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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 Kylee Roberts at 8:07PM
Kylee Roberts smizing in the Ithaca College green house

Blog posting written by Kylee C. Roberts, Communications Management and Design, ’19, FLEFF Intern, New York, New York.

I’ve seen many people’s jaw drops at the thought of a 10-year-old girl sitting in a car filled with funky smells and business men. But those people didn’t grow up in NYC.

Other than it just being the place I learned how to walk and talk back to my parents, I developed grit, a respect for all artistry, and how to use my long legs to walk fast in Manhattan’s East Village. When I was in fifth grade I started taking the F train uptown bound to West 4th street alone.

I used all 60 inches of my body, arms and all, to navigate my way in and through crowds. I quickly learned that going above 23rd Street was completely unnecessary.

Traveling up there required pushing tourists and being as rude as I could be to just get by people who thought the sidewalks of Lexington avenue were for nice, slow strolls. I continued to loathe that long subway ride when I went to high school, located a block away from Lincoln Center.

As I ran into celebrities and accidentally onto filming shoots, as well as alongside the growth of social media, I also learned that not everyone’s dreams come true.

Like many other children I grew up around, my parents put me through a slew of extracurricular activities to keep me busy. All types ballet, jazz, tap, soccer, softball, basketball, piano…I was basically a temp running from Pier40 on the Hudson River to Alvin Ailey for dance lessons hours later. I knew I couldn't continue them all forever.

Through participating in these miscellaneous endeavors, I realized the satisfaction I gained from organizing people and knowing how things worked.

I enjoyed learning about the history of Ailey: What did it take to be a Creative Director? How does one continue the legacy of Alvin Ailey’s activism through choreography? Can they?

To my parents frustration, I rolled around in the turf during soccer games but always loved standing by the coat, jumping for joy when they’d let me hold the clipboard. I’ve always loved being “the woman on the inside.”

My first year, I transferred from the Journalism to Communications Management and Design program because I wanted to support others from the inside, on a structural level.

DISRUPTIONS: The FLEFF theme of 2019 can describe my transition to college, suburban life and out of my major. The implication of living in the East Village and attending school in Greenwich Village and the Upper West Side is that they are predominantly white; and if you’ve viewed my photo, you can see that I am not.

Until experiencing the POC @ IC movement at its peak my first year of college, growing up in predominately white environments did not bother me. Students of color realized the unequal treatment students of color were being given, demanding change to occur within the administration.

Weekly and then daily public protests. Megaphones blazing; students in black shirts with gold fists standing tall then lying on the campus grounds. The anger was new to me. The problems were being presented to me and I slowly decided that merely watching the action play out was no longer an option.

This was the first time I realized that I, a student, a woman of color, could enact meaningful change in my community and my life.

After a year of planning I co-created the socially conscious, online, multimedia publication, Passion Project.

This year the festival shines a light on events and feelings that “Stop the flow of events, ideas, processes and structures which can no longer continue like before.” The POC @ IC movement affected my life – and I believe Ithaca College as well – as a whole.

This semester, I am excited to embark on a journey with FLEFF: To learn from artists, speakers and FLEFF administrators about how their environments have affected their lives and their creations.

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