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Hernandez ’16 gets rich film learning in Prague

Juan Sebastian Hernandez '16

Juan Sebastian Hernandez '16 got a rich educational experience in film through Emerson's Prague Summer Film Program this summer.

Photo Credit: Lucie McCormick ’17

Los Angeles native, Juan Sebastian Hernandez ’16 doesn’t need to go far to learn about the film industry.

But the Visual and Media Arts major has longed to study abroad and jumped at the chance to attend Emerson’s Prague Summer Film Program in the Czech Republic for one month this summer.

Global Spotlight Series“It was an amazing experience and I definitely would recommend it to any future students who are thinking about it,” Hernandez said.

Headed by Senior Scholar-in-Residence Jim Lane, a longtime VMA faculty member based at Emerson College Los Angeles, the Prague Summer Film Program provides students an 8-credit, intensive filmmaking experience at FAMU, one of Europe’s top film schools.

The Prague program is one of several summer study abroad programs offered this year through the Office of Internationalization and Global Engagement, which is increasing the number of global opportunities for students.

Under the Global Pathways initiative, students this summer also studied in Greece, Mexico, Ireland, Austria, and the Emerson-owned Kasteel Well in the Netherlands.

“It was one of the most beautiful sightseeing trips of my life,” Hernandez said of Prague, as he described looking at castles dating back to the ninth century. “We got to explore the city and see some beautiful architecture.”

During his month in Prague with 21 other students, Hernandez said their days were long as they took production classes and developed short films, which were produced toward the end of the course.

“[The experience] really showed me how to work with a partner under a time crunch,” Hernandez said. “There were times we had to make really hard decisions really quickly… in order to finish in a very short amount of time.”

Hernandez and his film partner, Pablo Vaca ’17, produced the film Ines, which was about a Catholic nun who felt out of place at her convent and focused on her relationship with a fellow nun.

All of the Emerson students were separated into groups of two, and the pairs filmed a total of 11 short films.

“We had to come up with a story within the first week,” Hernandez said. “The only free time we had [during the week] was to work on developing stories and scripts, sometimes late into the night.”

The students also attended the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, where they viewed Russian, Lebanese, and Italian films. In class, students learned about Czech film history and watched accompanying films.

Hernandez, who plans to produce a film for his senior-year thesis project, said he left the trip with a stronger bond among his peers.

“This trip definitely brought us closer,” he said. “I’m about to start working on my BFA this coming year, and I see myself asking my peers from this trip for help [on that]. It was a small community we built among each other, which was probably the most powerful part of the trip.”

Editor's Note: This article is part of the twice-weekly Global Spotlight Series that examines the experiences of Emerson College students who worked or studied abroad this summer. New articles will appear Mondays and Wednesdays in August on Emerson College Today.

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