My name is Audrey Lane, I am a Senior. Last semester I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Tuscania, Italy. As a creative writing major with a minor in film studies, I am highly interested in storytelling and narratives in different medias. I wanted to use my fall break pursuing that interest and experience new stories presented from different points. I travelled to a small city in Spain to attend the Seminci Valladolid International Film Festival.
I was pretty nervous about it, actually. That was the first time I had really solo traveled. On top of that, I’d be traveling between two countries of separate languages. By that time in the semester, I’d gotten the necessities and such of Italian, but it had been over six years since I’ve studied Spanish. That trip was a little bumpy at times, and there was an especially trying moment in the Barcelona train station where I actually had a little cry in the corner. But I made it to Valladolid with no small thanks to the people I met along the way. If I learned one thing from my semester, it’s that humans want to help humans. There were so many times when I wouldn’t have found my platform or train etc if it weren’t for the help of the travelers around me. When you start to travel, you enter into that community. And the members of the community generally look out for one another.
That is essentially what the film festival is. It is a space where people from different countries and backgrounds can come forth and give the world a peek into their own respective communities. Film is a medium that is well suited to critique and activism, and is a key tool in propaganda throughout history. At the festival, I was able to experience films that would never otherwise make their way to the US media. It was a refreshing view.
I watched an average of two films a day and perhaps a short film as an extra. I ended up seeing seven feature length films from varied countries. Some came from Italy, Spain, France, and the US. Others were from South African. However, my favorite film by far was July 22, a Norwegian film about a shooting on Utoya island in 2011. The island was housing a summer camp and seventy seven students were shot and killed by an white nationalist terrorist. The film was mainly comprised of fixed first person perspective and had the entire audience transported to the scene.
Due to its international attention, it might be possible to stream or rent this film. If you are able to do so I would highly recommend it.
I am incredibly grateful for the generosity of Mr. Paul Gilbert and Mrs. Patricia Romeo-Gilbert that allowed me to have this experience. This experience helped me grow as a person and gave me a fresh sense of hope towards life.