Bridgwater College Film and Media students have travelled with us in past to the Czech Republic -where they visited the vast Barrandov film studios and to the smaller VIBA studios in Slovenia. This year they opted for the gargantuan Cinecitta studios in Rome, Italy and walked amongst sets of Biblical proportions and imperial dimensions.
Flying from Bristol to Rome Fiumicino in a snowy early February, the 54 strong group were met at the airport by coach and transferred to the beach hotel of Oasa di Kufra in nearby Sabaudia which they shared with rowing teams from Russia, Austria , Belorus and the Ukraine -mainly half their age and twice their size.
|The Spread out band|
On their first night they were treated to a presentation about Italian cinema by teacher Damiano Pellegrini from nearby Nettuno- in which he specifically concentrated on the treatment of Italian Unification in the movies, and afterwards he pulled out an italian reggae band and performed on percussion with them . The students danced the night away to the excellent 'Spread Out Band' as they were called (by themselves I would add) .
The next day the students travelled to nearby Nettuno where Damiano and his students welcomed them in their school and did a presentation for them. The staff - mainly Nuns- were on hand and the headteacher handed out (and signed) copies of her book about the history of the school.
|Students in Nettuno|
Nettuno was the site of the American landings during World War 2 and so a visit to the American Cemetary and the Museum of the landings was essential followed by a visit to nearby Anzio where the British and Commonwealth troops landed and the plot of land where many of them were buried.
|on the set of 'Gangs of New York'|
The visit to Cinecitta in Rome was the highpoint of the trip and included a guided tour around the sets of the TV drama 'Rome' and the 'Gangs of New York' set (which effortlessly merged into one another) along with various other sets-including an in-production 'Romeo and Juliet' and a multi media suite which showed constant clips from famous Italian film moments.
During the afternoon the students were able to wander at leisure around the real Historical centre of Rome - which , to be honest, looked less realistic .
On the final day the group visited the town of Priverno where we have good civic contacts established through our Triangulation policy via our Czech partners in Uherske Hradiste . American-Italian guide Suzy took us on a tour of the old medieval hillside town (badly timed as it was shutting down for siesta...) and Mayor of Priverno, Umberto Macci invited the students into the Town Hall where he took part in their film documentary by answering questions about Italian politics, the Italian Media and even his favourite film (apparently 'the 1988 Italian classic 'Cinema Paradiso'). One student asked him "Why did you get involved in politics?" to which Umberto answered "This is the question I ask myself each morning as i'm shaving...."
|Mayor of Priverno, Umberto Macci|
By the day of departure the icy cold sleet had taken hold and the last few hours in Rome mainly involved lurking around the Vatican city seeking shelter. Where was a Pope when you needed one! Well, people had difficulty remembering his name as it was - but it probably wasn't the best place to ask a waiter who the Pope was these days..."And who is Queen of England!?" was the reply. Fair enough. Best check on Wikipedia....