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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 Gabriella LoBue at 11:48AM
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Blog posting written by Gabriella LoBue, Cinema and Photography, ’18, FLEFF Intern, Hackettstown, New Jersey.

Being a FLEFF blogger requires a certain amount of awareness and knowledge about film festivals in order to write accurate and articulate blog posts. As such, the blogging team has read material by Marijke de Valck, Dina Iordanova, and Alex Fischer. These texts each provide various, and sometimes contested perspectives of film festivals. It is no surprise, then, that one should find resonances between these written studies and FLEFF itself.

FLEFF is a curated festival, which is one of the three distinct types of film festivals that de Valck mentions. It features a unique theme each year that the programming adheres to, and, as an environmental/human rights film festival, the themes typically follow this model. For example, this year’s theme is landscapes, and last year’s theme was habitats.

It is also emphasized by Iordanova that programmers must be responsive to contemporary issues and create the space for it to be shown. FLEFF accomplishes this by hosting a variety of films that examine political issues across the globe, and this year is no exception. Following the theme of landscapes, there are films that assess the Louisiana coastline five years after the infamous BP oil spill, examine a town that was destroyed by a dam project, and survey communities who are suffering at the hands of corporate gas fracking.

By educating audiences about topical issues, FLEFF combines the local and the global. As mentioned by Fischer, this contributes to the extensive amount of preparation and organization that is required to develop the programming. In fact, the booking of films and events begin long before the actual festival. For example, collaborations between music performers, structuring of lab sessions, and even the planning of FLEFF mini courses begin up to over a year before the dates they are scheduled for.

Furthermore, a film festival is nothing without the press. Well, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but the truth remains that media is a vital part of a film festival’s operation. Even though FLEFF is not designed to celebrate stars in all of their glory, it is still crucial that critics and bloggers are present to provide and share texts about the events and screenings.

Iordanova calls this the value-adding process, which ultimately builds interest and attention for the films, filmmakers, and film festival itself. All three of these entities rely on word of mouth for their reputation, which can also lead to invaluable exposure and distribution deals for films.

FLEFF is no exception to some of the guidelines and principals that rule the operation of other international film festivals. However, these same principals are what keeps it running so smoothly each year, and thus make it worth attending.

What are some expectations you have for FLEFF this year?

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