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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 Brian McCormick at 10:34PM   |  5 comments
Tina Mabry (right) talks with an audience member after the screening of Mabry's film

Blog posting by Brian McCormick, Film & Photo '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA

Yesterday I saw "Mississippi Damned" a phenomenal two hour look into the life of the film's writer and director Tina Mabry.

Mississippi Damned is one of the most honest films I have ever seen. It is "fiction," but, as Mabry declared to us after the screening, "95% is true." It's almost unimaginable how so much could be true. I think that is part of what makes it such an incredible film.

The movie begins with Mabry's family and friends in the '80s in a rural Mississippi. We follow them into the 90s during which we see all of the enormous hardships that these families face amidst their lives of poverty. This is Mabry's story, her personal account of everything that happened in her life, following interpretations back to when she was just a little girl.

It was a great pleasure being able to listen to Mabry talk after the screening and to ask her questions in person. Considering the emotional content of her film, Mabry warmingly offered a hug to anyone needing one after viewing the film. When asked about what it's like for her to watch the film over and over again, she describes it as having been a very therapeutic process. I can only imagine the courage it takes to show the world all of your life without holding back.

Mabry is a very strong and very driven person -- I know I will not hesitate to see her next film. Mississippi Damned is a brilliant example of how successful a story can be when you make it personal. I hope everyone had the chance to see it, and if not, get the DVD!

I hope you all have been enjoying FLEFF as much as I have, feel free to share what you've done and your thoughts on the films!


I also saw MISSISSIPPI DAMNED and it was an incredible film. It was a very compelling and emotional film. It relied mostly on pathos to get the filmmaker's story told. This film established a solemn mood. You could feel the tension in the air as Mabry's film was rolling. The fact that it is based on experiences in her own life only served to touch me on an even deeper level than an entirely fiction film. Well done.

It's worth noting how true stories affect us in that way. Where fiction may be more effective in its ability to manipulate its content so thoroughly. Arguably, being able to control exactly what the audience sees can make a more obviously point. But the very nature of truth, and the knowledge of that aspect of the film may reach an audience in a deeper way that fiction is capable of.

i wanted to attend this. Seemed really cool

I actually think that because this is considered a work of fiction it stands as a testament to the nature of film, that the lines blur between fiction and nonfiction. I think when we are witness to very sensory experiences which are carefully and elaborately woven we understand that emotion as "true," even in fiction, and that has as much impact on us as the nonfiction story that relates to the historical world. In this case, the events may not but the emotions do.

Going in, I thought this was going to be a fictional film. Before the movie started, Mabry told the audience that the story line was based on her life experiences. It was crazy to see everything that had happened to her and her community. The film does a great job of showing how Mabry worked through her hardships and ended up where she is today.

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