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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 Mira Moreau at 1:29AM
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Written by Mira Moreau, FLEFF Intern, Cinema & Photography '21, Wayne, Maine

 

For as long as there’s snow on the ground, a collection of Maranacook Community High School students will abstain from the school bus. Instead, they’ll ride snowmobiles to school.

 

They are the epitome of rural Mainers.

 

They drive pickup trucks down dirt roads. They spend hours in tree-stands, waiting to bring that perfect 10-point buck to its demise. Their perfect weekend is spent fishing bass out of a six-inch-wide hole in a frozen lake.

 

I grew up with these kids. However, my adolescence was a different kind of rugged than that of my steel toed boots-sporting counterparts.

 

My parents and their friends are poetry-writing, guitar-strumming liberals. They spend Sunday mornings helping each other weed their gardens. I drove a 2005 Subaru Legacy to school, not a snowmobile.

 

I listened to my parents denounce Bush and Cheney’s decisions surrounding the military during many childhood dinner conversations. So when graduation came around and many of my classmates decided to join the armed forces, I felt angry. Didn’t they see they were perpetuating senseless violence?

 

Then, this past summer I worked for Montana Conservation Corps building backcountry hiking trails. I trained with fifteen members of the Veteran Green Corps, a program that trains post-9/11 veterans to become wildland firefighters. These men were not the aggressive picture of troops I had painted in my mind.

 

They were silly and passionate. Many of them joined the military to receive aid in their education. Like my rural Maine classmates, they loved to be outdoors, to work with their hands, and to provide for themselves and others.

 

When I attended the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival my first year at Ithaca College, I watched a documentary called For Akheem that addressed the “school-to-prison pipeline,” the pattern of poor, urban students receiving little-to-no academic and disciplinary support, which causes them to drop out of school, get involved with illegal activities, and go to prison.

 

The cyclical nature of the school-to-prison pipeline seemed similar to students in rural areas joining the military because they need money to receive higher education. And if that was so, why didn’t more taxpayer money go into education instead of the military?

 

I became interested in blogging for FLEFF after this film caused me to make connections not only to my own life but to the structures of our society that need interrogation. The purpose of a film festival is to inspire an audience to ask questions about the world. FLEFF already has me asking questions of my own life. I’m eager to see what new questions, and maybe new answers, the 21st year of FLEFF will bring.

 


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