Annamarie in Prague

Annamarie is a junior and an SMU Distinguished Scholar who is spending spring 2012 in Prague, the Czech Republic. She is attending the CET Film Production program with SMU Abroad. She is looking forward to working with film students from all over the world at Prague’s highly competitive Film and Television School (FAMU).

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Five more weeks of Prague

Streets of Amsterdam

It seems like mere days ago that I was sitting at Bread Winner’s café with my parents, grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the airport and getting on a plane that would take me to Prague.

Wow.

The past few days have been a time of reflection for me. With five weeks left in this city, I am both excited to return home to my friends and family (and shower, and bed, and the English language), and sad to leave behind a place I have fallen in love with and people who have quickly become some of my closest friends. We are all avoiding the subject of our inevitable departure and trying to really enjoy our final month here.

With friends at our apartment

Now, although five weeks seem short compared to an entire four months abroad, we still have four whole days to continue making memories and to finally make our films. 816 long hours. 48,960 full minutes that I will most certainly not take for granted.

Two weekends ago I travelled with a few of my friends to the Las Vegas of the European Union: Amsterdam. Connected by canals, teeming with bicyclists and echoing bike bells, and composed of dark-brick buildings with white trim, Amsterdam could definitely compete with Prague for a “most beautiful city to ever exist” award. While in Amsterdam we spent our days proudly being as touristy as possible.

We visited the Anne Frank house – where the Frank family was in hiding until their location was betrayed and they were taken to concentration camps – and also took part in the Heineken Experience at the Heineken museum/brewery. Being the dorky film students that we are, we spent a solid 30 minutes watching Heineken commercials. We watched them all, from the vintage Heineken originals to the more elaborate and comedic commercials that air today; the behind the scenes and the extras, which showed humorous interviews with all of the characters. I have to say, we were quite impressed and entertained.

So close to the lemurs!

On Sunday, before we had to catch our overnight train back to Prague, we took a trip to the Amsterdam Zoo. From lions to lemurs to overweight seals, the zoo was the best way to end our trip, and after a 15-hour train ride, a shower, and a bite to eat we were back in a classroom, tired but ready to get back to work.

This past week we completed all of our core classes, so the majority of our time is being spent either in our elective courses or in group meetings, where we are finalizing our scripts, working on storyboards, talking with our production manager, and getting everything ready for our upcoming shoot. As the director of photography/cinematographer in my group, my main responsibility right now is storyboarding and composing a shot list. We shoot in just 11 days, so over the next 72 hours I will be spending a lot of quality time with the script, a pen and blank sheets of paper.

Springtime in Prague

It is exciting and terrifying and daunting and awesome all at the same time. And although I could definitely happily stay here for another year, I know my parents, my friends, and my dog, Sparky, are ready to have me home. So I have about a month to continue pretending that I am, in fact, a Czech citizen, and to take in as much as I can from this invaluable experience!

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