About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Blog posting written by Sophia Feuer, Cinema and Photography, ’18, FLEFF Intern, Briarcliff Manor, Ny.
Still one month away from FLEFF week and my preconceptions concerning film festivals have already been changed with no return. With my new understanding of festivals and FLEFF under my belt, I am looking forward to experiencing this upcoming FLEFF from a new lens. Here are some of the key ideas that have made a difference regarding my overall outlook on the film festival world:
Before becoming more educated and immersed in what a film festival entails, I initially assumed that attending FLEFF was about isolated and individual films and about the individual experiences had while attending those films. Furthermore, I assumed being a FLEFF Intern Blogger simply involved blogging about these distinct films. This is not the case. The FLEFF “experience” is about the film going experience as a collective whole, about the conversations the films have with each other at FLEFF, and how all the films are tied together by the festival’s theme LANDSCAPES. The unique aspect of FLEFF is the discussions that result during, after, in-between, and around the films.
2. Everything is Connected
To continue on my last point, not only are all the films connected by theme and dialogue within the festival, but the films festivals themselves are undoubtedly interconnected in a web of festivals and industries on the international scale and are also in association to social, political and economic aspects around the world. Festivals are a part of a pattern of movement that is key to the global circulation in cinema. One can use both global and local lenses to look through and interact with the film festival world. Because festivals provide opportunity for media interaction, the media in turn provides global coverage, which results in an influence that goes beyond just the individual festival itself. Festival can be seen as value adding, a places where worlds and verbiage are produced.
3. Nothing is Done Without Thought
Despite false misconceptions, every film, installation, and piece of art is in fact curated and programmed with tremendous forethought and deliberation. Curators for festivals tend to pick films with artistic value and ones that deal with hot political issues, while creating a space for new cinema and undiscovered people. They employ vigilant programming to straightforwardly intervene in political conversations worldwide and to participated in film culture. In fact, it is this specialized programming that distinguishes each unique film festival, making them competitive with other festivals in the circuit. Therefore, no matter how “random” a selection of films might seem upon first glance when reading the line-up, the are all connected or relevant to one another in some aspect, or pertinent to contemporary issues that are prominent in the world.
If there is one thing that is more important to a film festival than the actual exhibited content itself, it’s the audience. Film festivals are not only looking to attract viewers for the festival events, but they are also looking to kindle audience engagement. This audience engagement is what creates the conversations surrounding films and art and is another outlet for how diverse people share unique ideas, a key function of film festivals. When programming for film festivals, the curators largely consider the audience that is predicted to attend and make decisions in creating certain dialogues. Regarding this, film festivals are also about their relation to their nations states and communities, which plays a role in the nature of the audience members in attendance. In short, festivals don’t only want audience members, they want active participants.
While I have already established that each film festival is unlike any other, there are three main types of film festivals; Geopolitical, markets, and curated/themed festivals. Each festival has a different goal, agenda, or mission statement, each trying to accomplish something unique to have a certain effect. The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) falls under the category of a curated or themed festival. Under this category, FLEFF embraces the intellectual aspects of festivals, considering challenging topics, and understanding the many perspectives. FLEFF creates a place for conversation amongst any and every kind of person with the goal of asking question and coming together as a collective to answer them. While every film festival is different, each film festival is the same in two regards; festivals bring various people and ideas together for conversation and festivals also are comprised of a team of specialized individuals that plan, program, curate, and/or organize to make the event possible.