Students screen films made in Ireland

Student filmmakers screened their films, made during a summer study abroad program in Ireland, at 5th Avenue Cinema this past Friday, Nov. 14.

Cinema Studies in Dublin is an education abroad program that took place this summer. The program was led by Dustin Morrow, assistant professor of film at Portland State. Students from Portland State and the University of Oregon attended the program. They had five weeks to write, produce and direct a short film.

Students stayed in homestays in Dún Laoghaire, a suburb of Dublin. During their stay, they took two courses at the National Film School of Ireland. One was about Irish cinema, taught by Morrow. The other was a production class taught by Irish film professor Frank Reed.

“It was a great adventure. I was very impressed by their work,” Morrow said. “For many of them, it was actually the first film they ever made on their own. A small handful of them had never used a film camera before.”

The films were assigned to be one to five minutes long. The students could not use synced sound. Many of the films used voiceover instead. Some of the students only had a few weeks to complete their films.

“I didn’t know what to do for a really long time, until about two weeks before it was due,” said Portland State film student Danielle Duhaime.

Duhaime directed a film documenting other filmmakers filming and editing their films. She also had some of the filmmakers stand in front of a white backdrop making faces at the camera.

They had to share three cameras between 23 students.

“There was a lot of bickering,” Duhaime said.

The films ranged from nonfiction to fiction, experimental to narrative.

One film, Dino, directed by Rachel Brock, a cinema studies student at the University of Oregon, is about a toy dinosaur that falls in love with a woman. She agrees to go on a date with the toy. The dinosaur prepares for this once-in-a-lifetime chance. In the end, the woman doesn’t show up for their date and leaves the hopeless-romantic dinosaur in sadness. The final scene shows the dinosaur sitting on the sidewalk, only to be kicked into the street by a random passerby.

“I wanted to have a small figurine that ran around and did things,” Brock said. “It turned into a love story gone wrong.”

Molly Meyer, another cinema studies student at the University of Oregon, took a more experimental approach for her film. The film projected a backdrop with silhouettes of people dancing.

“I was really a fan of silhouettes, so I wanted to try [to] do something with that and edit it rhythmically,” Meyer said.

The students worked together on their films. They explained that they felt a sense of family and community while they were in Dublin. They would recommend taking part in this program if one has the means to.

“It’s a wonderful, magical city where you really feel you have a uniquely Irish experience every time you walk out the door,” Morrow said. “Having done study-abroad programs in other places besides Dublin, I always come back to Dublin. It’s my favorite.”

The Cinema Studies in Dublin study-abroad program will be returning in summer 2016. It is open to all students at sophomore, junior or senior standing with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Interested students can attend an Ed Abroad 101 session led in East Hall. Check the Ed Abroad Office’s calendar of events for dates and times to learn more.