On Thursday November 5th, IPR Digital Video and Media Production students Audrey Swenson and Ben Thorson will premiere an informational video the two shot while visiting Costa Rica as guests of Dave Wellstone and the Refuge of Love Costa Rica organization. The two visited Costa Rica with Wellstone in September, between summer and fall terms.
The video premiere will take place during a Refuge of Love fundraising event held in the Live Lab on the fifth floor of IPR. In addition to the video, there will be entertainment, refreshments, and a live auction of Senator Paul Wellstone memorabilia donated by Dave Wellstone. The event, starting at 5:00 pm, is open to IPR staff and students, although an RSVP is requested (see attached invitation for details).
Wellstone approached IPR this summer with the idea of providing an opportunity for a pair of emerging filmmakers to experience another culture while gaining professional experience shooting in a foreign country. The pairing provides Refuge of Love with a quality video for fundraising while serving as an invaluable applied learning opportunity for IPR Digital Video students.
The Refuge of Love is an organization conceived by Costa Rican Christian Mena to provide for single mothers and orphaned elders. The shelter will be a place where families in crisis can support each other, learn a trade, and get back on their feet.
Swenson and Thorson interviewed Wellstone and founder Mena on the site where the facility will be built, shot video of local families who could benefit from the Refuge of Love, and toured and filmed Costa Rica Naturales, the solar fruit drying facility that will provide jobs for the women who live in the shelter.
“It was a beautiful experience,” says Swenson, “it taught me how to adapt to the challenges of filming in a place I’m not accustom to.”
“It was such an amazing (and crazy, cuz of the bugs) experience.” wrote Thorson on a Facebook Post just after he returned, “I got to experience the way of life of a different culture. Going around filming some downtrodden families opened my eyes as to how well we have it here.’
Swenson and Thorson worked with IPR instructors Mitch Hare and Trey Wodele to prepare for the event. They consulted with Video Production instructor James Lund in preparation of their first shoot abroad, and are working with video editing Instructor Tony Fischer to create the final cut of the video for the November 5th event. Both Thorson and Swensen will be at the fundraiser to talk about their experience and screen the short video they created.
“I got the chance to meet some amazing people in Costa Rica.” Thorson writes,”The type of people that you should surround yourself with. The passion they have to help better their community absolutely amazed me. The world needs more people like them.”
IPR and the Digital Video and Media Production department is proud to partner with The Refuge of Love, and is looking forward to sending additional pairs of students on an annual trip to document the success of the organization as it grows.
Photographs by: Audrey Swenson