UCL Global


UCL students learn film making in Rio

Four UCL students attended the prestigious Rio Film School in July 2011, an opportunity made possible with sponsorship from Santander Universities’ Summer School in Latin America programme.

Selected from a large number of applicants from across the university, the students produced the film Snapshots of Sexuality during their stay in the Brazilian city.

Tackling the subject of ‘Intercultural Diversity in Contemporary Brazil’, a topic closely related to one of UCL's Grand Challenges, the team explored the topic of diversity in Rio.

“UCL wanted us to focus on cultural diversity”, said Joana Clemens (UCL Modern Languages), “but we wanted to go beyond the contrast of the poor and rich.”

As the Film School was located in Lapa, a bohemian neighbourhood of Rio, the students were influenced by Brazilian culture, and the wild street parties that take place at the weekends.

Joana said: “As we went to Lapa on a Friday night we realised how open people seemed to be about their sexuality, yet most Brazilian families are strictly Catholic. We then decided to explore how well homosexuals were integrated into Brazilian society, looking at different areas in Rio.”

Set up in 2008 by former UCL student Dorian Needs, the Rio Film School offers four-week courses in the making of high quality documentaries, gaining access to locations all across Rio.

Fitting in everything from the development of ideas, storyboarding, filming and editing, the UCL team managed to put together the whole film from start to finish in four weeks, developing skills in leadership, team working and negotiation.

Talking about the experience, Lukas Georgiou said: “The staff were amazing and went beyond the call of duty to provide us a great experience. I also learned a lot of Portuguese and a great deal about Brazilian culture that I would never have learned were I just on a holiday.”

The four students selected were Alice Sephton (UCL English), Joana Clemens (UCL Modern Languages), Matthew Hearle (UCL Geography) and Lukas Georgiou (UCL Anthropology).

Snapshots of Sexuality was screened at the Bloomsbury Theatre in November 2011. It also made the shortlist at the 2012 London Student Film Festival.

Watch Snapshots of Sexuality: