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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 Kylee Roberts at 3:23PM

Blog posting written by Kylee C. Roberts, Communications Management and Design, ’19, FLEFF Intern, New York, New York.

“We learn about different film-makers all over the world, so it’s more diverse in that way. But then in Hollywood, we learn about all the white, male directors.”

For the past month I have seen Lea Troutman, on Tuesday nights amongst the dark, empty halls of the Park School of Communication; for the first time, we got to sit down and chat about our experiences with festivals, neither of us looking as tired as usual.

As a half-Japanese, Film, Photography & Visual Art BFA sophomore, Troutman is excited for roundtable discussions that may focus on diversity and equality for women in the film industry.

Troutman is looking forward to the film festival this year as it will be her first: As a documentary filmmaker, she is excited to make films that are meaningful, inspire audiences and invoke conversation, just as FLEFF does.

“A lot of the times I look around my classrooms and I’m the only person of color and I’m only half Asian,” Troutman explained. “I’m from Baltimore so there’s a lot of diversity, and I’m used to being at a school with lots of different ethnicities.”

FLEFF 2019 will be Troutman’s very first film festival and as an aspiring documentary filmmaker, she is excited to make films that are meaningful, inspire audiences and invoke conversation, just as FLEFF does.

“A lot of the times I look around my classrooms and I’m the only person of color and I’m only half Asian,” Troutman explained. “I’m from Baltimore so there’s a lot of diversity, and I’m used to being at a school with lots of different ethnicities.”

Subsequent to her first year at IC and experiencing her own culture shock, the Smithsonian National Museum hired Troutman to intern as a videographer for the Folklife Festival: An annual celebration created to preserve cultures and connect the US to music, dance and storytelling to various international cultures. 

“It really gave me a taste of the nine to five work life. Being in a busy city all the time was stressful but it was also kind of fun; learning how to navigate the metro,” Troutman reminisced.

Randomly, Troutman was selected to follow West Bengali bual musicians, Girish Khyapa and Rabi Mondal and scroll-painter Mamoni Chitrakar: Instantly, she was hit with a challenge.

“At first I was like, well I know nothing about India,” Troutman laughed. “They came with two

two translators, but I think the program wasn’t prepared to help them with any cultural shock they experienced. Their events were also booked back to back so they were constantly tired.”

The experience overall was not one Troutman was looking for, but in the end, she realized that being pushed into the field without any preparation taught her about responsibility and how to trust herself.

“The Smithsonian kind of threw me in with nothing. Since they’re a government entity they couldn’t give me any equipment or programs I needed,” Troutman said. “So I had to bring everything I owned. It gave me a lot of experience in using what I had and not having much help.”

In tune with her dreams of raising the status of women in the creative industry and the uneasiness of her internship experience, Troutman believes this year’s theme of Disruptions is very applicable to everyday life. In the future, she hopes FLEFF can explore the theme of Connections.

“I interviewed Dr. Dale Hudson and he talked about places that seem unconnected but they are,” Troutman continued. “Like how Ithaca is connected tot where he’s teaching in Abu Dhabi. So I thought that was cool, in how different people connect to different places and how different issues can do the same.”



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