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Paul Wagner “Maker of Memories”

Semester at Sea represents a unique opportunity for me as a documentary filmmaker and teacher. Great documentaries are made by filmmakers with passion for the stories they tell. And no young filmmakers are more passionate than the students of Semester at Sea.

The summer 2012 voyage provides a remarkable context for a course in documentary film. We have class daily and informal teacher/student interactions throughout the day. Documentary filmmaking is more than an academic subject; it is a way of looking at the world. Our floating “academical village” provides the perfect setting.

Of course, our Mediterranean voyage also offers a wealth of true-life stories that are the basis for my students’ films—stories of vibrant cities, inspiring art and architecture, and fascinating peoples of ancient cultures. This semester I’m also asking my class to document their own lives as students on our voyage of discovery. I remind them that Robert Flaherty, the creator of the first documentary film, was both an explorer and a filmmaker. And I encourage them to embrace both roles.

Paul Wagner

Paul demonstrates camera and lens operations that are used in documentary filmmaking. Different aspects and shooting styles are discussed as students ask questions about aperture and depth of field.



23 Jun 2012

2860 miles from home

The view the crew manning the bridge on the MV Explorer sees everyday. A view the students at Semester At Sea have an opportunity to see on a tour of the ships bridge. We are 2860 miles from Freeport, Bahamas our port of embarkation. (Photo by Russ Bryant 2012)

23 Jun 2012