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UA seniors film documentaries abroad

Alexandra Ellsworth

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/ Submitted photo”][/caption]Studying abroad is no easy task in itself, but add to that finding and filming a culturally significant story, and it becomes even more of a challenge.

Two UA students will be showing the documentaries they made while studying abroad as a part of the University Honors class International Documenting Justice tonight at 7 p.m. at the Bama Theatre.

Seniors Alexandra Tucci and Meredith Wildes devoted two on-campus semesters and one study abroad term to completing the class.

Tucci, who is majoring in international studies and advertising, went to Italy to film for her documentary.

“It’s a personal documentary about how difficult it is to preserve the past,” she said. “I examine Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, ‘The Last Supper,’ and my own family’s heritage.”

In addition to caring a heavy tripod and video camera across Italy, Tucci said the class itself was also very challenging. Tucci said one of the most difficult things was having to work alone.

“Although I spoke with Meredith frequently while shooting via Skype and edited beside her often here in Tuscaloosa, you don’t have a partner like in the Alabama Documenting Justice classes,” she said. “But I feel that this has been one of the most difficult and yet empowering things I’ve ever done.”

Wildes’ documentary is about a bread bakery in Morroco. Wildes, who is majoring in international studies and French, said her film explores the loss of tradition in Morocco as women embrace becoming more involved in the workforce.

“In Morocco, they have community bakeries,” Wildes said. “Women make their bread at home, and then they bring it to the bakery to bake. With more people working, bakeries are shutting down. With the changing role of women in society, they lose a sense of tradition. My film explores that struggle to hold onto tradition, while still moving forward.”

For Wildes, shooting in a foreign country alone was no easy task either. With the North African world in turmoil, people were already on edge, making it hard for her to openly film.

“I could not film a lot on the streets,” Wildes said. “But the bakery was a closed space so I could openly film there.”

Both students agreed that they learned valuable things from Andrew Grace, the professor who teaches International Documenting Justice.

“Andrew Grace is a phenomenal professor,” Tucci said. “He constantly challenges his students to reach their full potential.”

For Grace, it was more about the process of creating the film and learning to tell a story than the final result.

“They are very courageous,” Grace said about his students. “They went to foreign countries by themselves to make a movie. Few students have the guts to do what they did.”

“Studying abroad is already an amazing, immersive experience,” Tucci said. “It’s a big commitment, but in my experience, it was totally worth it. International Documenting Justice was the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”[caption id=”attachment_26910″ align=”alignright” width=”200″ caption=”UA senior Meredith Wildes made a documentary in Meknes, Morocco. The fi lm will be screened at the Bama Theatre tonight.

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UA seniors film documentaries abroad