On September 20, 2013 the Department of Communications sponsored a field trip to Rome’s world famous film studio, Cinecittà. Attending was an international group of students (Albania, Serbia, Italy and US) led by professors Federica Capoferri and Antonio Lopez. The field trip complements the Department’s Fall offerings, which include Cinematic Rome, Introduction to Cinema, and Digital Media Culture.
Deemed “Hollywood on the Tiber,” Cinecittà is deeply connected to Rome’s culture and history. Most notably it was home to the great Italian film director, Federico Fellini. Important productions include Ben-Hur (1959), La Dolce Vita (1960), Cleopatra (1963), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).
Students had an opportunity to tour outdoor sets used for a variety of productions that recreate the ancient Roman forum, Egypt, Florence and Verona. In addition there is a section with streets from historical cities, including New York, Paris and Los Angeles. The sets are currently used for a variety of productions including television, film, commercials, documentaries and magazine shoots. In addition students visited an onsite museum that demonstrates various aspects of filmmaking, including editing, cinematography, sound, costumes, set-design and scriptwriting.
As a regular part of activities sponsored by the Department of Communications, the field trip is offered every semester and is open to any communications students. The unique tour is an integral part of the Department of Communications' academic approach. Students are able to see firsthand the historical context of films they study, and experience a source of important Italian social history. In addition, cinema students get a behind-the-scene peek into how films are made, learning about the art of illusion, artistic collaboration and the material reality of film production. Furthermore, the activities (and fate) of the studio are contextualized within the history and reality of a globalized media business. Finally, by exploring films sets, students move beyond textbook descriptions to understand viscerally how media are created through artifice, craftsmanship and artistic practices within a historical and social environment.