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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 5:21PM
Alisha Tamarchenko

My idea of film festivals prior to my involvement with FLEFF was very limited. I saw small film festivals as curated screenings and large famous film festivals as something to aspire to as a documentary filmmaker. But how they got to be such symbols of power within the industry and how to ever get there was completely unknown to me.

Listening and speaking about FLEFF to Dr. Zimmermann and Dr. Shevory, as well as other contributors such as Professor Barbara Adams, Dr. Janet Galvan and Dr. Tanya Saunders, has been an eye-opening experience. FLEFF and any festival is so much more more than just a curated screening of films.

FLEFF is a multimedia event. This was a fascinating discovery for me – that a film festival could encompass more than just the traditional film medium. Dr Janet Galvan is the director of Choir Activities for the festival. Her and Dr Zimmermann illustrated for us the Tuesday night concert; a musical performance with video installation art and projections.

FLEFF is also a multi-disciplinary event. Faculty and students from all over campus come together for the activities. Last year, when I attended, it was amazing seeing faculty and students from all different majors and areas of scholarship passionately debating and speaking at the roundtable and lab events.

Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong, a communications professor at the CUNY College of Staten Island wrote the book “Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen.” The blogging intern cohort read this book in preparation for our involvement with FLEFF.  

The book delves into the behind-the-scenes power structures and mechanics of film festivals as well as the history of them. And even more importantly it introduced me to the idea that film festivals are a meeting space for everyone in the industry. It is a conflation of different people who come together to catch up and talk about the world state of cinema. This book exposed me to the idea that film festivals are the agents and the start of change in global cinema.  

So far, I’ve learned that film festivals, including FLEFF, are so much more that just a series of movies shown at a series of events – it is a meeting place, an intellectual environment, multi-disciplinary and comprised of various mediums.

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