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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Written by Jade Hazzard, FLEFF Blogging Intern
As Dr. Galvan, Director of Choral Activities at Ithaca College had said, “Nothing comes into your experience uninvited”, that’s exactly how I feel about FLEFF. I didn’t know really anything about festivals, and I didn’t even know I wanted to learn about them, but now I’m so glad I took the challenge.
Over the past four weeks, I have learned so much about an industry I assumed was very straightforward. I had a naïve idea in my head that all festivals were simply showing films for the love of watching films. I’ve since learned that festivals often have a lot of motives for putting on a festival, like making business deals, tourism, and publicity. Tourism, for example, is a large part of the reason why many festivals are in the spring or at the end of the summer. This is because it is not when the city would normally be busy, and festival goers book hotels and eat out creating added revenue to the area.
Another thing that really challenged my perception on festivals was that even today men still control nearly every aspect of the film festival industry, “in practice, men (straight and gay) outnumber women in all aspects of the film festival” (Wong). While I understand that women working in film is still relatively new I expected the film festival industry to be more diverse. I believe I had this notion because while I was volunteering at the Camden International Film Festival it was run by a crew that was majority women. I know now though that that is not always the case.
Something that is different about FLEFF compared to other festivals is it is run by a college. The fact that FLEFF is put on by Ithaca College means that learning is at the forefront of every film, event, show, and exhibition that they put on. FLEFF believes that knowledge shouldn’t just be available to those in higher education, but instead to anyone who is eager to learn. Something else that the festival does that is unlike many that I’ve been to, is that it doesn’t allow filmmakers to submit their work, instead, they seek out content that will create stimulating debate. We have a responsibility to learn about the world we live in, and FLEFF is creating an environment where that knowledge can be absorbed.
Just like Ithaca College, FLEFF is also interdisciplinary, meaning that it doesn’t just focus on one thing. While FLEFF is a film festival, it does not just rely on film to get knowledge to people, In the past FLEFF has brought singers, musicians, dancers and much more to Ithaca. That wasn’t what I was expecting, I assumed that FLEFF would show a week’s worth of really powerful films and then that would be it. I couldn’t have been more wrong! As Dr. Zimmerman said in regard to FLEFFs interdisciplinary nature “get people out of their buildings [majors], out of their comfort zones”. I can easily say I’m already out of my comfort zone, but I can also say that’s the only place in which you learn.