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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 Jade Hazzard at 5:51PM

A new feature of FLEFF this year was the incorporation of master classes. Instead of a panel of guests explaining their work or interest, it is one person going in depth. This type of environment allows for much richer conversation between the guest and the audience.

This week I went to hear Dr. Claudia Pederson discuss the short film “Ulysses: New Hope for the Heartland”. While she did not create this film, she did curate it for FLEFF. Dr. Pederson has been working for FLEFF since 2007 and became the “New Media Curator” four years ago. 

As Dr. Pederson began to talk it was clear that there were many reasons she chose this film. One reason, in particular, stood out to me. The idea that we as creators, need to stray away from the Eurocentric ideas that surround media. The media needs to become more global and we need to start understanding that media is circulated worldwide.

As we began watching the film “Ulysses: New Hope for the Heartland” I saw an area of the United States that I had never seen before. The Midwest. After the film, the audience began to discuss. Many shared that they believed that the Midwest was a predominantly white part of America, and were shocked to see so much diversity. Dr. Pederson explained the importance of exploring the idea of diversity in this county. The film was about immigrants creating a new life for themselves and their families in Ulysses Kansas.

The film was narrated entirely by women who had migrated to Kansas. It told a story of change and the incredible ability to adapt to one’s surroundings. Like learning English for parent-teacher conferences or being part of a new community.  It showed that while change and risk-taking can be painful, it is also worth it for a better life.

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