Brothers on the Pitch

The Premiere

The FedEx Global Education Center welcomed over 300 attendees for the premiere of Uprooted. Photo Credit: Tenley Mae Garrett

Last night was special.

Four months of hard work culminated in a successful presentation of our project, Uprooted.

Over 300 members of our community came to campus to watch the live presentation of the short documentaries that told the stories of Venezuelan migrants in Medellín, Colombia. It was a surreal experience to see the impact the films had, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this amazing project.

The ‘Economy’ team. From left, journalist Brooklynn Cooper, visual storytellers Bryan Cereijo and Abby Cantrell, and designer Kailee Akers.

Celebrating after the premiere. Photo Credit: Alex Kormann

To the Vinotinto FC family, thank you so much for allowing us into your lives and sharing your story. The world now knows how special you all are.

Laurenti Velasquez and Alvaro Junior Cardenas of Vinotinto FC.

The Process

After filming for 10 days in Colombia, our team had a little over a month to edit the films together. We would share our radio cuts, scenes, assemblies, and rough cuts in class and give each other feedback. It was a long and tedious process, but it proved worthy.

Here’s what our final timeline looked like:

Scenes are coded by different colors, natural sounds make up the first three audio tracks, the interview audio makes up the fourth track, and the music bed is in the fifth and sixth track. Having this coordination is definitely helpful during the polishing phase.

While the video team worked on editing the short documentaries, the developers, writers, designers and photographers worked on making sure the website was coming together, the stories were polished, the interactive graphics were functioning, and the photo journey was edited.

The Final Product

And here is my team’s final video:

Most Venezuelans who have the fortune of making it to Colombia find the things that they lack in their home country: food, safety, employment and the list goes on. But sometimes, even when life’s basic necessities are fulfilled, you can still feel a void. This is the story of how an immigrant from Caracas filled his void through sport—and helped dozens of other Venezuelans fill theirs too in the process.

You can explore the rest of the project at - where you will find the four other documentaries, the written pieces, the interactive graphics, and the photojourney.

No Te Rindas

Last week in my documentary video storytelling class, we were assigned an “interpretation” assignment in which we could choose any poem and put together a narrative to represent it.

I wanted to make the assignment meaningful. I had never made an interpretation piece where I had to think about every shot in the video beforehand and the meaning it would contribute.

This project became significantly more special when my mom - who was visiting - agreed to be a part of it, reading one of the poems that she constantly reminds me of when I’m too stressed and not feeling too well.

No Te Rindas translates to “Don’t Give Up,” and it’s a poem by Mario Benedetti that reminds us to keep pushing forward, to keep going despite the many hardships we may face. Why?

“Because every day is a new beginning,

Because this is the hour and the best moment.

Because you are not alone, because I love you.”

My mom and I filmed for three days and edited it all together on the last day. It was awesome to give her insight as to what I did - from the filming, to the editing, to the countless hours spent looking for royalty free music that would perfectly fit the video. It was like ‘Bring Your Parents to Work’ weekend (which actually exists).

We were both happy with the end result, but more importantly, with the time we spent together creating something meaningful for the both of us.

When she got on the plane, she sent me a text that read “thank you for allowing me to be a part of your projects. I really enjoyed it. I love you.” Love you too, mamá. This is a video and an experience that we will both forever cherish.

"Spring Break" 2018

This spring break did not have much "spring" or "break" in it but it was definitely a productive one. I traveled to North Carolina to find an apartment with the help of my mom (and had it not been for her, I would still not have a place for next year) and spent the rest of the time in Syracuse cheering on the Orange as they advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament (woot, woot).

I also spent the week testing out the FujiFilm X-Pro2. I wasn't sure of how I was going to like it considering I am a Nikon and Sony user but it's an awesome camera. Here are some quick thoughts followed by the photos I made with it this past week:

  • First, I really enjoyed using the various color profiles that are built in. I also appreciated the fact that you can see what the frame you are composing looks like with said profile through the viewfinder - something you can't do with a DSLR.
  • The build quality is great! It is a weather-sealed body and I was using it with the weather-sealed 23mm lens (35mm equivalent because it is a crop sensor camera) so I wasn't hesitating when taking it out in the heavy snow or light rain.
  • Most importantly, it made me want to just photograph. In my opinion, it's an ergonomic camera and made me want to take it everywhere. It was a lot of fun using it.