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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 Kylee Roberts at 10:45PM
Kylee Roberts smizing in the Ithaca College green house

Blog posting written by Kylee Roberts, Communications Management and Design Major, ’19, FLEFF Blogging Intern, NY, NY.

As a music festival enthusiast, my experience has been shaped by dehydration, head bobbing and muddy shoes. These past few weeks I’ve learned a great deal about film festivals, and very deeply on what goes into FLEFF, which sounds typically less sweaty than a day at  Governors Ball or Afropunk.  

  1. History

For the past 20 years FLEFF has displayed films to invoke conversation about varying and similar environments. On the wider scale, film festivals have been bringing audiences together for nearly 90 years: In 1932 Benito Mussolini established the Venice Film Festival in order to  establish itself as a cultural center of Italy.

According to Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong, writer of  Film Festivals : Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen, “film seemed to be an important addition that reinforced and reinterpreted claims about modernity, culture and power,” in the Fascist state.

  1. Location, Location, Location

While FLEFF may not be in Italy, Ithaca, NY has always been home to the festival and has welcomed a consistent flow of international directors and distributors to be involved.

As bloggers, we’ve learned that the location of a film festival can influence the identity and personas you see communicated through marketing, the guests, films and connected events.

Countries can also receive a large influx of tourism when centers for artistry, like film festivals, become a staple of the culture.

As a City of Asylum, Ithaca provides official sanctuary for “writers whose works are suppressed,” due to censorship and inability to speak out against their government. Ithaca becomes the place to talk about how human environments shape their lives; especially for those who can’t return to their homes due to death threats or no longer having anything to return to.

  1. We've Got the Smarts

Along with being a welcoming community, Ithaca is also a very educated community with Cornell University and Ithaca College being directly tied to the establishment of FLEFF. A critical aspect of FLEFF are conversations in which local and traveling scholars join in, especially to the roundtable discussions hosted by Dr. Andrew Utterson during FLEFF Lab Friday.

This year, Dr. Utterson is making the discussions interdisciplinary between scholars and those in the film industry to recognize “that there isn’t just one single homogenous industry.”

  1. Interdisciplinary Nature

FLEFF isn’t only films – a point we have been reminded of in every blogger meeting. The interdisciplinary nature of FLEFF is what reminds audiences that there are different aspects of their environments running all the time. From the Multimedia Concert to post-screening Q&A’s, there’s room for audiences to discover new angles about DISRUPTIONS.

  1. Community

I’ve learned how truly community driven FLEFF is. The festival rejects shallow thinking, opening up audiences to different perspectives through film and energetic conversation. And to top it off, Cinemapolis is the home-base to most of the week’s events: The local, independent theatre operates under 7th Art Corporation, a non-profit dedicated to exhibiting international and independent films.

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