April 2005, Vol. 6 No. 5
Presenting AUB to the Outside World on
Film and Video
Al-Bustan Annual Festival Attracts AUB Community
Choral Concert Workshop and Guitar
Festival Held at the Assembly Hall
Civilization Sequence Program Screens Falstaff
Oleanna Play Reading: Power Dynamics and
Book Review: In the Path of Hizbullah by Ahmad Nizar Hamzeh
A Tree Grows in Hanine
From the military training films of the 1940s to tourism publicity films for various destinations, motion pictures have been used to explain and educate, while also entertain. Over the past six years, AUB has produced several films that do just that.
The first in this series, “Looking towards Tomorrow,” was produced in 1999 and is the longest, at almost 25 minutes. It opens with aerial shots of the campus and scenes from around Beirut and Lebanon where, as the narrator explains, “West meets East and cultures blend to create a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.” Following this is a short account of the University's founding and development through time, accompanied by a series of historical pictures. With voice-over and shots from around campus, the film goes on to describe the different faculties and to highlight specific programs. Film Director Philip Bajjaly, a graduate of LAU, says, “My job was to show AUB at its best, and it wasn't hard to do.”
The myriad activities of AUB students are captured throughout: students in a lecture class, engineering students working in a lab, medical students accompanying a doctor on rounds, and archaeology students on a dig in central Beirut. Besides these academic pursuits, there are scenes of students relaxing on the Green Oval, singing in a choral concert, and listening to a guitar player on the steps of the Main Gate. There are also many shots of AUB's natural beauty, during which the campus is described as “a leafy haven in the center of Beirut; a refuge from the hustle of the modern city.”
The Admissions Office decided that they also wanted a film that could be shown to prospective students, but they wanted it to be short and lively in order to appeal to this special audience. Salim Kanaan, Director of Admissions, says that they wanted to focus on campus life, since that is what the target audience would be most interested in. They extracted several parts from “Looking towards Tomorrow,” added some still pictures of students around campus, and included sound bites from international students talking about why they decided to study at AUB. The film incorporates quick cuts and upbeat music that are evocative of music videos. It is shown when Admissions Office staff travel abroad and give presentations at embassies or hotels. The film is also included on a slick DVD that is sent out
to schools and early admission students. Produced by the Office of Admissions, and with film coordination by the Office of Information and Public Relations, it is packed with features, including virtual tours and image galleries, as well as the AUB catalogue and applications. There are more than 15 one-minute videos that show various things of interest to prospective students, such as the dorms, libraries, research labs, and cafeterias. In addition, it includes a whole piece on several cities of interest in Lebanon as well as a complete database on the country.
The other documentary films, done more recently, were also directed by Philip Bajjaly. One of these, “American Medicine–Regional Healthcare” is an in-depth look at the AUB Medical Center. It begins with a short history of AUBMC and a series of old photographs. The viewer then gets a tour of the center’s medical units and services, along with short descriptions of each and interviews with doctors, nurses, and medical students.
The film shows that AUBMC is a leading research and teaching hospital, as well as a state-of-the-art medical center. This dual mission is summed up at the end with two slogans: “We believe in building the healers of tomorrow” and “Your well-being is what we want.” This 11-minute film was produced in the summer of 2004 and is shown at various exhibitions and conferences.
Made as part of the Campaign for Excellence, “Something I'd Like to Share with You” uses some of the same footage as “Looking towards Tomorrow” but focuses on short interviews with various alumni, describing how AUB has impacted their lives. The film is shown at alumni gatherings and some AUB benefits.
After an opening sequence with President Waterbury, the camera follows the architect Nabil Azar as he walks through Place d’Etoile and speaks about how his architectural style, a symbiosis of the traditional and the contemporary, is a product of the AUB philosophy. Other eminent alumni interviewed are businessman Moussa Freijeh and An-Nahar newspaper founder Ghassan Tueini.
Whether to entice prospective students, encourage donations, or simply to spread the word about the University and medical center, these four films give audiences a taste of all that AUB has to offer.