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This is Tasha Wilkins, a ’15 forward from women’s soccer. Thanks to the D-Plan, I am spending the summer in Scotland with the Film and Media foreign studies program! I was so excited for the chance to explore Edinburgh after visiting during our team’s United Kingdom Tour last June.Hello from Edinburgh!

When I first arrived in Edinburgh, along with nine other students, we were thrown into the whirlwind that is the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Through Dartmouth, we were able to get credentials and attend director’s talks and various panels about the industry. One of the first days of the festival gave us an inside look at what it is like to pitch to funders (donors) —we sat in the audience as 16 documentary filmmakers pitched seven minute presentations of their completed (or nearly completed) films.

While in Scotland we are attending the Screen Academy Scotland through Edinburgh Napier University. We were lucky enough to get invitations to the Opening Gala through the Screen Academy, where we met and mingled with producers, directors and actors, most of whom were featured in the festival. While it was an incredible experience, watching four films on average proved for long days, especially when the list included a four-hour documentary on a Chinese mental hospital. After two weeks, we were excited to really dive into our classes ­— Film Festivals: History and Theory, Cinematography, and Music Video Production.

Our Scottish professors, or tutors, as they are called here, are leading professionals in their respective fields. Our cinematography tutor, Paul Gavin has won a BAFTA, and our two music video tutors are Beth Allen and Blair Young of Forest of Black Production Company.

Last week, we had a mid-term break, and I was lucky enough to have my family visit for a few days. We climbed the historic Arthur’s Seat, and visited Calton Hill at sunset after a celebratory birthday dinner for my brother. During the second half of our break, I went to London to visit friends in the study abroad program through the Theater department. After an amazing afternoon in the Tate Modern Art Gallery, we walked across the Millennium Bridge (as featured in Harry Potter!), where we stumbled upon a crew filming a sequence for Dr. Who!

Now, it’s the first week back and we are preparing to film music videos for local Scottish bands. We are producing, directing, and filming one live shoot and two traditional music videos. Later in the term, we are producing 10 shot sequences for our cinematography course. Finally, in our Dartmouth professor led class, we have been writing op-eds throughout the term about film, film festivals, theory and the subsequent conflicts or ideas that apply to everyday life.

This study abroad program has truly been a once in a lifetime experience, and luckily, the weather in Scotland has been incredible too! I can’t imagine leaving in a few short weeks, but that means another incredible Big Green season, and I truly can’t wait!

Scotland’s Disgrace at Calton Hill during sunset
Sunset at the Meadows
A pathway through the meadows