Aquinnah Crosby

This past semester, I studied film production at the film school FAMU in Prague, Czech Republic, alongside a cohort of 19 students. With the help of resources from Syracuse University, I earned a spot in the prestigious 35mm section, where I was able to work in an advanced environment. Each student was instructed to pitch a film, and only five were selected to be produced, while the remaining students joined one of the five crews. My pitch was selected as one of the five stories, and I was able to write and direct a short film. I worked with a student from Syracuse as the cinematographer and a student from Cornell as my assistant director. The work was very intensive, with the first month consisting of classes 7 days a week for 12 hours. The work then morphed into film groups working with mentors on pre-production, production, and post-production. The semester concluded with a screening of all the films at a movie theater in Prague.

The work was challenging, and I faced much adversity, but ultimately, with the help of my cohort and advisors, I was able to successfully direct a short film and shoot it on 35mm film. FAMU provided us with a very limited budget to feed the cast and crew, hire actors, purchase props and costumes and more for a 3-day shoot that was 12 hours per day. When the groups ultimately went over the allotted budget, the remaining costs came out of pocket. With the scholarship provided by Honors, I was able to keep my film production afloat without making sacrifices that would impact the film set and crew.

I am incredibly proud that I was able to make a successful film in only one semester, and I plan on submitting it to film festivals this summer. My semester abroad in Prague was challenging but the skills and knowledge I gained have made me a more confident and experienced filmmaker. For my senior thesis, I am once again writing and directing a short film, and I now feel assured in my ability to do so. I am grateful to Syracuse University, the Renée Crown Honors Program, and CET at FAMU for supporting my education this past semester in the Czech Republic.

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