Do you remember that moment in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS where Jack Skellington is wandering through the woods and stumbles upon the Holiday Doors? In case you haven’t seen that scene, it features a collection of unique doors leading towards magical worlds worth exploring. Applying to intern at the Austin Film Festival was similar to this experience in that I was able to choose which department I wanted to work with over the coming months.
In my case, I ended up applying for the Executive Department, meaning that if hired I could assist the Executive Director, Barbara Morgan, and her Executive Assistant, Linzy Beltran, with running the daily operations of the festival. An interview later and I had accepted a summer internship at AFF. Over the past few months I have enjoyed working under Barb and Linzy, who is kind of like a singing teddy bear, and have happily assisted with their reasonable demands.
There are many wonderful aspects about interning with Austin Film Festival that are not included in the job description, namely the educational benefits that result from being placed in the midst of the bustling film community, even if it’s only for a few hours a week. I grew up in the Austin film community, but working for AFF indicated there was still an abundance of information to be gleaned from films and those who make them.
From the instant I walked into the office, it was evident Barb was the female version of Rambo. Authoritative and direct, over the past 20 years she has cultivated a series of vast and influential connections within the film industry. While films are not created here in the office, nearly all of the staff members have connections to the industry, whether as producers, writers, directors or editors. As a result of these collective life experiences, the office has really cultivated an inclusive and exciting environment and I felt a member of the AFF family by the end of my first week.
The amazing thing about AFF is that interns are not confined to the department they are originally assigned. Although I reported to Linzy every time I went into the office, on several occasions I assisted with the development of marketing materials for the festival’s upcoming 20th anniversary and had the chance to read a few scripts. I even assisted with instructing campers through the Austin Film Festival Summer Film Camps.
On top of working within the office, interns and apprentices are required to assist with three events; this actually ended up being one of the most brag worthy elements of my job. I was able to see The Heat and, ironically enough, The Internship before they were released theatrically. After watching an advanced screening of The To Do List, I worked the check-in desk for an intimate conversation with the film’s writer and director, Maggie Carey. Ms. Carey even complimented the shirt I was wearing that day, so we’re clearly BFFs now.
Alas, even though my internship with AFF is coming to its close, my relationship with the festival is only starting. And with the fall semester about to begin, I know AFF is looking for several new interns. So pick which department might be the best fit for you and maybe you’ll get the chance to experience the magical world within AFF. I know I have enjoyed my tenure here.
Interested in interning at AFF? Click here for all opportunities!