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The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Sunday, February 17, 2019
written by Lea Troutman, Film, Photography, & Visual Arts, '21, FLEFF Intern, Baltimore, MD
Going into this blogging internship, with little knowledge about film or inter-disciplinary arts festivals, the first festivals to come to my mind would have been Coachella or Sundance.
My original thought was that festivals serve as a celebration of an art form, but I learned that they're more than just passive appreciation, but they’re extremely active.
Before taking this course, Sundance was most prestigious of film festivals in my eyes. However, I learned I was extremely misinformed and distracted by the big name. I was so surprised to hear about how little they do in terms of discussion and the commercial drive of Sundance.
Hollywood uses film festivals for commercial purposes. They launch films out of competition at festivals like Cannes for exposure. This fact does not negate the fact that a lot of great directors and films have been shown and discovered at Sundance and shown at Cannes, but they serve very different purposes than the guests chosen for FLEFF.
I used to think Sundance was a top-notch film festival that I hoped to one day be recognized by, now I think the goal now is to have my films recognized by festivals like FLEFF.
The marketing and industry aspects of film festivals sparked my interest, Wong’s textbook Film Festivals went into detail about the different functions of film festivals in different countries.
No, film festivals aren’t just a celebration, there's a reason Hong Kong film festival occurs in the autonomous territory of Hong Kong and not in major Chinese cities like Chongquing or Baoding. Festivals are used to gain global cultural status, tourism and exploitation.
Hong Kong film festival is a major Chinese film festival because of the government. The Chinese government heavily mediates the media; however, in Hong Kong there is freedom of speech of the press and publication.
A lot of the media produced in China that is censored but it can be released through Hong Kong. This is how under ground information can be exploited.
I find this so compelling because they people doing this have the power to change lives. I think the arts are a great way to expose issues and provide an outlet of expressing them to mass audiences.
FLEFF is a way to further their audiences by getting their stories to the United States and evoking change.