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Chilean film student’s snapshot of Curtin life

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In recent years, the Curtin community has become more multicultural than ever. Not only do a third of our 53,000 students come from a country outside Australia, but there is also a large number of students visiting from educational institutions around the world.

One student who had a brief, but memorable visit to Curtin was Chilean Pablo Cuadra Caro, who is in his fourth year of a five-year cinema and television course at the prestigious University of Chile, based in Santiago, the nation’s capital.

The two-week stay – an initiative that developed from the relationship between Curtin and the University of Chile, and made possible because of similar units offered by both universities – was Cuadra Caro’s first time travelling outside of South America. He used the opportunity to explore the Perth CBD and Fremantle, try out the diverse range of food on offer and hike through national parks south of Perth.

“It’s very relaxing here. People are quiet, but very respectful of each other. They understand that I’m an international student and help me when I’m speaking,” he says.

Location aside, what really impressed the cinephile was how Curtin’s screen arts classes incorporated technology-rich learning spaces and prioritised industry connections.

“I was surprised to learn about Curtin University’s level of infrastructure, and its strengths in communication, film and television,” says Cuadra Caro.

“I went to a broadcasting unit, where we worked directly in a program for community TV with Aboriginal people. It was interesting because in Chile it’s difficult to gain experience working directly with industry before your final year.”

While Cuadra Caro might not have the industry experience, that hasn’t prevented him from following his passions and achieving fantastic results at his home university.

In his second year, Cuadra Caro acted as the producer and film editor of a short documentary, titled “Materia Prima” (“Raw Material”), which focuses on the lives of people in the southern Chilean mining town of Curanilahue. The documentary was so well received that he and his classmates were persuaded to enter it into film festivals around the world.

“We filmed there for four days about how the people work with coal, showing the danger of the work, going underground and outside,” says Cuadra Caro.

“It’s now part of the official competition of film festivals in Chile, Colombia, Portugal and other countries. We are eagerly awaiting the results.”

In the future, Cuadra Caro hopes to be a film editor, especially of documentaries, because he enjoys being able to “tell a story about a community, about a city, about a building or about other things that are real”.

““Raw Material” was made using the images and natural sounds of the place,” he says.

“We sent the film to China, Japan, Greece, here, Chile and other countries. Everyone could watch and listen to the documentary, but they didn’t need to know Spanish to understand it.

“The audiovisual is a universal language. It’s all the same. I sat in on some screen arts units here at Curtin. It’s the same TV. It’s the same experience. Only the language is different, but it’s the same image and it’s the same emotions that the image brings to the people.”

Now back home, Cuadra Caro assures us it isn’t the last we’ve seen of him, as he is thinking about returning to Curtin to study a master degree or PhD in screen arts once he has finished his undergraduate degree in Chile.

If you want to read more stories showcasing members of the Curtin community, or want to share your own story, visit Humans of Curtin.

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