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  • Writer's pictureGabriel Rhenals

Blog Post #156: Father and Son in FIU's Green Library!

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

In early 2002, I visited Florida International University for the first time to attend a classical music concert (featuring Stravinsky's Suite Italienne) with my older brother Juan. Later that summer, I caught rides with Juan to the FIU campus where I would spend hours at FIU's Green Library reading film books and preparing the first draft of what would become my 1st short film.

In mid-2004, I was accepted to FIU as a philosophy major and attended orientation. In the fall of that year, I attended my first semester at FIU and regularly visited Green Library to study in addition to pursuing my personal reading and writing activity.

The following year, I hijacked a group video project and filmed an incendiary portion of it in Green Library. Before I transferred to University of Central Florida in Orlando to study film that same year, I spent one of my last few days in Miami before the move at FIU, wandering around that beloved campus of mine.

In 2013, I began my campaign to re-enroll at FIU as a Communication Arts major and earn my bachelor's degree after a tumultuous experience at UCF which had necessitated a years-long health recovery. At roughly the same time, I began attending FIU's Toastmasters International club which I would attend with near-perfect attendance for the next few years.

In 2014, I successfully enrolled at FIU and managed to maintain a flawless 4.0 GPA over the course of the following two years, graduating in 2016. During that time, I also hijacked another group video project in addition to filming the vast majority of my 16th and final short film on my dear campus during my final stretch of time as an FIU student.

In 2021 and 2022, I began spending Sundays (when local public libraries are closed) at FIU's Green Library writing my 1st book 20 Years a Filmmaker.

Only recently did I discover that throughout the considerable span of time I spent at FIU from early teenager to fully matured adult (not to mention a cum laude graduate and seasoned filmmaker), there was a piece of family history long-embedded in the depths of that campus library: a technical paper titled "The Irrigation Scheduling Problem and Evapotranspiration Uncertainty". It was authored by my father and a colleague of his from his years as an MIT-trained civil engineer and has sat preserved in a journal on the library's 3rd floor for over four decades. The paper had been acquired by the university in August 1981.

Now, I am immensely proud and profoundly moved in being able to follow up my father's modest but decades-long-standing contribution to FIU with my own in the very same Green Library collection. My debut book 20 Years a Filmmaker is now freely available to the FIU community or any casual perusers of those countless, content-rich aisles! A permanent addition to the collection!

It is a staggering honor to add my humble literary offering to the vast knowledge resource at a university that has become as warm and familiar to me as any home I've ever known. Thank you to the Green Library staff at FIU, particularly Dean of Libraries Jennifer Fu and staff members Eric Gormley and Jin Xio Guo, for facilitating a snug space for my book on those hallowed shelves!

20 Years a Filmmaker is also available at various branches in the Miami-Dade Public Library System!

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