Vote Now to Select the 2018 Study Abroad Film Festival Winner

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IES Abroad
October 1, 2018
IES Study Abroad Film Festival 2018 VOTE NOW

A music video that will move you (I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying). A screenplay that will keep you in suspense. An incredible journey through New Zealand that will fill your heart with joy.

Meet the Finalists of our 2018 Study Abroad Film Festival!

  • Philip Baites | Tangier to Casablanca (IES Abroad Rabat – Study in Rabat, Academic Year 2017-18 | University of Tennessee – Knoxville)
  • Penn Harrison | One Night in Barcelona (IES Abroad Barcelona – Liberal Arts & Business, Spring 2018 | University of Texas at Austin)
  • Erik Patak | Happiness Only Real When Shared (IES Abroad Auckland – University of Auckland, Fall 2017 | University of Rochester)

Our 5th annual Film Festival received more than 96 submissions–the most-ever submitted to the Film Festival–and we couldn’t be more impressed with our students’ creativity! Our jury of highly esteemed IES Abroad alumni and staff in the film industry selected this year’s finalists based on production quality, entertainment, originality, and their ability to capture the spirit of study abroad.

We have our top three, but who will take home the grand prize? It’s up to you.

Watch the Finalists’ films, vote for your favorite, and share with your friends. The winning film will be announced live at our 2018 Study Abroad Film Festival Event hosted by Kate Flannery (best known for her nine seasons as Meredith on NBC’s hit show The Office) on November 7th at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive $1500 and the other two Finalists will take home $500 each. Voting begins October 1 and ends November 5.

 Vote Now*  

Watch the Films

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Tangier to Casablanca

Tangier to Casablanca*

Philip Baites (IES Abroad Rabat, Academic Year 2017-18 | University of Tennessee – Knoxville)

In Philip’s Words:

“This original song and film encapsulates my nine month study abroad with IES Abroad Rabat in Morocco. Featuring a train ride, Chefchaouen (the “Blue City”), Rabat, the Sahara Desert, cameos by two sweet neighbor girls, my Arabic professor, and my precious host mother, Doha, as the central character, “Tangier to Casablanca” is a story of pain, joy, longing, and journeys intertwining. Two months after I arrived in Morocco, my host mother received news that her father unexpectedly passed away in Canada. Ultimately, this tragedy led to a bond formed between us, while also teaching me a valuable lesson. We are all on a journey. And it’s not the places or sites seen that have the lasting impact on us. It’s the people.”

What Our Jury Said:

“We have seen music videos before, but this one is the first original song I recall. Philip is a talented songwriter who delivers a moving story about his host mother, and he is an excellent musician as well. The videography is carefully synched with the lyrics and captures the beauty of Morocco equally against the melancholic narrative. Finally, Philip truly ‘captures the spirit of Study Abroad’ by showing his audience the profound impact the time with his host family has upon him over the more common travel narratives we see in many entries.”

— Leland L’Hote (IES Abroad Program Dean & Former Film Studies Professor)

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One Night in Barcelona

Penn Harrison (IES Abroad Barcelona, Spring 2018 | University of Texas at Austin)

In Penn’s Words:

“British spies, time travel, and the Spanish Civil War collide on one mysterious night in Barcelona.”

What Our Jury Said:

“Brilliant, provocative, and thrilling. It does not spoon-feed its audience but makes you stay engaged throughout the film. I may have to watch the film several more times to catch every nuance, so it demonstrates depth. It captures the spirit of study abroad and interacting with the locals which is something that is often hard to capture in dialogue. Loved every minute.”

— Ismael Byers* (2017 Film Festival Grand Prize Winner)

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Happiness Only Real When Shared

Erik Patak (IES Abroad Auckland, Fall 2017 | University of Rochester)

In Erik’s Words:

“What really makes study abroad worth it? When I made the decision to study abroad, I was in it for the awesome hikes and natural beauty of New Zealand. I thought the hard part was going to be meeting people and adjusting to a new place. By the end of my experience, my perspective had shifted. Though I did awesome treks through the backcountry and saw the most beautiful sights I've ever seen, it was the people I traveled with which made studying abroad a real adventure. Chris McCandles, immortalized in the book and movie "Into the Wild", famously is quoted with "happiness only real when shared." To be sure, you can appreciate being alone, but sharing a memory with someone else makes it that much more special. And, in the end, I found that saying goodbye to the wonderful people I met in New Zealand was harder than walking away from any great hike. People make the place.”

What Our Jury Said:

“Makes me wish I had more than two thumbs to stick up.  This is a smart and entertaining film that shows real talent and skill.  A lot of work went into this -- and pre-planning, since the narration was not added later but shot on location and knew where it was going.  Wonderful variety of camera techniques and tricks.  Excellent editing.  Loved the maps, the music choices, the cloud montages.  The ending ranks as one of the best 90 seconds of vacation clips.  The film and the on-screen filmmaker exhibit a confidently warm and goofy charm.”           

Willard Huyck (Writer, Director & Producer, Academy Award Nominee)

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Walk the Red Carpet

After you vote, be sure to grab your ticket to the Film Festival event ($20 – adults, and $7 – students), which is in benefit of IES Abroad Scholarships.

Join us on November 7th at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and meet the student filmmakers, mingle with IES Abroad staff and alumni, and be the only one of your friends to ever be in the same room as Kate Flannery from The Office!

Who will be our 2018 Study Abroad Film Festival Grand Prize Winner? We can't wait to find out. Submit your vote today!

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