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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 11:28PM

If you have read my previous blogs, you know that prior to the festival I had decided that I was ready to be ‘uncomfortable’.  I was ready to step out of my comfort zone and push away any preexisting notions in my head.

This week has been a week of distancing myself from myself.

I have been able to discover the vast power of dissociating myself from pre-conceived notions. By doing that I have been able to gain access to multiple meanings of stories portrayed in films. It has also allowed me to have intellectual conversations with people who are more intelligent than me. 

On Wednesday, I went to go see “What Will People Saw” by Iram Haq’s. I was so intrigued by the heartbreaking storyline, and I wasn’t disappointed when I watched it. It was a really well-made film, from acting to editing. 

What makes the film especially interesting was that it was a portrayal of Iram Haq’s past. When she was young she was sent to Pakistan without her parents. This film was set in a modern age, meaning they used ‘Facebook’ and had cell phones, but reflected Haq’s feelings towards her teenage years.

I left the film and headed to “Reds” to chat with filmmakers from all over the world. I was blown away by the acting and the cinematography. I also left the theatre believing that that was how life is in many Pakistani families.  While at Reds I began talking to Arshad Khan, the filmmaker behind “Abu”. Khan, like the filmmaker of “What Will People Say” is also from Pakistan. He explained to me that while the film was amazingly executed, I had to keep in mind that there is another side to the story. The story of the parents, and of the culture.

I dawned on me that he was completely right. I had only seen one point of view, that of a teenager.

Realizing this worried me a little. How many times have I believed something to be fact without seeking out every angle? I was not using my critical thinking skills, because it was a topic I had no knowledge of. I wasn’t using my critical thinking because it was filmed as a personal narrative. I allowed myself to accept the first thing I heard as fact.

The film made me uncomfortable, and I know that horrible things like that do happen in real life. Another thing that made me uncomfortable though was learning that I didn’t know enough to make any judgments. That can be said for all of the films I went to. That just makes me hungrier for knowledge than I was before FLEFF.

I didn’t know what I would be getting myself into when I started this process. I knew that I would be challenged, and out of my comfort zone. Both of those things happened. I also have had an eye-opening experience this week. I have met amazing people and learned to be more critical and open to what I’m seeing on the screen.

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