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Dialogue of Civilizations: English Culture & Documentary Filmmaking

Michelle Carr, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies, recently led another successful Dialogue of Civilizations to London, where Northeastern students had the opportunity to get familiar with the people and culture of England, produce a film – and this year, experience the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. 

During this Dialogue, students grow familiar with the people and the culture of England as well as the British Empire, with an emphasis on the city of London and England’s vast history. They interact with local citizens and collaborate with their classmates to produce and edit short documentary on a subject of their choice. Throughout the time abroad, London serves as the classroom and students are out on the streets each day interacting with locals to produce their films while they are learning about the history of England.

Given London’s vibrant art, music, architecture, and history, it is one of the greatest cities in the world to film a documentary. Its people are diverse in religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, class, and nationality which opens the door to many ideas and topics to cover.

This year, students landed on the following topics:

The London Blitz.
Produced by: Lana Lamar, Casey Leffers, Anya Flood-Taylor, Sarah Kim, Monica Wu, Lily Mittnight, Simoni Garg

This film explored the history of the London Blitz, which were a series of night time bombing raids against London and other British cities by Nazi Germany during World War II. It looked at how this major event in English history changed the culture of London and how those changes and the resilience of the people is still seen in London today when the city is faced with acts of terrorism.

The Royal Family in the Public Eye. 
Produced by: Cecilia Dakers, Alyssa Lukpat, Meghana Kartham, Wanqi Yi, Gianna Barberia, Kaitlyn Baldeo

This film explored the story of the British royal family’s shift over the past 100 years from reclusive “heads of state” to post WWI and WWII cultural figureheads. It explores the role of the royal family and uses the backdrop of Prince Harry’s wedding to gauge their popularity and relevance to English culture today.

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. 
Produced by: Richard Tu, Ryan Dent, Simone Weisman, Matt Pashkowsky, KeYu Zhuang, Ian Filaski

 This film explored the events leading up to the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 led by Guy Fawkes, an attempt of the Catholics to assassinate James I of England by blowing up Parliament and overthrow the monarchy. Looking at the history and legacy it has left behind and the celebration of Bonfire Night today.

The Hollow City. 
Produced by: Lukas Illion, Charlise Koch, Morgan Mapstone, Tess McCallum, Michael Mendez, Gabrielle Peterson, Jonny Rasch

 This film explored the London housing crisis, specifically looking at the people that work to help find shelter and give resources to those affected by poor housing conditions. By looking at the background of the crisis and how London’s communities and officials are either helping or, in some cases, ignoring the issue. Looking at how organizations are taking a main role in battling the housing crisis first-hand, as they have been quick in response in comparison to legislators.

Check out some great photos from the trip, below!

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