Semester at Sea student creates video sailing on the Amazon River

May 14, 2012

Cinema major William Haddad took advantage of his semester studying abroad to compile a short video of his riverboat trip on the Amazon River.

Students participating with Haddad in the Semester at Sea program spent three days sailing from Manaus to the Rio Negro, exploring the rainforest and sleeping in hammocks on the boat each night.

“My goal was to create a montage that captured as much of the feelings, emotions and overall tone that Brazil gives off,” said Haddad, hoping to replicate a mood of quiet and pensive wonder at the sights of the Amazon rainforest.

Of the many study abroad opportunities here at McDaniel, the Semester at Sea is the one of the most unique – giving students direct access to 11 different countries in 105 days. From January to May 2012, students visited the Bahamas, Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Viet Nam, China, Japan, Hawaii and San Diego, Calif.

Haddad, a Pasadena, Calif., native, shot the footage in January and February, and spent days editing it together. Just recently it was chosen to be featured on the Semester at Sea Voyage blog found here.

“Being able to edit videos like this one means a lot to me personally and my reputation on the whole,” he said.

What he liked most about the Amazon was the simple lifestyle of the villagers, living a quiet consistent life between the rainforest and the river. As his guide said, “They are poor, but not miserable.”

Haddad describes the study abroad experience as enjoyable and interesting as well as challenging and demanding.

“When I was in Ghana I met a filmmaker named Afrika who possessed more determination, potential, and creativity than half the working directors n Hollywood right now,” he said. “But his brilliant qualities were held down by the limits of both his societal resources and his family obligations. It was truly harsh to see such a wonderful mind suppressed.”

Haddad’s favorite country was Japan because of its ability to be both “technologically wondrous and full of life and at the same time have places of great serenity, peace and tradition,” he said.

After graduating next year, Haddad hopes to study at Chapman University in California as a graduate film student. Haddad’s big dream is to eventually become a Film Editor for Hollywood films, independent documentaries, or an HBO Series.

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