The Dubai International Airport is often nicknamed “where the east meets west” as it is the one of the largest hubs for the Middle East. Dubai itself has become well known over the past decade with the rapid development of the city. Between the world’s tallest skyscraper, man-made islands shaped like different things, and innovative architecture, the city has seen an influx of tourism and commerce.
Privilege – Something many college students and Americans in general overlook. Something that is taken for granted, because we’re all born with roofs above our heads and warm meals every night for dinner. Something that millions of people dream about every day, because they don’t have it.
I’m currently flying in a giant metal box, 37,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, destined for a country I have never been to; and quite frankly never thought I would ever go to in my lifetime. I started out this year having been out of the country once, and now I will check off ten new countries from my list by the year’s end. We’re about to fly over Europe, a place I had privileged enough to spend 15 weeks in this year. A place where I was fortunate enough to meet some influential people, which have provided me with new outlets to pursue my passions in media.
I met Villanova Professor Mafodda during a short “photo walk” in Rome last spring. He spoke to me about a Digital Image Production course that he teaches at Villanova, so I immediately expressed my interest in the course. Unfortunately, the class had been full, so he introduced me to another professor in the Communication department, Hezekiah Lewis. Professor Lewis teaches a Social Justice Documentary course that is essentially a student run production team conceptualizing, shooting, editing, and promoting their documentary. This year’s documentary was set up with a non-profit organization called Profugo, based out of Ardmore, PA (where I live!). They are working to help build a sustainable community in Wayanad, India based on a three=pronged center of human development model. I was excited to be involved with something new to me – shooting a documentary, but I was also excited about the potential to travel to India to collect footage!
So in short, over the last six weeks, our production team (Teahouse Films) has worked together to prepare for a trip out to India. My role on the team is the Production Manager, and am in charge of a lot of the logistical aspects of the team (equipment, schedules, etc). Along with this role, I will get to continue my passion for still photography, by collecting behind the scenes shots and shots of the area in general (which you will see here!). I will include Teahouse Films’ proposal package at the bottom of this post to give everyone an idea of our goals for this project, along with some background information on the place we are going.
Once all travel plans were finalized, and I had my visa in hand, I was still struggling to wrap my head around the fact that I was getting the chance to travel half-way around the world. I am a privileged college student – one who is surrounded by the selfless support of numerous professors, family members, friends, mentors, and generous donors to give me this opportunity. “Do I really deserve this?” I always keep this in the back of my head, because this year has opened up my perspective on the world so much, and I have been trying to not take anything for granted, and trying to make sure that I put 110% into everything so I feel like I can say “yes” to that question. It’s something that a lot of people in my generation have forgotten, clouded by their little bubbles and filtered by all the of media in the United States. “Can I make a difference?” A simple, but honest question. Another one that many would say yes to, but don’t actually put any effort towards. Life isn’t a waiting room. (Except for long airport layovers… After this ~12 hour flight is over, we’ll have a ~7 hour layover in Dubai for on our last flight destined for Calicut, India).
SO, we will be shooting footage for our Documentary over the next two weeks. I will be putting my best effort into uploading a new post every day, including photos from the day. India is nine and a half hours ahead of the US, so odds are most posts will be written and submitted around early afternoon in the US.
Feel free to ask me any questions about our documentary, my travel experiences, or anything in general in the comments! You can also head over to the Contact Page for others ways to get in touch with me.