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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 Brian McCormick at 3:32PM

Blog post written by Brian McCormick, Film, Photo & Visual Arts '12, FLEFF Intern, Wilbraham, MA

With FLEFF almost two weeks away, I'm prepping myself for the films and events that I really want to see. I am especially excited for the wealth of documentaries being showed by internationally recognized filmmakers.

I am drawn to "human documentaries," which focus on human subjects' personal stories in order to speak to a whole, larger truth. Do you have a favorite kind of documentary?

I've focused my top five exclusively on the films being shown downtown at Cinemapolis -- for a larger list of documentaries and other films, make sure to check out our listings.

1) GOOD FORTUNE - a film by Landon Van Soest and Jeremy Levine

I had the privilege of interviewing Van Soest about his film and it sounds phenomenal. In Good Fortune, they explore the negative repercussions of efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa, honing in on the stories of Jackson and Silva who live in Kenya.

This is an extremely controversial subject. We are asked always to send money to these causes, but how do we know where that money is going? And also, is power always inevitably going to corrupt? Do we sacrifice good intentions for the "greater good"?

I think Jackson and Silva have an important story for us to hear.

(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Sun. April 17 @ 2:00PM w/ Jeremy Levine, and 9:30PM)

2) AGRARIAN UTOPIA - a film by Uruphong Raksasad

The trailer for this film was the first piece of FLEFF that I saw, and I was blown away by the beauty and power in those images. This film shows two families working together on the same farm, trying to get through the season while adjusting to the country's changing economy, politics and society.

This documentary asks, does development and progression always mean increased happiness?

(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Fri. April 15 @ 7:30PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)

3) BUDRUS - a film by Julia Bacha and Ronit Avni

The Israeli village Budrus, with Palestinians and Israelis, Hammas and Fatahs, men and women, unite in non-violent protest against Israel's Separation Border, otherwise known as "the Fence." They are led by local community organizer Ayed Morrar, who brings the people together to save Budrus from destruction.

This is an inspiring story of unification against a common enemy, highlighted by Morrar's 15-year-old daughter Iltezam, who launches a contigent of women that quickly moves to the front lines (father and daughter side-by-side). The film chronicles this movement, which is still continuing today.

As said by a Fatah Party Member in the film: "I felt that, in order to succeed, we had to empty our minds of traditional thinking." This speaks wonderfully to the new environments and new ideas we are looking to explore here at FLEFF.

(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 7:10PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)

4) PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME - a film by Jenny Stein and James LaVeck

This documentary takes a hard, powerful look at how farmers are beginning to question traditional practices of handling animals and treating them as commodities. This is a very moving film that will give you the kind "inside look" into a way of life we don't think twice about. I think this is a very important film for us to see.

(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 7:00PM; Sat. April 16 @ 9:30PM)

5) LOS HEREDEROS - a film by Eugenio Polgovsky

A look at child labor in rural Mexico, and how it has become a condition passed down from generation to generation. If you watch the trailer, you see it is a continuous cycle of labor: collecting water, shoveling, harvesting, sculpting, and so on. These children inherit these duties and are trapped in this cycle. Is it fair that our duties are determined by birth?

(Showtimes: Cinemapolis, Thur. April 14 @ 9:30PM; Fri. April 15 @ 10:00PM)

Well, there's MY list. I hope you're all looking through the films and finding out what you want to see.

The best part is that we have both the films AND their filmmakers -- any questions you have can be answered the same night you see it. Looking forward to it.

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