IU student dances through Europe to win film contest


IU senior Jordan Cain dances during his semester abroad in Europe. His competition-winning video combines clips from multiple locations to make one seamless dance. Buy Photos

From the steps of the Roman Pantheon temple, a group of tourists watched the most peculiar street performer, a young man doing the Carlton as the Foals hit “My Number” played from his back pocket.

While his performance garnered no applause or tip money, IU senior Jordan Cain was satisfied, having just shot a short clip for his in-the-works study abroad film. Cain studied in Austria, but during spring break traveled to Italy and Spain 
as well.

After compiling his five-month trip into four minutes of GoPro action, Cain won the Institute for the International Education of Students 2016 Film Festival on Wednesday — standing out from a record number of entries and a growing trend of student study abroad movies.

“You always see people who go abroad put on Facebook like 3,000 or 4,000 pictures, and you know when that happens, people don’t actually go through and look at them,” Cain said. “Instead, I decided to make a video, and so I made this blueprint.”

A music education major, Cain first drafted eight-bar segments, each dedicated to either a dance sequence, walking shot or short clip of Cain and his friends enjoying their European surroundings. He next formatted each eight-bar count to fit the video’s score, which he calculated to include a precise total of 48 dancing, 25 walking and 31 
activity clips.

After five months of filming and one long night of iMovie editing, Cain posted the video to various social media accounts and said he was surprised by the positive reactions it received.

“I’m in Kilroy’s suddenly with random people coming up to me, asking, ‘Are you from the video?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, you saw it?’” Cain said. “I was really confused because it’s never been like that for me. I’m just a normal person.”

Videos as a shareable commodity especially lend themselves to study abroad programs because plenty of students want to see what the 
experience is like, said Thomas DeCarlo, communications coordinator at the Office of Overseas Study.

“These videos are like being in another culture, and for students who are considering to study abroad, they get that glimpse of experiencing a culture through the eyes of someone who is traveling and studying,” DeCarlo said. “Any unique experience we can share like that is a good thing.”

Junior Rachel Brown shared her own GoPro rendition of a summer spent biking, camel riding and bungee jumping through Australia.

“I was really interested in documenting my entire study abroad experience because you look back on three months and wonder where all the time went, but making a video really concisely puts everything in perspective,” Brown said.

As much as he enjoyed sharing the video with others, Cain said he also wanted to create something that would serve as a personal reminder of his travels.

“Video is always something you can look back at,” he said. “Even when I got home, when I started to miss being abroad, I would just look at the video and remember what I did and think about how amazing it all was.”

Now focusing on his final year in Bloomington, Cain said he plans to film his future trips because of the positivity surrounding his last video.

“I didn’t know how to make or edit a movie or even dance, but that’s the whole point ­— doing something I’m not necessarily good at, but that’s so much fun,” he said. “It’s expressing myself in a way that made me content and being able to share that with other people.”

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