Havana in Focus

Monday, Oct 2, 2017

L-R: From Tisch Special Programs, Mariangela Lardaro and MaryAnn Talavera; photography alumnae Sarah Schecker and Jasmine Lucy; and ITP designer Carlie Zhang
Photo courtesy of Tisch Special Programs

During the week of September 18, Tisch Special Programs highlighted the study abroad opportunities offered in Havana, Cuba with a photography exhibit and documentary film screening. 

We collaborated with Carlie Zhang, a student in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, to create Havana Reflection, an interactive showcase of alumni work from the Tisch program Photography on Location: Havana. Alumni photo essays were projected into rearview mirrors, an allusion to the iconography of the classic cars so often seen around Havana.

On Tuesday, September 19, we hosted an artist meet and greet in the lobby of 721 Broadway. Wilfredo Benitez, Executive Director of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, our partner in Havana, attended along with Carlie and alumni Dora Chen, Melissa Costidis, Jasmine Lucy, and Sarah Schecker. 

Havana Reflections Showcase
Photo by MaryAnn Talavera

Later that evening, Tisch Special Programs hosted the second #TischTravels Film Series, showcasing the final alumni films from Documentary Video Production in Havana. Ezra Sacks, Chair of the Undergraduate Film & Television department, welcomed the audience and gave a brief introduction about the program, which began in 2004. 

Undergraduate Film Chair Ezra Sacks gives a brief introduction before the screening.
Photo by Mariangela Lardaro

Five films were screened, including the 2016 New Visions & Voices winner Harlista Libre, created by Hunter Williams. There was a Q & A after the screening with video documentary alumni Julien Devlin and Georgia Krause, as well as Wilfredo Benitez and the program instructors, Tim Metzger and Jennifer Redfearn. 

L-R: Wilfredo Benitez, Julien Devlin, Georgia Krause, Jennifer Redfearn, and Tim Metzger
Photo by Virginia Gonzalez

The panelists discussed the unique experience of studying and working in Cuba. "[The program] provides you a lot of growth as a person and you learn undoubtedly a bunch through the experience sort of being there and being able to do work there," Julien Devlin said.

Georgia Krause added, "The resources you have, I think, through the Foundation are really unlike anything else that I’ve experienced at Tisch. The amount of like closeness you have with the faculty and also because The Ludwig Foundation is one of the most well-connected places in Havana, and Wilfredo and Helmo and everyone else at the Foundation, all of the professors really go out of their way to make sure that you have the resources and also just the knowledge and the background cultural information that you need to really make some cool stuff."

During the program, the students from Tisch work alongside Cuban students who are creating their own films as well as serving as cultural liaisons. About their collaboration Georgia said, "When you’re both bringing something to the table, it’s really invaluable. I think it was the best part of the program, the Cuban students being in class with us."

In regards to the location itself, Professor Tim Metzger said, "Cuba offers a much more interesting contrast I would say to the life that you live here, so if you’re looking for that, if you’re looking to sort of stretch yourself and your own experiences, Cuba would be a very interesting place to go."

Tisch Special Programs has one more #TischTravels film series event planned this semester. Join us on Tuesday, November 7 as we screen films from the Experimental Filmmakers Workshop in Paris

Documentary Video Production in Havana is offered each spring semester. Photography: On Location in Havana runs during the spring semester and as a four-week program in the summer.

The application for spring 2018 is open until Monday, October 2, 2017. Visit Tisch Special Programs Admissions for more application information.