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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 Hanxiao Wang at 6:24PM

Blog posting written by Hanxiao Wang, Integrated Marketing Communications Studies, ’19, FLEFF Intern, Sichuan, China.

“Intellectual,” “interdisciplinary,” “global” are terms that express my impressions about FLEFF. For the whole week, my mind just cannot stop to think about various questions and absorb new and advanced perspectives from FLEFF. The workshops and the discuss panels especially inspired me so much.  

At the Natural and Artificial panel, Professor Cynthia Henderson, who teaches in the Theater Department, talked about how to combine her professional performance arts skills with social issues and lead to social construction. I also watched her documentary We Need the Truth later at Cinemapolis. In the documentary, I saw how the war with the Boko Haram is affecting the people of Cameroon, who are suffering from painful and miserable lives. And Professor Henderson also created a workshop there to teach local people to use performing arts to call for others’ awareness of what’s going on in Cameroon and how to address the problem. These experiences enlightened me not only to care about what is happening in the world, but also to think about how to take advantage of my professional skills and interests to contribute to social change. 

At the next Material and Immaterial panel, I also learned from Professor Andrew Utterson, who teaches Screen Studies, about how the film technology is not only a tool, but to express values. Furthermore, new technology motivates viewers to rethink about the function of image and sound.

What impressed me the most is the workshop about the evolving platform of new media. Professor Claudia Pederson’s presentation changed my opinion about new media, which I thought originally played a part mostly as a tool. But after her presentation, I saw more possibilities in new media and how it shows artists’ ideas and innovation as a platform, and also how new media shapes our history and consumption culture. Professor Pederson also showed several short films about new media. One of them was called Can You Hear Me, which is composed of scenes featuring a young woman, dressed in different clothing, asking whether she can be heard. At the end of the short video it was found only particular neighbors could hear her voice when she wore certain clothing. Isn’t this worth thinking about? In our common lives, people pay close attention to others who share the same religion, race or culture. What’s more, many people tend to prejudge others according to their gender, race, status, etc. Labels are everywhere. But how can people hear what others really say if they only listen to their own preconceptions about them.

All the workshops created a vibrant intellectual community, which attracted everyone including students, professors, and community people into thought provoking dialogues. There is no standard question or answer, only a platform that connects everyone to argue questions and break the rules to motivate new ideas. Maybe this is the most valuable thing in the world and the essential spirit of such festivals. 

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