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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 Alisha Tamarchenko at 7:09PM
Alisha Tamarchenko

Last semester I was a part of an honors seminar entitled “The Environment and The Media.” This course was a complete and utter disruption for me and my way of thinking. Our small class comprised of four other students and our professor, Dr Zimmermann, dived into the intersection of media and the environment in all ways possible.

Ultimately for me, the class was about disrupting and challenging the notion of what environment is. It was about moving past recycling, green, forests and narrated nature documentaries to the intersection of environment with systems of power, systems of oppression, indigeneity, race, consumerism and extraction.

I started the semester with the idea of BBC’s nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough’s calming and soothing voice. And towards the end of the semester found myself looking at the forced sterilization of indigenous women and men in Peru in relation to geography of the Peruvian mountains through an incredible work of new media, The Quipu Project.

It was not only a disruption of how the media represents the environment but also ways in which the media directly affects the environment. The filming of the movie Titanic completely disrupted local town of Popotla, Mexico where it was filmed. It reduced fish levels in the area by a third, and also cut the town off from being able to fish. Singing In The Rain as a production used an insurmountable amount of water. And when we think of “the cloud” and this magical immaterial place in which we store everything, do we know that the equals to cell towers and antennas taking up space in the north.

The media that the festival programs every year not only individually tackles the concept of disruptions but are sometimes disruptions within themselves. One aspect of the festival that really excited me are new media projects. New media is a disruption within itself.

New media interrupts and challenges the idea that stories are linear by presenting concepts thematically. It also creates an accessible form of media, within reach on interactive websites.

Every year the festival also programs silent films with live music. These performances are also disruptions.

My hope for this year’s FLEFF is that it will continue to disrupt; my notions of environment and sustainability, and my understanding of media.

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