A group in my class produced a wonderful short little documentary on the experiences and lives of a few international students, here in Melbourne. Please have a look below!
Perhaps my favorite part of this video was its visual production quality. It was a joy on the eyes to watch – at no point was a scene lit poorly, and great care was taken into the cinematography. I mention this, not to be condescending, but because I was so impressed, I could not believe this was done by amateurs for a university project! The only parts that gave it away were some aspects of editing during the interviews, where words or sounds were clipped too early. There were also some jarring edits when it came to the B-Roll ground footage, but the beautiful cinematography made up for it.
In terms of content, I was very impressed with the selection of interviewees. I enjoyed that we got to hear the story from someone from a completely different language and cultural background, and someone from a very similar background, with whom we locals wouldn’t normally notice any differences. I was pleasantly rewarded with little anecdotes about navigating the accent, or the search for the best replica of a good home-cooked meal (spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist), or the fact that Melbourne cigarettes cost almost as much as a car in Indonesia! (But not really.)
(I suppose, though, if I had to be absolutely nit-picky, Yuri strange and unsolicited interpretation of an African American accent was a touch awkward. The thing is, I know Yuri, so I wasn’t even confused!)
I think that the video touched on the issues that a university student faces very well – it’s not about a migrant family, or someone on exchange; it’s about youthful international students living here. The issues that they faced were akin to issues all youths face when in a new environment: isolation, loneliness, the cultural shock…the JET-LAG. The video focused on these aspects, rather than more mature issues like “job hunting” or “house buying”. It was refreshing to see that the problems we locals face are reflected in our international counterparts.
I use “we locals” and “them internationals” very, very casually, because the most well constructed part of the video was that it did not segregate based on the passport that the person holds. It was more about the differences in cultural habits, rather than the fact that they are from another country, or that things here are so different. At no point, watching the video, was I made to feel that these characters didn’t feel like they could proudly call themselves Australians if they were so inclined. This is an aesthetic that many, many projects that tackle the issue of nationality seem to never be able to grasp.
Great work, guys!