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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 Thomas Gonzalez at 6:48PM

Only a few days since the conclusion of FLEFF, I am for once at a loss for words. After months of blogging, reading and discussing in class and then more blogging and discussion come the week of the festival, what I cannot say at the moment is how this experience has shaped me.


I often find that it takes some time for particular events to gain significance for in the moment, we can hardly appreciate the change.


I know what I thought of Festivals before. As a filmmaker I had dreamed of getting my films into festivals and having them screened in front of a live audience.


The first festival I had ever heard of was Cannes when I was in eighth grade. I had made a short film with some of my friends. I only showed it at my Middle School’s talent show, but I knew then that I had been bitten by some bug. The imprint of its teeth left a love of cinema in my veins.


As I made more films, I looked for festivals that I thought I could get into, the first one I had ever sent work to was the black Maria film festival in my native New Jersey. Despite my hopes I did not get in.


Looking back, I knew so little about filmmaking and about festivals and I now, from this experience at FLEFF, I know better.


From studying the histories and traditions of Festivals in conjunction with FLEFF, I have learned that all festivals are international. That festivals come in several tiers and look for certain types of film.


From attending FLEFF, I met filmmakers and writers from all corners of the world and many from corners of the United States I have yet to fully explore. I’ve found community of artists that stretch from Pakistan to Poland and Kansas City to Syracuse.

Each experience that I have had at FLEFF I will carry with me for the rest of my life. For each turn that this life may take, something learned from FLEFF will be there in my thoughts.


As Tennyson wrote, “I am all that I have met”.


And there is more that I will meet. started this journey of cinephilia and festival going in ernest only a relatively short time ago and there is a long way ahead of me. If there is anything that can be reflected upon, it is that the experience of FLEFF has shaped my perspective so dramatically in such a short period that I cannot help but look forward.


I may feel I understand festivals now, but the greatest thing understand is how much more I have yet to know.


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