On March 31, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF) facilitated an interactive discussion about streaming, small media, and the Russia-Ukraine war. The event was held in partnership with The Park Center for Independent Media and the Mdocs Cocreation Initiative at Skidmore College.
The discussion was led by Bay Area-based director, writer, and producer Helen De Michel and documentary maker and professor Liz Miller. During the event, which took place over Zoom, attendees were split into breakout rooms to discuss topics relating to streaming services, documentary making, and independent film and media.
Whilst discussing the topic of streaming, questions arose as to how small media can exist without getting lost in the vast ocean of options and choice presented by streaming services.
“There is so much out there but what is out there is hard to find,” said FLEFF Director Patricia Zimmerman. “Can we think about streamers beyond Netflix? Where do we think about community? Can we move away from mass audiences?”
The discussion also opened ruminations on how people get their news about the war in Ukraine. Attendees voiced their exhaustion and frustration with getting their news from large corporate sources. In response, many expressed their appreciation for social media, which has allowed for the prevalence of on-the-ground citizen journalism from ordinary people in Ukraine.
Attendees reflected on how factors of age, location, and political leanings may affect how we see and experience the same event, such as the war in Ukraine.