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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 Cassandra Moore at 2:37PM
Jon Bowermaster profile

Jon Bowermaster is a writer, environmental documentary filmmaker, activist, oceanographer and adventurer whose focus is on creating work which engages and educates audiences on contemporary issues relating to environmental degradation. The environmentally conscious media that Bowermaster produces culminates in his production company, Ocean 8 films. This year’s FLEFF will showcase two works by Bowermaster and his production company, After the Spill and Dear President Obama. Both of these documentary films are follow-ups to previous works that Oceans 8 films produced in recent years.

After the Spill: Louisiana Water Stories II (2015) picks up where SoLa: Louisiana Water Stories (2010) leaves off. Following the reactionary moments directly following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The complex repercussions that are felt today are still being grappled with in Louisiana's politics and polluted waters. Bowermaster’s works often focus on our planet’s water sources. Water is an element that simultaneously connects us all through being and need. The topic of water becomes a political and environmental crux to critique ways in which definitions of development and progress may actually be costing us a lot more than we see on the surface. 

Another feature that will be showcased at FLEFF this year is Bowermaster’s Dear President Obama (2016). This follows a Bowermaster trend of creating films that are directly addressed to politicians. For example the films, Dear Governor Cuomo (2012)  and Dear Governor Brown (2016). The commentary within these environmental documentaries places a key political figure in the center of deciding how America’s future in energy will be dictated. Within the “Dear” documentaries various leading politicians are called out as plans and infrastructures relating to natural gas extraction, “fracking,” become the focus of communities who see the fruition of industry establish itself in people's backyards. The greatest reaction that Bowermaster receives in response to screenings of any “Dear” films addresses the lack of knowledge that people experience about these industries. Most people just do not know about these topics until they are apparent within their lived realities. Which is very problematic as the hidden costs to fracking as a form of energy extraction as very complex and often kept intentionally vague to hinder full comprehension of what really happens to health, environment and communities. Bowermaster’s work aims to combine art, activism, information and community building to combat the lack of awareness and to induce action.  

Jon Bowermaster’s films acknowledge the complex and intimate levels that major extraction industries create which establish distance between communities. Bowermaster will be attending this year’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival to introduce works and direct post screening dialogues about the themes and topics his work introduces. 

Check ouDear President Obama on Saturday at 1:00pm and After the Spill, Sunday at 2:30pm! Both at Cinemapolis! Both with Jon in the flesh! Come watch films and discuss with us!  

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