Opportunity in Mexico

11 Apr

There I am, sitting in a small airplane on my way to the campus of UWC-USA. A buzzing sound comes from my laptop, which I placed on my lap after sitting down. As I review the pictures I took in the last twelve days, feelings of joy, gratefulness and satisfaction fill me. It was an immense experience, which actually started half a year ago.

On a Saturday morning in October 2013, my film teacher John Sheedy approached me in the cafeteria. While I scooped oatmeal into my bowl, he told me about a film festival he organizes in Álamos, a city in Mexico. My Photoshop skills would be incredibly useful with the designing of the poster, he said. Surprised by this sudden request, I placed my bowl of oatmeal on the table, looked at him and said, “Of course, I want to help”.

In the months after that, I walked up to John’s house every now and then. By February I had, with the guidance from John, not only designed the poster, but also the official festival T-shirt and the promotional video. At one of those nights, Sandra, John’s wife and the secretary of the festival, said to me after finishing the banner, “Wooh! You worked so much for the festival. Now you actually need to come down with us.”

A visa, a plane and a rental car later, I got my first impression of Mexico, which mainly consisted of mountains, car washers at the gas stations, and many abandoned houses. When we drove through the arcs of Álamos, John pointed at a huge banner. Seeing my design on such a big banner woke up my “yes”-feeling, which took over my feelings for the whole week. Fun seemed to be everywhere in that beautiful city, from hanging up banners and posters to participating in the workshops. The instructive workshop on the documentary making was a space to meet many new people interested in film. Chatting in Spanish about film changed my ideas about film positivity as well as my level of Spanish. Being the official reporter of the festival gave me the opportunity to photograph, film and meet many interesting people. John introduced me to directors, actors, film teachers, mayors and the local inhabitants. A unique opportunity was the chance they gave me into the core of a festival organisation.

The documentaries I saw stimulated my curiosity and that of many others. The amazement and awareness among the audience, which arose frequently, inspired me. When a certain documentary still stayed in my thoughts after several days, I realized that is also the main goal of my interview series “In the Picture”. I realize this is what I want to do: I want to capture and share.

“Can you close your laptop? We are going to land in Albuquerque,” the stewardess looks at me with a friendly smile. I scroll fast over some more pictures and close my laptop. Unique is the word that pops up in my mind. The hospitality of the Mexican people and above all of John and his family, the role I took in the festival organization as the official festival reporter. Suddenly I realize this is direct result of the scholarship I received a year ago for UWC-USA. The scholarship gave me access to a new school, where I met John and became student leader of his film class. A new school which provides opportunities and where experiences like mine are made.

– Floor Fiers

Promo video

Posters

poster

Afbeelding

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