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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 Liuqing Yang at 3:12PM
Kevin Lee, Vice President of Programming and Education, dGenerate Films.

Blog post written by Lucy Yang, Journalism and Politics ’14, FLEFF Blogger, Puyang, Henan, China

Kevin Lee is Vice President of Programming and Education for dGenerate Films, one of FLEFF’s collaborative partners. dGenerate Films is a leading distributor of contemporary independent film from mainland China to audiences worldwide.

Lee is an expert in contemporary Chinese cinema. He taught English in China for two years after graduating from Williams College. He used to get people to talk about movies as a way to practice their English. His experience as a teacher in China made him want to be a filmmaker and appreciate the power of movies in helping people understand other cultures and the world they live in.

After Lee came back to the United States, he started to watch lots of Taiwanese and fifth generation Chinese movies as a way to cure his homesickness missing his experience in China. But it wasn’t until he first watched sixth generation Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s Platform, that he developed his passion for Chinese cinema, because this film was so different from those historical, exotic, and unrealistic fifth generation films.

“This film just felt so familiar. It really reminded me of my experience in China. It’s like a bridge that connected my experience in China to my life in the United States,” Lee said. “It fulfilled that thing I discovered in China, which is that movies really can connect you to a larger world.”

Ever since then, Lee has been interested in film’s relationship with reality, and questions like if films help us to get away with reality or bring us back. He says Chinese cinema has been really helpful for him in exploring these questions.

“Chinese cinema itself is dealing with these questions. When you look at thee six generation and digital filmmakers, so many of their films are really trying to have a real connection with reality. They put the reality that they experience in their lives and put it on the screen,” Lee said. “I think what the recent generations of Chinese filmmakers really want to do is to make people care about the reality they live in by putting in on the screen.”

This will be Lee’s third year as a guest at FLEFF. He will present three out of four Chinese independent films brought by dGenerate Films. For description and screen details of these films, click here.


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