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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 Molly Bandelli at 3:25PM
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Blog posting written by Molly Bandelli, Television and Radio, minor in Sociology, ‘20, FLEFF Blogging Intern, Westfield, NJ.

 

Shock. Three young men had spent half of their lives in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.

 

Anger. The person responsible for murdering three young children was still roaming free.

 

Sadness. Six families suffered from inexplicable loss.

 

Confusion. How was this acceptable?

 

I was overtaken by so many different emotions as the end credits began to role. I desperately tried to wrap my head around what I had just watched. How could innocent teenagers be locked up in jail and be placed on death row? How could a violent murderer not be held accountable for his actions?

 

I was eager to talk to anyone that was willing to listen. I craved discussion. I had so many questions and I wanted answers.

 

The documentary trilogy, Paradise Lost, followed the lives and trials of three West Memphis teenagers who were wrongly convicted of the murder of three young boys. I had watched the final part of the trilogy, Paradise Lost: Purgatory, with my dad when I was twelve.

 

Although I was extremely young to be exposed to a documentary of this graphic nature, I am grateful that my dad encouraged me to watch this film with him. It was the first time, I was so deeply impacted by something that I had experienced the need for conversation.

 

The opportunity for discussion surfaced nearly a year later. My eighth grade english teacher had assigned us to interview someone who had a life-changing experience.

 

I can close my eyes and vividly see the look on my dad’s face as I told him I was going to interview one of the subjects of the film for my project. There was a small twinkle in his eyes as a huge smile formed on his face, so much so that his dimples on his cheeks were more visible than normal.

 

And like that, I took off from the stable. I was actively emailing the agents of the producers of the documentary that I had found on IMDB. I wasted the rest of the day relentlessly refreshing the email server.

 

I will never forget the a surge of adrenaline rush through my veins as I saw the email appear from Joe Berlinger, the executive producer of the films. I was overwhelmed with excitement which quickly transformed into intimidation.

 

In that moment, I knew I was going to have the conversation I craved for.

 

My experience as a twelve year old is why I was drawn to The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. FLEFF stood out to me as a platform that facilitates the dialogue I yearned for after my exposure to Paradise Lost. A place where filmmakers, scholars, professors and students are able to interact to get to the root of the sustainability issues that surface in these films. A place that you walk away from the film, panel, presentation or performance with a new or different perspective.

 

As a Television-Radio major with a minor of Sociology, I applied to be a blogging intern because FLEFF combined my interest in documentary filmmaking and social justice. However, diving deeper, I am thrilled to have a role that contributes to the conversation and offer new perspectives.

 

 


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