Hannah Wiley (Saint Louis University) and Jose Scheuren (Spring Hill College) filming “Among the Berbers” in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

Focusing on Films – Introduction to Digital Video Production & Human Rights

To watch recently produced videos:

Dove Mi Trovo Bene: Explores the idea of “home” and immigration in Italy

(Il)legal Drinking: Focuses on drinking cultures in America and Italy 

Thousands of Signs: The history of street art and graffiti in Bologna

Who Dropped the Beat: The independent music scene in Bologna

Students of the Italy Center video production course (ART/CMM 253 Syllabus ) are encouraged to find innovative ways to showcase issues and to better understand the changing social fabric of the world. In Jesuit pedagogy, this might be referred to as “developing contemplatives in action.” Applying this 450 year old methodology pursued by St. Ignatius, we employ digital technology and social media as our instruments for social change.

Our film course presents students with two challenges. First, through the help provided by the professors, they learn how to operate a camera and then how to use video production software to put the film together. Second, students are also faced with the extra task of grasping the intellectual and emotional issues that surface when unpacking a society’s social ills, which they will depict in the films. Representing complex problems in a fair and well-researched video can be daunting for someone who has never held a camera. Nevertheless, our professors give the students the tools necessary to produce a short film in which they are encouraged to dig deeper and to question the world around them.

Living in a world driven by consumerism as opposed to political awareness, we may find it more difficult to develop values that are concerned about issues of justice. To put it simply, modernity has placed far too many distractions at our fingertips and the road to awareness is frequently cluttered by diversions (i.e. Twitter, What’s App, Linkedin, etc). SHC Italy Center promotes the idea of traveling in order to become more aware of social issues. For the students of ART/CMM, this means capturing unheard stories with their cameras. Leading a life focused on gaining a deep global understanding requires work—work that our students pursue in and outside the classroom.

The Italy Center argues that producing human rights focused videos while abroad has the potential to be the wakeup call that changes the course of our students’ lives, allowing them to bring light to social justice issues and to give voices to the voiceless.