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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 11:09PM

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


I was fourteen years old the first time a movie blew my mind.


My sophomore year of high school, I’d made up my mind. I would go to NYU, study fiction filmmaking, become a director, and be nominated for an Oscar. In that order.


Then The Theory of Everything came out and completely disrupted my grand, naive plan. Sitting alone in my room one day after school, my world shattered. I’d never experienced a film rooted in truth that so thoroughly entertained and felt artistic and narrative.


I began to seek them out: The Imitation Game, The Danish Girl, The Social Network, Selma. I craved seeing the words “based on a true story” in the opening credits. I researched and analyzed and demolished every film that had been missing from my life. I discovered a whole new genre and let it take over my life. These films tricked me into learning, and I loved it.


Two years later, now committed to Ithaca College, I eagerly anticipated my first steps to completing my degree in documentary filmmaking. I stumbled upon a Vimeo link to a short film, Holy Cow Lisa by Bianca Giaever. Much less widely known, the piece disrupted my idea of nonfiction filmmaking and still influences me today.


Mimicking Giaever’s nonficton style last year led me to co-produce a short nonfiction piece titled Double Agent. Using audio from an interview with Janice Levy, a photography professor at Ithaca College, and photos, video, and animation to support, we told the story of Levy’s father, Lawrence Levy, and the secrets he’d left for his daughter to find after his death. I’ll always remember it as the first thing I created I was truly proud of.


I think FLEFF’s theme this year, DISRUPTIONS, excites me because it reminds me of why I started studying filmmaking and assures me that disruptions will always be necessary to facilitate creativity and meaningful change.


Disruptions challenge society’s established norms.

Disruptions push for new perspectives, whether they’re asked for or not.

Disruptions inspire.

Disruptions trick you into learning.


I await the FLEFF films and discussions that challenge my norms, and inspire me, and trick me yet again into learning something new.

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