Film Studies students have internships to Cannes

Aliza Brugger

Three UNL Film Studies majors have been selected to be student interns at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival in France this spring. One student also will screen one of her short films during the event.

Aliza Brugger, Collin Baker and Emily Frandsen will serve as student interns at the film festival, which runs May 11-26. The program provides experience to students interested in film, culinary arts and hospitality/event management. The trio will join UNL theatre major Taylar Morrissey, who also was selected as a Cannes intern.

“This is really a wonderful way for our students to get some hands-on experience in the film industry,” said Kelly Payne, undergraduate advisor in UNL’s Department of English. “The program pulls in a lot of students who are interested in directing, producing, writing screen plays and so on.”

Following two days of orientation, Cannes interns are given service jobs in the American Pavilion – a membership-based communications and hospitality center for journalists, publicists, celebrities, filmmakers and motion picture executives working at the festival.

“I expect to do the normal intern routine of serving food, getting water, and so on, but I'm looking forward to meeting people who are actually in the film industry – directors, writers, actors (who) can give me insights on how I can get a job later after graduating,” said Baker, a senior.

This is the second year that Mike Bremer, the director of student programs with the American Pavilion, has sought out UNL students for the internship program.

“When Kelly Payne was first contacted by Mike last October, we immediately told our students in Film Studies about the program,” said Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies and coordinator of UNL’s program.

This is the first year that the Film Studies program has had students participating in Cannes. In addition to her duties with the Pavilion, Brugger, a junior at UNL, will be showing one of her short films.

“This is a killer opportunity considering that some of the people who may view it could have a significant impact on my career,” Brugger said. “I have one film already completed, but by the film festival I should have two or three from which I can choose.”

The Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes includes 10 short films selected by a panel of industry judges and shown in The American Pavilion. Winning films are promoted through social media, news releases and throughout the festival.

This will be the second year in France for Frandsen. The public relations and film studies double major was an intern at the 2013 festival as just a PR major. This year, she said she will have more of an opportunity to work closely with The Roundtable Series – a chance for students to have small group discussions with noted personalities from both the creative and business side of the film industry, Payne said. Past participants in the Roundtable Series have included Tim Roth, Jude Law and Michael Moore.

Last year, Frandsen attended the screening of Alexander Payne’s film “Nebraska,” which is now in U.S. theaters — a watershed moment that brought together her Nebraska background and Frandsen’s love of film, Kelly Payne said.

“This is a life-changing experience and hopefully our students will be able to come back and report on all of the meetings they had, films they could see and be inspired by the electric energy that happens at a film festival of Cannes stature,” she said.

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