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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 Sam Stahnke at 10:20PM

Blog posting written by Sam Stahnke Cinema Production, '17, FLEFF Intern, Brooksville, Maine


"I still personally feel like a sociologist," says Lauren Lazin.

Since graduating from Smith College with a degree in sociology Lazin touched on different habitats through the films she produced and directed.

Her new film, The L-Word in Mississippi: Hate the Sin screened at FLEFF.  The project started with Ilene Chaiken (a writer producer and director on The L-Word) approaching Lazin for a film on lesbians in the South.  They settled on Mississippi as the location.

Regarding Mississippi Lazin said, "it was really nice shooting in the South, people were so polite."  She found the lesbians faced more covert discrimination.  For instance people would disparage them behind their backs while remaining outwardly cordial.

On their arrival the local pastor questioned Lazin and her crew about the nature of the documentary.  "We weren't covering up what the film was," says Lazin.  It turned out the town's caution partially stemmed from trouble with the last documentary to shoot there: Borat.

In the film itself the Church Group maintains they actually love gay people.  The Group wants to help gays become straight.  The phrase "pray away the gay" operates as their byword.  

Other unexpected things rose up during filming.  Firstly the film's running time jumped from one hour to ninety minutes.  Also, one character's transition between genders did not figure in the film initially.  Only after shooting wrapped up and the character agreed to its inclusion did the change in gender become a subject in the finished product.

When she left Mississippi Lazin kept in contact with her subjects.  During the brief Q&A after the film Lazin's phone rang.  The caller was Brandiilyne Dear, one of the people featured in the film.  She had called to hear about the reception at the screening.  

Did you go to The L-Word in Mississippi's screening at Cinemapolis?  If so what observations did you make about the habitat it documents?


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