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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 Shawn Steiner at 1:09PM
Kelly Matheson, Witness

Blog posting written by Shawn Steiner, Film, Photography, and Visual Arts '13, FLEFF Intern, Elkridge, MD

And once again we are back in Park 220 for FLEFF Lab Friday. Kelly Matheson from WITNESS is here and Dr. Patricia Zimmermann is moderating this hour. Come on by!


Kelly begins with the well-known video of Rodney King. It was the catalyst for witness and proved that video could enact social action and change. So, they got together and got video cameras all over to record stories all around. And for 20 years, after working through many issues, they are working to create many international videos and tell compelling stories.

QUESTION: Who is Oscar Grant?

How do you get your video seen when there is an absurd saturation of digital media out there? That is an issue that Kelly and others like her deal with constantly.


Informed consent is the current topic of Kelly's. She is screening clips from a huge variety of projects. Including a short from her TRUST series about youths fighting climate change.

An new take is how to take perpetrator shot video and turn it back onto the perpetrators, as opposed to the humiliation to the victim intended by the original video.

Verification is another thing that needs to be analyzed. Kelly cites the website as a source for validation of video for news. Here is the fireball example that Kelly cites.


"Technology is always a double-edged sword."

QUESTION: What do you do when your documentary or video risks the well-being of your subject?


The question of reconciliation is a major talking point during the discussion. And it may bery well be added to Kelly's list of major things to think about when dealing with video. We need to determine how citizen-shot footage will allow usage in things like court cases and how they can be verified.

What does it mean when that image is recorded, circulates, or as evidence?

The ethics behind the usage of a video as evidence requires it to have a much more intense method of verification.

"Give the archive love. They are the unsung heroes."

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