A City Caught in the Crossroads of Time

Brittany Zwier

SCM student Brittany Zwier is a senior, who will be receiving her BFA in Filmmaking in May, was recently awarded the Excellence in Producing Award from the Filmmaking program.  Here are her thoughts about her April trip to Cuba with a number of Filmmaking students and faculty.

Venturing to Cuba was like stepping back in time.  Although people alerted me to this prior to our arrival this past April, it was an entirely different phenomenon to experience firsthand.  Camaguey, in particular, is a lively city bustling with culture, life and art.  Each day was an absolute adventure.  At any given moment, I could find myself standing in the middle of a busy street surrounded by women selling fruit from the back of bicycles, fathers shuttling children on the backs of mopeds, officers riding in beat up cop cars from the 1950s, or a young couple of wealth driving by in a much more modern vehicle – while stray dogs and cats wandered nearby picking up scraps from the roadsides.  I was more than excited to wake up every morning to explore the town and interact with other artists and filmmakers at the FIVAC festival.  There was never a dull moment.  I found learning opportunities absolutely everywhere – whether they were from the many informative panels and eye opening films presented in the festival or just the overall life lessons about the human experience I discovered while roaming the streets. 

As an artist, I feel invigorated, enlightened and inspired.  I am very grateful to everyone [at Montclair State and the School of Communication and Media] who made the effort and took the time to organize this trip for us.  Had they not done so, I feel as though I would have missed out on a rare opportunity to witness a culture far different than my own, to connect with artists from all over the world, and to meet with locals whole personal histories and overall hospitality have changed my personal worldview.  Thank you for everything.  I will remember this always.