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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Blog post by Gena Mangiaratti, Journalism '13, FLEFF intern, Feeding Hills, MA
As I've had the chance to reflect on this year's FLEFF, there are a few events that have especially stood out to me, having in some way affected my perception about art, film, or for some documentaries, the subject presented.
One of the first things the festival introduced me to was silent film. I don’t think I had previously ever watched one in entirety. During FLEFF week, I had the opportunity to watch two, The Last Laugh with John Stetch on the piano, and Siren of the Tropics, with a performance by Cynthia Henderson.
I initially found the silent films difficult to follow for the lack of dialogue, but after watching it for a while, I felt like it began to make sense, achieving that sort of ‘flow’ of any other film with dialogue. The music, while I think it would be a stretch to say ‘replaces’ the dialogue, certainly filled a space that moved the film along.
After The Last Laugh, a fellow intern and I had the chance to speak briefly with the soft-spoken John Stetch, and I was interested to learn that his performance on the piano was improvised to go along with what has happening in the film.
It was also intriguing how during Siren of the Tropics, Cynthia’s narration about Josephine Baker’s life seemed to go along at just the right time with the film.
Shot in Kenya, the documentary questioned the ethics of Western human rights efforts in countries that have completely different cultures. It showed a completely different perspective of poverty relief efforts that I had never seen publicized before. It was both eye-opening and unsettling to watch. I feel like this film was a privilege to see.
Even though I am not a filmmaker myself, I was very grateful that Jeremy was available to speak with after the screening, if only to have the opportunity to tell him that his film was phenomenal.
How did some events change your way of thinking?