Every two years, the Film and Media Arts Department organizes a J-Term trip to a foreign country. This year, the International Production class is flying to Portugal.
Previous International Production trips have been to Rwanda, Ecuador, Guatemala and Liberia. Steve Bailey, a film and media professor, spearheads these trips, providing students with a more global perspective. This is countercultural to what America teaches students, Bailey said.
“We live in a global society, so it is very important to have international competency,” Bailey said.
Before coming to Taylor, Bailey worked in a role that required international travel and filmmaking for his company. For him, being responsible for a large group of students in another country was a challenge, but one that is rewarding, he said.
Choosing Portugal as a location was an opportunity that practically fell into his hands. One of Bailey’s previous colleagues, Brandon Dickerson, started a refuge in Portugal. Bailey and Dickerson talked more and decided that Portugal would be this year’s choice for International Production.
“This is an opportunity to go visit with someone that I know will take care of us, and will be in a cool location,” Bailey said.
Bailey said that it is important for students on this trip to be able to adapt to change. The class will participate in a fiction project as well as documentary ones.
Bailey claims that the class is not just international documentary production, but international production. He stressed the importance of storytelling in all forms of media and production.
“You need to be open to hearing people’s stories and respecting how they tell them, and how they interact with you,” Bailey said.
Film and media arts professor, Lincoln Reed, will be joining the international team this year. This is his first international production trip. Reed will be working alongside Bailey, providing additional help as well as learning how to manage the class.
Reed’s personal philosophy toward making films and other productions is that it is best to learn in the field. What excites Reed is that the international team is producing a narrative film, as well as documentaries — projects they’ve had experience with in the past.
“In some ways, this trip is pioneering new ground with what this offers to students,” Reed said. “We get to enjoy collaborating with each other on a fiction project.”
Reed hopes that students leave the trip with great footage that they could use to add to their senior portfolio, a highly coveted project for any film major’s career. Reed will be largely involved with leading the group, as well as helping out with the creative writing aspects of the various projects.
One of the students joining the trip is senior Ethan Coppel, a film and media arts major. Coppel is a member of the team that is filming the fiction project alongside Reed.
“This would be the coolest way to get my cross-cultural credit,” Coppel said. “I am going to film a movie in Portugal.”
Coppel hopes to create a film that authentically reflects a different language and culture. He is excited not only to film in another country, but to also film in Portugal.
The class, which is split into three groups – two documentaries, one fiction – leaves for Portugal on Jan. 2, and is slated to return on Jan. 21. The class meets every week to discuss their projects, as well as participate in team building exercises to bond the travelers.