December 15, 2014
Liebe LeserInnen, ich möchte mich zunächst kurz vorstellen. Ich heiße Serena Vecchietti und komme aus Trient eine Stadt im Norden Italiens. Dort habe ich Soziologie und Internationale Beziehungen studiert und mein Studium im März 2013 mit dem Masterabschluss beendet. Danach habe ich für 1,5 Jahre in einem Ausbildungszentrum für Internationale Zusammenarbeit und im Studierendensekretariat der Universität Trient gearbeitet. Jetzt mache ich ein Praktikum beim „Netzwerk Friedenskooperative“ in Bonn im Rahmen des MoVE Programms (Mobilitŕ verso l´Europa = Mobilität nach Europa). Als ich das erste Mal von diesem Programm gehört habe, wusste ich sofort, dass dies genau das Richtige für mich ist.
MoVE ist ein EU-Mobilitätsprojekt, das von der Provinz Trient – Servizio Europa – Ufficio Fondo Sociale Europeo – organisiert und mit Mitteln des Europäischen Sozialfonds finanziert wird. Ziel des Projektes ist es, die italienischen Teilnehmenden in die Lage zu versetzen, neue Perspektiven für ihre berufliche Zukunft in der Europäischen Union zu entwickeln ihre Mobilität innerhalb der EU zu unterstützen, sowie erlernte Fähigkeiten, Fach- und Sprachkenntnisse zu festigen. Dadurch, dass man einen Blick über den „Tellerrand“ hinaus wirft und andere Länder, Kulturen und Arbeitswelten kennenlernt, wird man vom gegenseitigen Austausch bereichert und kann diese Erfahrungen in die heimische Arbeitswelt integrieren. Die Autonome Provinz von Trient bietet jedes Jahr 300 jungen Leuten die Möglichkeit, einen Sprachkurs oder ein Praktikum in Ländern der Europäischen Union zu machen. Die Teilnehmer des Projektes werden durch strenge Kriterien bei einer Sprachprüfung und einem Kolloquium ausgewählt. Die Plätze im Programm sind sehr begehrt: ein Praktikum in Ausland, und vor allem in Deutschland, wird von Unternehmern in Italien sehr hoch gewertet.
Der Projektpartner ist die Akademie für Internationale Bildung (AIB) in Bonn. In diesem Jahr erstreckt sich das Programm über 16 Wochen, vom August bis Dezember 2014. Insgesamt haben zehn junge ItalienerInnen daran teilgenommen. Nach 2 Wochen intensiven Sprachunterrichts in multinationalen Klassen in einer Bonner Sprachschule, absolvieren die Teilnehmerinnen ein 13-wöchiges Praktikum. Exkursionen und auch die Besichtigung von kulturell bedeutenden Schauplätzen in der Umgebung, eröffnen den Teilnehmenden die Möglichkeit, Land und Leute aus einer anderen Perspektive kennenzulernen. Die TeilnehmerInnen sind in deutschen Gastfamilien in Bonn und Umgebung untergebracht. Während der ganzen Zeit werden regelmäßige Praktikumstreffen durchgeführt, in denen Erfahrungen, Erfolge, aber auch Probleme angesprochen werden. Am Anfang definieren alle TeilnehmerInnen ihre Ziele für das Praktikum. Durch wöchentliche „Praktikumstagebucheinträge“ erhalten die Praktikanten die Möglichkeit, ihre Ziele zu überprüfen und zu schauen, was sie schon erreicht haben und was vielleicht noch bis zum Ende verändert werden muss, um die Ziele zu erreichen. Am Ende des Praktikums findet in einem gemeinsamen Gespräch eine Abschlussreflektion statt. Während der ganzen Zeit werden die Praktikanten durch Susanne Jansen, die Praktikumskoordinatorin der AIB, betreut. Nach erfolgreicher Teilnahme an dem Programm erhalten die Teilnehmer den „Europäischen Mobilitätspass“ und zusätzlich die Möglichkeit die offizielle Deutsch-Prüfung (Niveau C1) am Goethe Institut in Trient abzulegen.
Die 10 ItalienerInnen sind jetzt seit 14 Wochen in Bonn. Sie haben ein Stückchen des Sommers erlebt, sie sind durch einen warmen und bunten Herbst gelaufen und jetzt können sie die weihnachtliche Atmosphäre der Stadt genießen. In ihren Praktikum haben sie viel erlebt und gelernt. Nicole und Samuele, die in Italien ihr Abitur im Juli 2014 gemacht haben, arbeiten in einem Hotel. Federica und Federico, die ihren Masterabschluss in Architektur gemacht haben, arbeiten in Architekturbüros. Marco, der sein Studium mit dem Masterabschluss als Ingenieur beendet hat, in einem Ingenieurbüro. Francesca und Stefano haben einen Master in Internationale Beziehungen gemacht und arbeiten bei DVV International und der Ijgd. Alessandra, die noch studiert um Dolmetscherin zu werden, arbeitet bei einem Filmprojekt und Francesca, die eine neusprachliche Schule besucht hat, im Informationsbüro der Stadt Bonn.
Wie schon erwähnt, arbeite ich beim Netzwerk Friedenskooperative: eine große, unbekannte und interessante Welt, in einem kleinen, vollen und bunten Büro. Am Anfang meiner Zeit hier war alles noch sehr neu und unverständlich für mich. Mit der Zeit und der Hilfe meiner geduldigen Kollegen, Kristian, Philipp und Marvin, hat sich aber Vieles geklärt. In den letzten zweieinhalb Monaten habe ich viel von der Friedensbewegung in Deutschland erfahren und jeden Tag einen Stückchen mehr von der enormen Arbeitsleistung des Netzwerks Friedenskooperative verstanden. Ich hatte die Möglichkeit an Mitgliederversammlungen der Kooperation für den Frieden und der Kampagne „atomwaffenfrei.jetzt“ teilzunehmen. Ich konnte außerdem an dem interessanten Konversionsprojekt der zivilen Nutzung der Ermekeilkaserne mitarbeiten. Durch diese Erfahrung habe ich viel über Kommunikation und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit gelernt. Mit viel Unterstützung habe ich kleine, informative Filme mit Interviews gedreht sowie Logos und Plakate für Kampagnen grafisch bearbeitet.
Durch meinen Aufenthalt in Deutschland habe ich viel gelernt. Ich habe neue Fähigkeiten erworben, die ich bei meiner zukünftigen Arbeit in Italien nutzen kann, und gleichzeitig habe ich mein Deutsch verbessert. Was meine Erfahrungen jedoch am stärksten geprägt haben, sind die Menschen, die zu diesem Erleben beigetragen haben: die Gesichter meiner Zeit in Bonn 2014.
Quelle: rhein:raum - Das Bonner Internetmagazin:
November 27, 2014
At last shooting week has arrived and ready or not, all of the students must begin the process of filming for their documentaries. For the next ten days each of us will be traveling all over Europe to capture the essential footage that will ultimately become our films. Some of the films require more legwork than others, and for these, we each have to help each other out. I went with my brother to Spain to assist him with his project.
Upon exiting the plane at the Bilboa Airport, we were greeted with an unexpected summerlike heat. Wrapped in our warm coats and scarves, we quickly shed our extra articles before jumping into a taxi that would bring us to our first hotel. Along with us came one of the AIB student workers, Maren, who was thankfully fluent in Spanish. The subject of my brother’s documentary, a Basque artist and sculpture, would not be greeting us on our first day which left us some time to scout around. The most popular of the artist’s work is in the Bosque de Oma, a nearby forest, and involves a series of living paintings that appear to take form as you walk through the colorful trees. Unfortunately, to get to these paintings, you first had to hike for at least 40 minutes. This may seem like a small feat, but throw 50 lbs. of camera equipment on top of it and it becomes quite a challenge. On the brighter side, we managed to scout our location with sunny skies and very few technical problems.
The second day we met our subject. His three assistants picked us up at our hotel and brought us to the beautiful countryside where the artist and his wife lived. He invited us inside for coffee and after talking for about an hour, we began to prepare the interview. It was difficult to find the perfect spot. At first we thought it’d be best to film it in his studio, but we decided that the art would distract too much from the artists words. We settled to film it in his living room instead. It was clear that the artist and his wife were not so used to being filmed. In the middle of the interview his wife insisted on turning the lights off in the background. Because I couldn’t speak Spanish, I could only hope that my frantic flailing was not so distracting while the subject recounted one of his stories to the interpreter. There were always going to be unforeseen problems while filming, but I had never expected the interviewee to remove his microphone while we were filming.
Despite some issues, our kind hosts were nice enough to take us to din-ner afterwards. They insisted that we try the traditional foods in the region which included squid soaked in “ink” sauce and the “fresh” cod that you had to chew for at least a minute before you could even consider swallowing it. Luckily for us, the Basque wine proved to be just as delicious as its creators boast.
Our last day was spent hiking once again through the forest. Which meant, after waking up at 6 am, another 40 minute hike with all of our camera gear. This proved to be a very good idea because after we had finished filming amongst the quiet, peaceful trees with pleasant weath-er, torrents of crowds began to arrive and along with them steady drops of rain. Of course, not everything went as we had planned, but things went well enough that a strong documentary will come out of it.
Written by Casey Chavarria
November 26, 2014
Despite the fact that we spent the majority of our four days in Leipzig inside movie theaters, I feel our group left Leipzig feeling like they’d gained a whole lot of life experience. For me the Leipzig DOK festival revealed many eye opening stories to me, while also helping me improve as a documentary filmmaker. Through out the course of the three days most of us watched a total of around eight films. All of the films I saw were amazing, and they showed me that a story can be shown in many different ways.
In order for a documentary to be good, the cinematography does not have to be stunning with shallow depth of field and fiery sunsets in every shot. In fact most of the really good documentaries I saw, were shot with hand held cameras, that didn’t make the subjects look like Victoria’s Secret Models, but rather showed them as they actually are, which is human. Another thing I learned is that its much more interesting to watch someone doing something or living the story rather than watching an interview where they recap a story.
So trying to make our documentaries so they are happening as much as possible in the present, we learned, is very important.
A lot of what I learned at the DOK festival helped me with the actual filming of my doc. After each film played, we could hear the directors talk. All of the directors talked about their personal relationships with their documentary subjects, and how before filming it is important to have trust with your subject. However, during the filming process it is also important to make yourself seemingly not there when the camera is on so as to really capture the moment. This helped me a lot during the filming of my documentary about the Vegetable Orchestra.
I spent a lot of time just hanging out with them and talking to them before turning the camera on. However, once the camera was on I tried to make myself invisible.
One of my favorite films, that most of our group also watched was called Toto and his Sisters. Toto and his sisters was a phenomenal film about an impoverished family that lives in Romania and whose lives have been destroyed by heroine. In particular the film follows the charismatic, optimistic and adorable eight-year-old boy Toto. Toto and his sisters have a father who left them years before and their mother is in prison serving time for drug trafficking. The family lives in a one room apartment, if it can even be called an apartment. They have no bathroom, no running water, no shower, no kitchen and one couch that is used as a bed by all three of the siblings. The film covers their struggle to survive in the mess that is their life.
This documentary was done wonderfully, the film maker was able to capture the endearing childhood hope of Toto who remained positive despite his growing up in adversity. The filmmaker was asked how he was able to sit back and watch things like Anna suffering, and Toto playing with needles without interfering. He said that as a film maker it was more important for him to tell the story than put down his camera and help because in the grand scheme of things his documentary would help more by raising awareness about the subject. Being able to sit back and not interfere is a very important skill in documentary film making.
My other favorite film was a lot less tragic and dark. It was about the theory of six degrees of separation. A Polish film crew had random people select random numbers and letters from a bingo ball roller. They asked six people to carry out very specific tasks that would lead them to their ultimate goal of creating a web separated only by six degrees.
The filmmakers spent two weeks with each one of the six people they met and then at the end of each two weeks they would have that person call another person that might lead them closer to their goal. The movie was not just about the theory but also about the personal relationships and details of the lives of each one of the six people. What was even more fascinating were the stories of each one of the six people that were revealed in this documentary.
Not only were we extremely inspired by the Leipzig DOK festival, and filled with ideas for our own documentaries, but we also got experience mingling and talking to producers and directors at the lounge parties each night. We were able to meet some of the directors of the films we had seen, and ask them for advice about our own documentaries. It also didn’t hurt that the treats they served there were delicious!
Written by Kendall Milton
November 25, 2014
“Fill out your bio’s and at the end of this you guys can’t leave this room until each of you has been matched.” Sounds like a speed dating event or something right? Wrong… A vi-tal part of our documentary process is the music that is going to back our stories. Music can create the mood of a film, shape the audiences attention and feelings, establish the time and space of a story, reveal character, create tension or a plot twist… So many crucial and important things come from the music of a film; that it makes perfect sense when going to pick a composer for our documentaries it was treated like a match.com date night. Two weeks before this event, the film group and students from the Musicube Academy met to hear each of us film student’s documentary pitches. Musicube is a film score composition production academy, based here in Bonn and actually at the AIB too. This first meeting was a piece of cake for us. We have been pitching these documentaries since our first weekend in Eifel. It was our second meeting, the pairing, that really got us nervous. On this day each composer from Musicube played three minutes of his or her work along with visual images they thought their music would match well to. Adven-turous music to mountain ranges, epic music to churches, and even hip hop beats to city skylines were shown.
Going into the pitch, many of us were nervous and thinking “how is someone going to make music that’s going to match my topic of Burlesque dancing… or Swordsmithing… or Animal Shelters… or even a Vegetable Orchestra?” But much to our surprise the composers showed an incredible range of music that could be paired to each of our unique stories. After the composers showed their talents, the awkward part came. Feelings from our first high school dance started lurking beneath us. “Do I go talk to that guy? I really liked his songs. I think he wants to work with someone else though… I should just go over there. Shouldn’t I? No… I don’t know…” All of these thoughts came rushing when our directors announced it was time to find a match. But eventually the nerves subdued and connections were made. The communication between the composers and us was really enlightening; as for the first time someone really understood the message we’re trying to portray and even knows how to do so through music. At the end of the meeting each of us walked away with something. We gained experience in net-working and a very important newly created partnership that will be shown in our final documentaries.
Written by Jocelyn Cooper
November 24, 2014
“Let’s make it a noir!”
“Let’s make it a western!”
Let’s make it this, let’s make it that. We had lights, and we had an expensive camera. All we had to do was create the scene. Personally, this was my first experience lighting a set with the amount of equipment we had my excitement fed off of the other’s. Our equally excited cinematography professor, Jens arrived early to Cologne rented, picked up the gear and trucked it south to Bonn. All for us! I will admit, the opening lecture was complicated. It covered the most technical components of lighting, down to the equation to calculate the correct wattage one will need for lighting. In spite of the confusion, he motivated us right from the start. The first lecture started to make sense as he urged us to figure out which light to use where.
Sam Zook and myself decided to share the role of key grip. We reported to our Director of Photography, who in this case was also Jens. He mostly gave us pointers that allowed for more creativity on our part. It was a ton of fun deciding how to light the scene. Collectively we decided to set up a noir scene. Using the passion Jens imbued us with, we created a beautifully moonlit scene using 100 Watt Fresnel Lens light. Essentially it was the best light we had that could sufficiently mimic moonlight sneaking into a window. Next, we were charged with lighting the interior. The key grip role shifted to another pair of students who decided to give the room a midday feel. Far different that what Sam and I set up, but an invaluable learning experience none the less.
After a day of lighting a scene multiple ways we were ready to take the fresh skills and apply them on the set of an actual shoot. With our C300 camera and myriad of lights, filters, and stingers we set to work building up a fancy set inside an elevator. The coolest thing about this shoot is we all had an opportunity to pick a job and try it. I got to direct, act as assistant camera, and your good old best boy. Directing a full crew was certainly a challenge, but Jens had great vision and was able to help me and the other students along the way. I had never been an AC before, but always thought of it as such an unsung hero, or underdog-y type of job. The key responsibilities I had as AC was two fold: I was St. Peter of the camera. The DP was God and she hired me to guard the pearly gate that was the very, very expensive camera. Second, I had to maintain the focus of the camera. That job itself included little miniature jobs like racking in and out of focus from focal point to the next.
Everyone got the chance to try brand new things and we all learned so much. The confidence I got from those two days alone was truly immense. Two days of total immersion into totally new crew positions really pays off. And, we have a great little product to show for it.
Written by Nick Logsdon
November 18, 2014
On November 13th, the students of the New Europe Program traveled to Mainz, Germany.
First, we visited the New Synagogue to marvel the unique architecture inspired by Leibeskind and to learn about Jewish-German history. Its unique form is ultra modern yet the individual letter components are ancient. The Sanctuary faces East towards Jerusalem and the dawning of a new day, thus symbolizing a new beginning and faith in the future.The new Jewish synagogue and community center exemplifies the revivification of Jewish life in Mainz.
Then, we went on a walking city tour to see the Cathedral and learn more about the history of Mainz, the second oldest city in Germany. The Cathedral represents the high point of Romanesque cathedral architecture in Germany. During World War ll, Allied bombing of Mainz destoryed 80% of the city, but the cathedral was left almost entirely unharmed.
After the city tour, we were guided through the Gutenberg Museum, one of the oldest museums of printing in the world, to learn about the beginning of the mass production of books and the printing press.
Having delicious sandwiches were a perfect way to end a fantastic excursion to Mainz!
November 11, 2014
Here is what AIB 2013 film alumni Christopher Helkey had to say about his week at the Berlin International Short Film Festival:
"The Berlin International Short Film Festival was an amazing experience. It was right in the heart of down town Berlin at the Babylon Cinema. It was awesome and inspiring to watch some of the best short films from around the world. The festival ran for one week and there was 10 blocks of films that all together totaled around 50 short films. I was lucky enough to have been able to attend every block of films. The talented German composer Steven Settinger who created the music for my film was able to meet me in Berlin and attend the screening with me. The films ranged from short documentaries all the way to intense mystery dramas and horror films. The only limitation for these films was they had to be under the 50 minute time limit.
I felt very honored that my short documentary “The Magic Moment” was selected as one of the films for the Berlin Short Film festival! I made the film well studying abroad in Germany and I felt very blessed to be able to go back to Germany and attend the festival.
It was amazing to see my film play on screen in Berlin. The film was received very well by the audience in the screening. Meeting the other directors and filmmakers who had produced such great films was a very important part of the festival. I met many great filmmakers and made many great connections through the festival. The screenings would happen at night from around 6pm to 9pm. And afterwards I would go out into the city with some of the other filmmakers. It was interesting and fun to meet and talk about filmmaking with filmmakers from other countries. The whole experience was both amazing and professionally rewarding."
Here is a link to some photos from Berlin:
After making the video public a week ago right before Christopher left Bonn it had gotten over 90 thousands views online. Many major online sites have done articles about it. Here is one of those articles:
and here is the link to his film:
Christopher was also contacted by a producer at WGN-TV Morning News in Chicago who is going to air part of the film!!
October 27, 2014
The Rhine Cruise morning began like all mornings seem to begin here in Germany: frigid and early. Our bus dropped us off in a tiny village along the Rhine River that resembled the Eiffel in a lot of ways with its medieval style buildings and cobble stone streets. We stopped at a little bakery before embarking on the boat, and our Professor Mikael Kreuzriegler generously bought our group a bunch of jelly filled donuts, that we gorged on. By the time we stepped on the boat we looked like a group of jelly donuts ourselves with the amount of sugar we had coating our clothing and faces.
The Rhine cruise, was worth it despite the torrid weather and provided us with a picturesque view of the rustic castles, vineyards, churches, and medieval homes dotting the hills along the river. Our group sat in lawn chairs on the deck of the cruise and taught each other how to use the different settings of our camera to achieve the ultimate photo. We talked about our documentary plans and the amount of unexpected cultural differences we had experienced in Germany so far. Everything felt surreal as we glided past castles and archaic buildings on the Rhine, which looked like a ribbon of sky next to the green hills. We got off at our “port” in another little village, where we ate lunch. We enjoyed a traditional German meal of Schnitzel and fries, which we’ve all grown quite accustomed to. We were feeling rather lethargic after the relaxing meal and amiable conversation. However, this feeling lasted only a short while, after all what is a German excursion without a treacherous hike up to the top of a castle?
After lunch Olaf Brodersen rounded us up and marched us up an endless set up steep stone stairs. When I say marched, I do mean he marched to the top, while others of us dwindled along and used the “picture taking excuse” to catch our breath along the way. When we got to the top of the hill, the castle very much resembled the castle from our excursion to the Eiffel except this one was particularly striking because you could look over the wall of the castle and see a view of the Rhine River and all the buildings scattered around it. Our group took this opportunity to take a plethora of Gopro selfies with the epic background behind us, which made for some like worthy profile pictures later. We then toured the castle lead by our very knowledgeable tour guide who once again reaffirmed us in our belief that living in 2014 is far better than living in 1514. We were taken to the torture chamber where we learned about some of the atrocious torture and punishment techniques used on people who broke laws in and around the castle. One punishment, for example, was when a woman was caught committing adultery she would have to wear a metal mask that resembled the snout of a pig. When she would put it on it would pull her head down forcing her to crawl on all fours like a pig would. Ironically after most of the girls in our group heard this form of punishment we snorted, like pigs, with disgust. After browsing the gift shop we made our way back down to the bus, feeling a bit conflicted about our next activity, which involved cheese tasting. It felt a little strange to be on our way to celebrate Germany’s cheese after seeing images of people being stretched to death.
Nevertheless we made our way back down and loaded back on to the bus. To a couple of the students dismay, myself and some other girls in our group decided to convert our bus into a musical theater production on wheels by singing the entire soundtrack from Wicked all the way to the cheese dairy.
When we reached the cheese dairy we got off the bus buzzing with noise, half of us humming to Wicked, the other half groaning at the humming. Our tour of the cheese dariy was very interesting we were lead through the basement past barrels and barrels filled with cheese that was far older than us. We learned about the tradition of German Cheese Princesses.
This is a German tradition similar to Miss America, only the Cheese Princesses actually knows how to find Africa on a map and not only that but they have to be extremely educated on the subject of their region’s cheese. Once a Cheese Princess is elected from each one of the regions along the Rhine River, one will become the German Cheese Queen through a series of competitions. If a princess is crowned Queen she will travel all over the world and try and educate people about German cheese, so lets hope she can find Africa on a map! We learned about the process of making cheese and that German cheese is so unique, because the soil by the Rhine contains certain nutrients that give German cheese its exclusive flavor. German cheese making and German cheese festivals are a huge part of the German culture and have been prevalent in Germany since the days of castles and metal pig masks as a form of torture. People used to eat more cheese than water back in the early centuries because the water was dirty and the cheese was delicious. They would go through several kilos per person a day. We left the cheese diary and got back on the bus and made our way down the street to another cheese diary.
Here we enjoyed a delicious, and romantically lit meal, surrounded by candles in a quaint stone room. Laughing and conversing was a great way to end the day.
On the bus ride home we were a full-fledged Broadway musical.
We arrived back in Bonn slightly buzzed and exhausted, but it was the good kind of tired, the kind of tired one feels after a productive day.
By Kendall Milton
October 24, 2014
On Saturday September 13th, the group woke, met at the Bonn Hauptbahnhof and boarded an early train to Amsterdam - all in the name of film.
While this city is known as the party capital of Europe, our group had much more important intentions. We were there to see, “the essential global meeting place for everyone engaged in creating, managing and delivering the future of electronic media and entertainment technology and content,” or the IBC.
This quote, taken directly from the International Broadcasting Convention website is the best way to compass the tradeshow that IBC is. Companies, businessmen, students, and technology lovers from all over the world flock to the RAI convention center to showcase and learn about the latest and greatest technology, and we were a part of the crowd! Specializing in technology ranging from cameras, to video chat services, to software, to projections, to satellites and everything in between, the IBC is extremely popular and brings very well known companies like GoPro, Cannon, Red, Sony, Adobe and many, many more together. This was an absolute heaven for us film lovers and industry aspirers.
At the convention we were able to attend seminars on things like the latest editing software, learn from the company’s representatives themselves in detail about the technology, and hands on try out and experiment with all of the products!
The last aspect was probably the most exciting part about the entire visit. We were able to explore the tradeshow, find exhibits of some of our favorite technologies and then actually use them. We got to try on steady cams, operate drones, and even practice on Red and ARRI cameras that movies like The Social Network, Gravity, and Gone Girl have all been shot on.
One of the most memorable experiences was after the ARRI presentation, we ran into guest speaker Phedon Papamichael. Now to many people, a name like “Papamichael” sounds like a fictional character; however, to us he is very, a very important person! Papamichael is an incredibly talented and renowned cinematographer known for films like “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Sideways.” This was the cherry on top of an already amazing experience! We were completely starstruck when we got to meet him, but he was a really awesome guy and took some time to talk to us about his methods for lighting, setting up shots and his opinions on cinematography related topics. We even got some pictures with him, too!
Attending the IBC was a once in a lifetime experience and it really let all of us “nerd out” about the equipment that makes our passions come to life. We came back to Bonn the next evening with so much experience and knowledge about the industry, the products, and the direction the future of technology is heading; also with a great story of meeting one of the top cinematographers of our time.
Not only did we have an unforgettable experience that made us realize how incredibly lucky we are, but it made us very excited for our futures in the film field.
By Jocelyn Cooper
October 23, 2014
The first major keystone of our experience here in Bonn is without a doubt the Narrative Projects.
Within the first weeks in Germany, we as a group decided on four scripts, written by four of our own students to be made into films. After several weeks of instruction on directing, lighting, cinematography, we were ready to begin the process of turning these screenplays into reality.
Castings were exciting days for everyone. Dozens of German actors revel at the fact that they have the chance to be in a film made by a “Los Angeles Filmmaker”.
As the casting calls were set up, the four separate teams of filmmakers ready themselves for a series of auditions. One performer after another gave their rendition of the characters that we had laid out on paper. An experience that would normally be very stressful was surprisingly exciting and educational. Most of us had never experienced a casting call with so many options and with actors so motivated to become the character you created. By the end of the week, the choices were made, and it was time to move on to shooting.
The next few weeks were stressful. The various group’s producers were frantically trying to organize call sheets, props, and transportation for the shooting days. Meanwhile, the directors and cinematographers worked out a shot list and style for the film. Everyone’s job was important. Some people were prepared for their duties; others had never done them before.
I was the director of the film called “Sight Seeing”. This was a charming story about a clever food stand owner who beguiles a group of tourists into buying his food. The objective was simple enough, but the actuality of shooting this film was astounding. There are always going to be problems that you can never predict will happen on a film shoot, and this project was no exception. We had only one filming location, but this may have already been a grave mistake. The Bonn University building, our establishing shot, had a beautiful cinematic look to it; however, the amount of foot traffic it received was infuriating to say the least. While I struggled to get the shots I needed, my sound guy was getting a headache from all the bikes, planes and sirens ruining our takes. My script supervisor was acting as a human barrier to prevent people from walking into the scene, and my very pale actor was beginning to look like a lobster in the scorching sun. Some people were saying that it was the hottest day Germany ever had in September. By the end of the first shooting day, everyone was exhausted. Personally, I thought it went rather well.
The second day proved to be more efficient. The “first day jitters” were gone and the crew was much more acclimated to their roles. The hard part was over, now we could start being real filmmakers. Despite completely different lighting conditions, broken props, and a lack of extras, the crew was able to pull together and get the shots we needed. At one point, we had the producers, the cameraman, and even the director acting as extras in the film.
Perhaps we could have done things a little differently or planned a little better, but everyone there that day learned what it takes to be on a film set and the challenges you face. Now all that’s left was to bring the film to the big screen.
By Casey Chavarria