President’s Men complemented by independent films including Antihero and House
Hunting, the festival aims to please any audience. In addition to the powerhouse line-up of films, the festival features panels and discussions with actors and directors, directly connecting the audience to people in the film industry. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
Students can still get tickets through the Virginia Film Festival website, and tickets will also be on sale at the venues (if they haven’t sold out already!) beginning an hour before they begin. The Arts$ program allows students to get tickets to any of these movies for free! So there’s nothing stopping you from going to check out some of these quality films!
This week we caught up with a Virginia Film Festival intern, Lauren Lukow, a third year in the College of Arts and Sciences, to find out her role in huge event and how everything is shaping up as the festival approaches.
WUVA: What is your major and does it relate to your internship in any way?
Lauren Lukow: I’m a Media Studies (Concentration: Ethics and Policy) and American Studies (Concentration: Visual and Popular Culture) double major, with a minor in Drama. There are a number of people who work for the Virginia Film Festival, both interns and staff, who hold/have held similar majors. You don’t need to have an extensive knowledge of film culture to be involved with the festival, but it certainly helps and also makes my job all the more enjoyable. That said, I would say the Virginia Film Festival Internship is most closely linked to the Arts Administration program at U.Va. The majority of people who want to become more involved with the Festival don’t immediately realize this, but the Virginia Film Festival — while focusing on film — is an official 501(c)3 non-profit group, as opposed to a for-profit commercial organization one typically affiliates with the film industry. I’ve personally taken a number of classes offered by U.Va.’s Arts Administration program, taught by the program leader George Sampson and as well as the Director of the Festival himself, Jody Kielbasa. Such classes have significantly helped me with the work I’ve done during my internship.
WUVA: Do you plan on working in the Film industry later on in life?
LL: It’s possible! I interned for a film production company in Hollywood this past summer, and it was a life changing experience that had huge influence on my passions and interests. I could definitely see myself heading toward the Film industry, but I also find myself fascinated by other forms of art and media production including theater, music, and visual/fine arts. I could also see myself working for a non-profit organization, like the Virginia Film Festival. We shall see what happens!
WUVA: What is a day like in the life of the director’s assistant?
LL: My normal internship schedule consists of going into the Virginia Film Festival office three days a week, for three hours each day. I typically check in with my supervisor, the Director of the Festival, Jody Kielbasa, to see what assignments he would like me to get done for the day. As his assistant, my job is to help make his job easier. My typical tasks include reaching out to both industry and local academic persons who could participate in the Festival as panel discussants, writing development/fundraising related asks, and in general serving as a communicative force – a liaison between all the discussants, the Director, the Production Coordinator, and the Event and Guest Coordinator. I do a lot of writing and research, and I communicate with a lot of different people in different capacities. At the end of the day, I feel so satisfied because I feel like I’ve gotten so much done!
WUVA: Sounds like you guys really stay busy! How has the experience been thus far?
LL: As an intern, you’re always surrounded by the organization staff and other interns, so it’s a very social, animated, welcoming environment. One always feels motivated to get work done! There is ALWAYS something to do — one is constantly in motion, which is greatly fulfilling! The internship program itself is well structured and seeks to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the intern and the organization. As such, you feel like you’re contributing all that you can, and at the same time, you’re acquiring new insight and experience from a well-respected organization that has a tremendous impact on the community!
WUVA: Have you gotten any advice from the Festival’s staff that has really resonated with you during this process?
LL: When it comes to putting on a festival, anything can happen. You can plan months and months ahead of time, but the most radical of changes can take place even during the Festival itself. You have to be prepared for anything!
WUVA: What do you like best about the department you are interning in?
LL: As the Director’s Assistant, I really do get exposure to all aspects of the Festival-organizing process. I don’t necessarily have to focus on one sole aspect of the Festival, but rather get to delve into a number of different activities including development, programming, production, etc.
WUVA: So far, what has been the most hectic part about the Virginia Film Festival?
LL: This sudden interruption of inclement weather! It was hard worrying about the power going out, and it was even harder having to transition from a two day break from classes and office hours into the full swing of things… one day before the Festival!
WUVA: Hurricane Sandy definitely stirred things up this weekend. Will all of the panelist, including the directors of some of the films, still be able to attend?
LL: I am happy to report that none of the panelists have dropped as a result of Hurricane Sandy!
WUVA: That’s wonderful to hear! Do you have a movie that you are looking forward to the most?
LL: I actually don’t get to watch that many films since I’m running around completing errands and helping the Director most of the time during the four Festival days, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing the opening night film Not Fade Away at the beautiful and historical Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall!
Stay tuned to WUVA for more Virginia Film Festival exclusives!