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International Film Series connects Camosun with Brazilian students

June 21, 2013 by Greg Pratt, editor-in-chief

Like everything else in 2013, Camosun’s International Film Series started with an email.

After a visit to Brazil in November 2012, Tom Roemer, vice president of strategic development at Camosun, sent out the idea to some peers: a series of events that screen films and have a follow-up lecture teleconferenced between Camosun and a school in Brazil.

Camosun students and staff connect with Brazilian students and staff during a movie screening (photo Camosun AV Services).

Camosun students and staff connect with Brazilian students during a movie screening (photo Camosun AV Services).

It didn’t take long for the idea to take off. The first event happened on May 17, where students watched a screening of The Clown; on June 7, it was New In Town. Next up: The Gods Must Be Crazy on June 21 and Intouchables on July 5.

“I expressed interest and signed up to work on the project,” says Camosun ESL instructor Bruce McCormack, who was soon involved in the process of selecting the films to be screened at the series.

“The process we went through to select films was quite a lengthy one,” he says. On the one hand, in keeping with the theme of the project [movies, culture, and work], we needed to choose films whose main characters are involved in work of some kind, so that the lecturers could discuss the challenges and rewards involved in doing such work. We also needed films that are readily available in both Canada and Portugal, with English subtitles for us and Portuguese subtitles for those in Brazil.”

McCormack says that because of this, a number of Canadian films that would have been chosen were not.

“In the end, we opted for a movie filmed in Brazil, The Clown, in Portuguese with English subtitles; a movie filmed in Canada, though set in Minnesota, New in Town; and several additional movies set in two other cultures, The Gods Must Be Crazy and The Intouchables.

The other school that will be involved in these events is Instituto Federal Rio Grande Do Sul (IFRS) in Porto Alegre, in southeastern Brazil.

Professor Cl‡udia Estima, an ESL teacher at IFRS, was already in the process of getting a series started entitled “Movies, Culture and the World of Work” and was looking to have her students watch the movies and then interact with students at a school on a different continent.

Enter Camosun, who were excited to be involved, even though it hasn’t been smooth sailing every step of the way.

“Here at Camosun, we’re very fortunate to have faculty member Mice Albano on staff and working on this project,” says McCormack. “Mice, another ESL instructor in the ELD department, is originally from Brazil and is, therefore, fluent in Portuguese. Mice’s participation in the project has been invaluable in helping to smooth out the inevitable linguistic challenges that arise in coordinating a project that involves two languages.”

For Albano, the challenge wasn’t just translation. It was going beyond translation.

“Whenever we are dealing with two cultures, we use translation but we also interpret,” says Albano. “I see this challenge of dealing with two languages more like an exciting experience because we are looking at the movies from different cultural perspectives. We had students from many different countries in the audience and they were able to bring their perspective into the discussion.”

Albano says that because of where the movies are set, the students are able to offer a lot of insights in the post-movie discussion.

“We were able to discuss the universal issues and the specific issues for different cultures,” she says. “For me, it is always a rich learning experience to listen to students bring in their interpretation, too. Some of the students from the Philippines found the setting and the relationships in The Clown very similar to some in their home country.”

Finding commonalities and exploring and understanding differences is at the heart of this series, a unique idea that Camosun students should be proud that their school is involved in.

“This event will bring movies from different countries,” says Albano. “The discussions are what make them even more special.”

International Film Series
3 pm June 21 and July 5
Lansdowne Library Multipurpose Room 151

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