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Pioneering filmmaker and Ryerson professor emeritus Brian Damude is hosting the Alumni Travel Program’s first Travelling Film Festival in Morocco.
Throughout the year, our Ryerson University Alumni Travel Program offers trips to some of the world’s most exciting and interesting destinations with an educational spin. There are trips near and far, on land and sea, and no two are the same. Want to feel like a real movie star? We have the perfect adventure for you — a travelling film festival through Morocco next spring.
With its stunning golden sand dunes, impressive architecture, expansive desert and rich history, Morocco has been given the nickname of Africa’s little Hollywood. The country has been the backdrop for film classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), epic dramas like Gladiator (2000) and Babel (2006), and more recent TV shows like Game of Thrones and Homeland (2011-present). This is your opportunity to tour the sets and see the sights in real life.
If you’re still not sold, meet your tour guide: pioneering filmmaker and Ryerson professor emeritus Brian Damude. He certainly has our seal of approval having been awarded the prestigious Ryerson University Career Achievement Award last year. Read on to get to know Brian — and don’t be surprised if you decide to book the trip before you get to the end.
1. Brian has years of experience in the industry creating and teaching — that’s why he was recruited to host this trip! Building on his work in filmmaking and screenwriting, Brian chaired Ryerson’s School of Image Arts for 10 years and has been teaching film for almost 40 years. Though he is now a professor emeritus, Brian remains engaged with the school and his students. “I travel all over the place and am interested in this sort of thing and the history,” he says of signing on to host the trip. “I think it also seemed like such a cool idea. How could you not want to do it?”
2. Need help with photos? Brian’s got you covered. Specializing in abstract landscapes and unique angles, Brian can assist with getting those picture-perfect shots to share with your family, friends and followers. “I get into a place by starting to try and see things that no one else has seen and photographing it,” he says. “I’m looking around and thinking, what’s really different, or what’s cool here that no one else has seen, or how can I kind of put my stamp on this experience as well as having it affect me? Maybe what we’ll all try to do is take fewer selfies and more photographs!”
3. As a lifelong film buff, Brian is a big fan of several of the movies that will be shown and discussed on the trip. “Since I was a kid my favourite film was Lawrence of Arabia and that’s going to be covered,” he says. “Also, Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much — the whole first half is all shot in a number of the places that we’ll be going to and it’s very accurate and kind of just a loving look at the culture and everything there.” You can always count on a well-versed fan to recognize all the sights and share the inside scoop.
4. In true professorial fashion, Brian is catering the tour to all interest levels. Whether or not you’ve seen all (or any!) of the films that will be discussed, Morocco is worth exploring. “I don’t think you even need to be a film buff; probably film buffs would like it better because it will go into detail about some of the ways they did things to make things look different or what the differences are between one film and others, but basically the tour itself is a tour that everyone’s taking,” he says. “Everyone wants to go there and see all of these places, but what we’re doing is simply adding depth to it.”
5. This is the first time a trip with our travel program will be hosted by a fellow Ryersonian, which means you can certainly expect a few special Ryerson touches. “Ryerson has its own way of looking at teaching filmmaking and I was one of the pioneers in doing that with a couple other people,” he says. “I’ll be using all that when we’ll be discussing films and how the actual fiction is being expressed visually, the use of the scenery and the way you can trick people and emphasize the drama using landscape and composition. That’s stuff that we teach all the time at the School of Image Arts.”
6. Brian is no stranger to life on the go — he could teach a class in Travel 101! He offered the following packing hacks for a trip that will be packed full of day excursions, evening screenings and delicious meals: “I actually just go for it and buy the special travelling trousers that have the pockets in them and the places to put all your stuff in there and you can Velcro it down. Oh, and don’t forget good walking shoes too, especially on this trip!”
7. Brian has done the travel book reading so that you don’t have to. “As a matter of fact I do it for my trips and then I take my wife along and she just figures that she’s got this personalized tour guide,” he jokes. “As soon as you know about the history of a place it just makes everything mean so much more. You walk down a street and you realize that this isn’t just a street, this is where such and such a culture began or you just think wow, that’s why that architecture is like that.”
8. Above all, Brian just wants everyone to have a good time. “Part of what I liked to do at Ryerson is get the students all stirred up and excited and I intend to continue doing that for the rest of my life, including on this trip,” he says. Brian also extends a special invitation to his former Image Arts students: “We can all have a blast!”
Learn more about the trip, running March 29 – April 8, 2019, and book now!
Movies not your thing? Check out other amazing trips we have planned through our
Alumni Travel Program!
By: Angela McLean, Journalism ’19