Exploring Providence and Learning at RIIFF: Blog Post #2

Walking through Providence everyday on my way to work feels refreshing. The combination of a once unfamiliar place beginning to feel like home, and of a transition into a truly vibrant city with new people, has made my summer exciting. I’ve grown to appreciate Providence and all that it has to offer, as well as accept that there is so much more to see that I have yet to explore. As a Sponsorship and Development Associate at RIIFF, I have become acutely aware of just how many more dining hot-spots and local tourist attractions I should check out in my quest to feel more of the Rhode Island experience. I have been able to see the buildings that host many of the major events of Rhode Island through my sponsorship work. One such building is the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC), a gorgeous building that will be used for our Opening Night.

My time during this summer at RIIFF is much more focused than when I am full-time at Brandeis, by nature of being able to truly  focus on my internship itself. At school, I juggle a multitude of commitments, ranging from academic pursuits to social activities, including work, community service, athletic teams and classes. During this summer at RIIFF, I have not had to balance so many of those obligations, so my time at work is truly the main receiver of all my energy. I am able to come to work each day with a fresh mind without many distractions. This is something I have truly come to appreciate in the day-to-day lifestyle I am able to live this summer.

Standing in front of the location of WaterFire, a Providence attraction!

One of my favorite aspects of this internship is engaging in interviews with our favorite filmmakers. It is so rewarding to be able to talk to and learn from some of the best in the industry. I have the opportunity to interview one of my favorite interviewers on his documentaries regarding the impacts of prison and necessary reforms surrounding the system. I am grateful for the opportunity to do so, particularly given my long-standing appreciation for this filmmaker and my passion for the topics that he covers. In addition, the ability to view so many different films from all over the world is invaluable, and I feel as though I have learned so much from watching them.

I have loved immersing myself in the world of sponsorship work. The skills I have learned here at RIIFF are those I could certainly apply in other aspects of my life. I feel confident in pursuing sponsors, should I need to, for clubs I am involved in on campus now. While many of the interactions I have with potential sponsors take place over the phone, I have come to realize that in-person meeting is a much easier way to specify exactly what is wanted so that I can persuade potential sponsors to provide that. Communicating over the phone is very important in my role here, which is a skill that I will be able to apply in almost all of my future endeavors. It is rewarding to focus on being charming while communicating over a medium which is often seen as impersonal because of its lack of face-to-face contact.  

View of Downtown Providence

I am looking forward to seeing all of the work completed by RIIFF staff come to fruition during the festival. We already are anticipating the business of that week with much excitement! If you are interested in attending, please feel free to click here to purchase tickets!

-Anna Craven

First Thoughts on my Internship with Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival

This summer I am fortunate enough to be working with Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival. I am working as a sponsorship associate through their internship program. This is a particularly special summer to be working with Flickers’, as this year is their 35th anniversary. The Flickers’ film festival is New England’s sole Oscar and BAFTA qualifying film festival, and receives a wide variety of independent films across all genres. Last year, over 5500 films were submitted to the festival. The act of showcasing the work of independent filmmakers is so important, as an audience is needed for any piece of art. As such, I am so happy to be a part of the RIIFF team.

My desk at Flickers!

Within my first week at RIIFF I noticed and appreciated how much I felt like a part of the team here. Interns are given great ownership of their assigned tasks, and expected to complete them independently (with help as needed, of course!). I enjoy fulfilling my duties as a sponsorship intern, which include researching potential sponsorship organizations, updating the sponsorship database and meeting with sponsors to discuss their roles in the festival. In addition, as a member of the RIIFF intern team for 2017, I also take calls, attend staff meetings, and help judge films submitted to the festival. I was blown away by the level of professionalism and in some cases, perfection, in many of the films submitted. My first day I watched many of the films under the college submission category, and saw such an extreme amount of talent, in terms of video design, sound editing, acting, and more. I feel lucky to be able to watch such a wide variety of films with so many different purposes, workers and themes.

On the day to day, the other sponsorship intern and I compose a list of companies to call regarding a potential sponsorship for the festival, then call those companies and discuss partnership opportunities. I love the team environment that I am working in, because I truly feel that I am a significant part of the important work that Flickers’ is doing to prepare for the festival in August. A personal strong suit of mine is conversing over the phone for professional purposes, so I am happy to be able to put this skill to use and to continue to work on it.

Going into this summer, I have three distinct goals. I hope to build close connections in the film industry, explore Providence, and learn how films are marketed after the production phase. So far I have been able to spend time with my fellow interns and the rest of the RIIFF team, and learn from their experiences. I have also been exploring Providence after work: I am in the perfect location to do so! My internship is in Providence, near the state house, and as such, is bustling with action, day and night. We are also near Providence Place, an incredibly vast and beautiful mall, with lots of parking. In addition, through my work as a sponsorship intern I have become more aware of local food and dessert hot spots near me, so I hope to check more of those out this summer. Lastly, I have already learned much about how film festivals are run behind the scenes, particularly in terms of what happens with films after they are submitted. I know that my knowledge of how film festivals run will increase more as we approach the festival in August, when we will all be gearing up and it will be all hands on deck! I’m looking forward to being able to see all of the work put in this summer culminate to one wonderful week.

The Providence State House Source: http://www.goprovidence.com/listing/rhode-island-state-house/23114/

-Anna Craven