May 16, 2014

Cannes Film Festival gives students “reel” internship experience

For a second year, Lewis & Clark students are among a select group of interns at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.
  • Tess Chudzik ’16
  • Sofia Alicastro BA ’14

For a second year, Lewis & Clark students are among a select group of interns at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.

More than 900 applicants applied for 200 internship positions through the American Pavilion, which acts not only as a cultural center for the American film community at Cannes, but also operates the festival’s only official student program.

Sofia Alicastro BA ’14, Tess Chudzik ’16, Noah Dates ’15, Sam Kleiner ’15, and Constantine Pankin ’15 were accepted to the American Pavilion’s highly selective business program. They’re assigned to work with domestic and international media companies that are buying and selling content. Each year, Cannes plays host to an expansive market of exchange, where more than 400 companies from around the world engage in the commerce of film.

“Film and writing are two of my passions, and I’m very excited to learn everything I can from professionals in these fields,” said Chudzik, who is writing a blog to document her time at Cannes. “This is the best chance I’ve ever had to challenge myself, and to hone the skills I’ve acquired at Lewis & Clark.”

When unoccupied with internship duties, students are granted access to an array of educational opportunities. They are able to attend film screenings, workshops, seminars, and panel discussions that are otherwise reserved for accredited industry members. The American Pavilion also provides each of its student-interns with an industry mentor for the duration of the two-week festival.

Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies Bryan Sebok—an accomplished filmmaker in his own right—has repeatedly been an American Pavilion mentor. Last year, Sebok drew on festival connections to secure two internship positions for Lewis & Clark students. Having pioneered a relationship between Cannes and the college, Sebok was able to fill five spots this year.

“A lot of the classes I have taken in rhetoric and media studies have inspired me to become a filmmaker,” said Alicastro, who also interned at Cannes last May. “Lewis & Clark has prepared me with the analytical skills to approach the Hollywood system as a whole.”

Like Alicastro, Dates is looking forward to applying his diverse academic background to his internship experience.

“I hope to combine my two majors—physics, and rhetoric and media studies—in a way that will both grant me a unique experience at the festival and provide me with a unique skillset in the industry,” said Dates.

Katrina Staaf ’16 contributed to this story.

Tess Chudzik’s blog Rhetoric and Media Studies