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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 Emma Zarabet at 4:51PM

Hands down one of the most memorable experiences I had while studying abroad was going to the Berlin International Film Festival. Being shoved amidst giant crowds of people all waiting to catch a glimpse of someone or feeling the buzz in an audience all eagerly waiting to see a new movie was a rush.  

Sitting in a packed theater alive with energy, waiting to see the premiere of Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, is something I will never forget. As cliche as it is to be a film student who loves Wes Anderson, I will always appreciate the moment that me and hundreds of strangers experienced together, with the biggest thing we all had in common being our passion for film.

Then this fall semester, I was once again lucky enough to participate in a mini course that went to Canada for the Ottawa International Animation Festival. At this festival not only was I able to go to screenings, but I was able to sit in on talks and presentations as well. I was hooked on this magical atmosphere surrounded film festivals. That is why when I found out that there was a film festival right in my own backyard of Ithaca, I knew I had to be a part of it.   

For as long as I can remember, I planned on studying abroad in college. I wanted to see as much of the world as I possibly could. But just like with attending these two film festivals, my time abroad wasn’t enough and I still have so much more I want to see.

A big part of my love for both traveling and film comes from the fact that I was raised in a small New England town in Connecticut whose claim to fame is having “the largest green in all of New England”, which really just means we have a nice gazebo. Movies to me, were the escape before I really could escape. I would take out DVD after DVD at our library and treasure the days I could spend at our tiny four screened movie theater, whose biggest theater sat about as many people as a decently sized living room.

FLEFF combines both my fondest memories of sitting and enjoying films in my local movie theater while simultaneously being able to experience and learn things from countries  all over the world.

What makes FLEFF such an exciting experience for me is that this time it is not me who is traveling to go to a festival, but content from all over the world is traveling to me. Films and other works will be coming from a vast amount of countries, all with unique voices and stories to tell.

FLEFF explores a wide variety of topics that address racism, sexism, and other problems that don't just have to do with the physical environment. As a women and gender studies minor, I am really passionate about taking part in dialogues and discussions that address these issues and spark change.

FLEFF will give me an opportunity I haven't ever had before, to participate in these types of debates alongside the sometimes controversial screenings and hear what people have to say.  I’m excited to witness this year's theme of disruptions in full swing with how people react to the content they see at the festival. I think this is an important theme, especially in today’s climate.

Everyday we are faced with, as FLEFF defines disruptions, another unwanted disturbance or something that upsets the norm. At the same time, I think disruptions provide a great way for new ideas and creative outlets to emerge. I am excited to see the films and other forms of media FLEFF uses to convey this topic and have discussions with the creators.   


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