Students make films in Italy as part of study abroad

Photo courtesy of Giuliana Marple
Photo courtesy of Giuliana Marple
Next summer a group of students are going to Genova, Italy, to create documentary and narrative films.

Giuliana Marple, an Italian language professor, said she created the program seven years ago, and for the last two years it has been officially connected to U’s learning abroad program.

“I love to travel,” Marple said in an email. “But as an educator, nothing makes me happier than to see my students grow while opening their hearts and minds to new cultures.”

Marple, who is from Italy, referred to Italy as “a magical country that brings creativity and
joy out of everyone who is fortunate enough to be there.”

The program’s brochure states that Genova is “the largest medieval quarter in Europe.” The
city is surround by beaches and is home to numerous museums and theaters.

Natasha Leedom, a senior in film and media, went to Genova last year and said the experience
not only made her a better filmmaker, but also helped her overcome shyness.

“I’m kind of a shy person,” Leedom said. “So to go there and be so close — getting one-on-one help
with filmmaking — I really kind of came out of my shell. We had a lot of fun together. I wasn’t so shy by the end of the trip.”

Leedom said she also learned a great deal about camera and filming techniques.

“I learned so much about the camera that I didn’t even know before. And I feel a lot more comfortable,” Leedom said. “So I can even tell people, just do this.”

Last year, seven students attended the trip. They primarily made documentaries, but one created
a narrative film. The film department supplies equipment and the projects are directed by Amanda
Stoddard, a second year graduate student in film.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Stoddard said. “It changed my life. It was something I had never done as an undergraduate, and I was really happy to have this opportunity.”

Stoddard said it is not necessary to be a film student to attend the trip, and all majors are invited.

“In fact, it would be really nice if we had students from all disciplines there,” Stoddard said.

The program’s estimated cost is roughly $3,760. This includes tuition fees, lodging with shared kitchen access and international health insurance. It does not include airfare, visa and passport fees, local transportation, meals, books and other personal expenses.

The course is six credit hours and can count as an international studies requirement.

Ashley Glenn, a coordinator at the Center for Learning Abroad, said the center plans to award
roughly $180,000 this summer in scholarships.

Students who attend these study abroad programs have the option of staying in Europe after the
course has ended.

“Last year we had a couple of girls,” Stoddard said. “And between these two girls, they flew to Barcelona, Morocco and then to Italy. Then on the way home they went to Paris, London — and between the two of them they had friends in every city, so they just traveled a month on either side. They had a phenomenal time.”
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