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Guest post by: Hector Garcia, Film & Media Arts student
Never in my life did I imagine I would make it to the big screen, and yet there I was standing in front of a packed theater answering questions about my film that was just shown. It was the highlight of an unforgettable experience in Genova, Italy. Genova is city rich in history, art, tradition, culture and, of course, food. It is also the backdrop for a wonderful program that University of Utah students embark on every summer. While the Genovese are going about their daily business, “U” students are busy running around the city, tripods in hand, trying to capture their next beautiful shot. With so much inspiration around them, the opportunities are limitless.
For the last several years, Genova has played host to the ‘Film and Media Arts in Italy’ program. I have been fortunate enough to participate in the program for the past two summers and have come away with some of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Genova has truly become a home away from home. Unlike many big Italian cities, Genova does not play host to thousands upon thousands of tourists every day. In fact, you’re lucky to come across a group of tourists a couple of times a week. This allows for a truly authentic Italian experience. Instruction and classes only take place in the morning, so the rest of the day was ours for the taking. During this time, I would go on walks and explore the city and its beautiful surroundings. Through these adventures, I grew a love for the city that is unparalleled and used it as inspiration for my film.
With my friend Kellie, we set out to show the world the beauty of Genova. The project took us from the charm of the city center, to the hustle and bustle of the port, to the scenic cliffs of Nervi, to the beautiful blue waters of Arenzano, and everywhere in between. We tried to capture Genova as we see it and show the Genovese how amazing and impactful their city is.
We were lucky this year to have garnered attention from the locals and were featured in the newspaper and on TV. Seeing my face in the culture section of an Italian newspaper was mindboggling. Even more mindboggling was when they told us we were going to have a film festival of sorts and that the public was invited. We packed the house. Every single seat in that theater was full. To see how much the locals actually cared meant a lot. And you know what was the best part? Having some of the older folks in the audience thank us for showing them the beauty of Genova. One woman who talked to me said that times were kind of rough at the moment for the Genovese and that our film was truly a ray of light on the city. That conversation will forever be in my heart and I will never forget this summer.