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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 Haley Stearns at 10:07PM   |  7 comments
Dr. Dale Hudson

Blog post written by Haley Stearns, Film, Photography & Visual Arts ’15, FLEFF Blogger

Dr. Dale Hudson works as a digital curator for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. This year marks his seventh year participating in FLEFF. His Dr. Hudson is currently living and teaching at New York University Abu Dhabi. Check out the following interview to learn more about FLEFF’s fantastic digital curator!

Where are you from originally?

I think that anyone who has moved often will understand why this question is very difficult to answer. I have lived places that have changed so much that they are no longer recognizable. They have become invisible cities, so to speak. For the past fifteen years, I've lived mostly in Amherst (Massachusetts) and Abu Dhabi, but I still go to my dentist in midtown Manhattan.

How is your experience living and teaching in Abu Dhabi?

I feel very lucky to live in Abu Dhabi. It's inspiring to hear people speak English, Arabic, Hindi-Urdu, Tagalog, Malayalam, Tamil, Amharic, Chinese, and other languages every day on the streets. Every taxi driver is fluent in multiple languages plus speaks enough Arabic and English to communicate with customers. There is a really active arts scene in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai, as well as in Doha (Qatar), so there are always film festivals, plays, arts exhibition, and concerts.

When did you begin working with FLEFF?

I started working with FLEFF in 2004 when I was teaching at Ithaca College. Lisa Patti and I curated a performance of live music with archival film in 2006, and Sharon Lin Tay and I co-curated our first digital exhibition in 2007. This year's exhibit will be my seventh for FLEFF. 

What originally attracted you to FLEFF?

I have loved FLEFF ever since it has moved to Ithaca College. The co-directors Tom Shevory and Patty Zimmermann have brought the idea of an environmental film festival into the twenty-first century by looking at the environment from more holistic and global perspectives, especially through the variety of events, fellowships for graduate students, workshops for undergraduate students, and dialogues with festivals in Bangalore, Jakarta, and elsewhere.

Can you explain the intricacies of your job as a digital curator for FLEFF?

As digital curators, our work is to locate artists, particularly ones whose work might not be as well known by programmers. In addition to finding artists through word-of-mouth, we publish open calls for submissions through various arts and media organizations around the world. We've been thrilled to receive submission to our open calls from artists at SARAI in Delhi and by the duo JODI, among others.

How do you feel about this year’s theme: dissonance?

I like the theme, which seems to resonate with ways that people have transformed dissatisfaction into something productive. 

What are some of your interests outside of FLEFF?

I've always been incredibly interested in thinking about what gets left out of conventional stories. For example, histories of film used to focus on work from Hollywood, a few countries in Europe, and a few token Japanese and Bengali filmmakers. Most of the world was overlooked, including places like Brazil, Egypt, and México. I'm also very interested in what happens to people and to films when they cross borders. 


Dr. Hudson's struggle to answer the question, "Where are you from originally?" resonates with me, already at 21 year old. I will go many places in this world that will act like a temporary home, and there will also be places that feel more like home than where I were born. It's another form of dissonance; like Dr. Hudson says, I've learned how to "transform dissatisfaction into something productive." Also, we must remember that there is something to be learned from everywhere we go!

Dr. Hudson's perspective on dissonance is unique: transforming dissatisfaction into something productive. The idea of taking ownership of a negative aspect of one's life, such as exclusion and ostracism, and turning into something to celebrate and explore is a beautiful notion. Considering the sate of social politics in our world (i.e. LGBTQ rights, extra-legal racial discrimination, immigration policies, gross economic disparities between 1% and everyone else, ect.) the idea of dissonance is something we need to embrace to feel pride for the people's struggle to achieve equality.

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