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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 Ian Carsia at 1:52AM   |  2 comments
Ian Carsia, FLEFF Intern and Blogger

Blog posting written by Ian Carsia, Cinema & Photography '14, FLEFF Intern, Hamilton, NJ

When I first heard that the Criterion Collection was doing a release of Ishiro Honda's Gojira my excitement was indescribable. I only vaguely recall seeing the movie for the first time at the tender age of 3, but what I do remember was its irreparable impact. The metaphor flew right over my head, but there was a visceral power to the film, unparalleled by anything I had seen before or would see after.

Thus is the power of cinema, to be able to drive chills up our spines without our ability to articulate precisely why.

It was that experience which ignited my blindly stumbling journey, pursuing the allusive answer to that very "why". My majoring in Cinema & Photography, my reviewing film for The Ithacan (where my last name is oft-mispelled), and my maintenance of a personal critical/analytical blog, are all a part of that journey to quench the fires of that question.

Which is what draws me to FLEFF. With this year's theme of MICROTOPIAS, the festival once again seeks to bring together the love of cinematic art with passionate activism for human rights and the sustainability of the environment.

With this theme, FLEFF further implies a democratization of art made possible by the ubiquity of technology in our everyday lives.

For many, movies represent passivity and a detachment from the kinds of critical theories and ethical dilemmas that FLEFF seeks to address. (I believe Fran Lebowitz's fifth bullet-point offers a fairly humorous and welcome criticism of the 'art' of cinema.)

Unfortunately, this attitude has not been helped by a critical and analytical community that has emphasized more 'traditional' modes of making, exhibiting, and engaging with the cinematic art-form, and in such a way that mirrors the exact kinds of anti-democratic and elitist attitudes that defined cinema in its earliest incarnation as the un-godly entertainment of illiterate new immigrants.

FLEFF rejects these biases and its unarticulated pessimism. All individuals have the ability to make and engage with art and to effect profound change in the public perception of global affairs.

If you are passionate about FLEFF, then that means you too believe in and are a part of the Microtopia in which critical theory about art and activism collide into a techno-democracy above and beyond the prescribed notions of how one engages art and media.

It means you too are on a journey to find the answer to that "why". Far from pessimistic, you take profound pleasure in engaging the questions.

I do, as well. Will you enjoy this limited engagement with me?


I checked out your personal blog, looks awesome!

Can you give a more popular example of "traditional modes of making, exhibiting, and engaging with the cinematic art form?" It sounds really interesting!

Thanks for the blog-related complement, Chloe. I look forward to working with you in FLEFF and on the blog.

With "traditional modes" I was really just referring to the idea that 'movies are made on film and projected in movie houses.' As in, that idea that new media art and post-modern installations are unacceptable to a certain extent.

I just think sometimes critics want to limit 'who gets to see film'. So I use the term anti-democratic. I like that FLEFF is more broad in its acceptance of new media cinema.

I don't know, am I just paranoid? Do you ever feel like the status quo is such that regular people are prevented from engaging with art?

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