemopolis was over. The entire presentation of that film successfully penetrated my psyche and lingered in conversations surrounding FLEFF.

Our interactions with media further understandings of the content, theory, and subject being presented. It is not enough to observe, we must engage with media. 

Liz Miller, a trans-media artist, exhibited her project The Shore Line at the 2018 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, INVISIBLE GEOGRAPHIES. The project is an online interface that explores the past, present, and future of coastal areas through the lens of the imminent threat of sea-level rise. This year Miller will demonstrate her new project Swampscapes, which uses virtual reality to dive into the endangered Florida everglades. 

Miller combines multi-media and documentary shorts to incorporate the senses into an interactive platform. Swampscapes connects humans to the swamp by infiltrating the eco-system through virtual reality. 

Through many devices, Miller demonstrates interactive activism. Her platforms open the gateway for meaningful dialogue and personal experience with ecological phenomena. 

The festival is the event where a community gathers, but the life of a film or new media piece extends beyond the meeting place where people absorb it. The success of the piece may extend beyond the time it is shown by how it stimulates discourse, contestation, and debate provoked by the state of our social consciousness.


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