Three Nottingham students will get a taste of Hollywood this summer as they take up prestigious internships at the studios responsible for Oscar hit Slumdog Millionaire.
Film Studies students Annika Sell, Katie Sexton and Anne Facompre head to LA in June for two months. They will work at Fox Searchlight, the ‘indie’ arm of Fox movies. They’ll each experience different areas of working in the film business. Annika will work in production, working on sets, liaising directly with film makers and getting involved in script and project development. Katie will work on the marketing side, preparing campaigns for upcoming films, along with screenings for both film executives and the public. And Anne will work on the international side, which involves co-ordinating releases and campaign in foreign markets and working in acquisition — 60 per cent of Fox Searchlight films are acquired by the studio for distribution rather than made by them, so this is a key role in the company.
The internships were set up by Gianluca Sergi, Associate Professor for Film Studies in the Institute for Film and TV Studies, after the department was contacted by alumnus Peter Rice — then President of Fox Searchlight.
“Peter had studied in the School of American and Canadian Studies and had fond memories of his time at the University,” said Dr Sergi. “He wanted to know if there was anything he could do for us and offered places on the Fox Searchlight internship programme. That’s a real hot ticket in Hollywood, so we said yes.
“This is a very rare opportunity. Peter started out as an intern at Fox Searchlight himself, which illustrates perfectly the opportunities it can lead to — he’s recently taken up the role of Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting. It’s not just the work experience; it’s the people you meet — networking opportunities. Not just the stars and directors, but your fellow interns who are part of the film industries future.”
Dr Sergi admits that the two months in LA will be tough on the students — they will be expected to work hard — but he knows it will be an invaluable experience.
The internships will be become an annual feature in the institute, with the three places open to all students, undergraduate and postgraduate, from the second year of their studies onwards. Once they’ve returned, the interns will share their experience with their fellow students. They’ll also form part of the induction for the following year’s cohort.
Places on the scheme were hotly contested, with students’ academic merit, attitude and work experience taken into account. Ten interviewees were shortlisted and interviewed before the final three were chosen.
Katie Sexton is in the third year of her Film and TV Studies course. She originally comes from Ilkeston in Derbyshire. “The opportunity to work at Fox Searchlight is very exciting, especially in light of the recent phenomenal success and reputation of the company,” she said. “My enduring desire for snippets of knowledge, information and understanding of the film industry will be so greatly enhanced by an involvement in it directly.
“The chance to be even a small cog in the machine that has influenced my life in so many innumerable ways is beyond description. This placement will allow me to assess where my strengths lie and will provide a firm footing for future employment in the media industries.”
Anne Facompre is in the final year of her American and Canadian Studies degree. She will return to the University to begin an MA in Hollywood Studies in September. Annika Sell is a second year Film and TV Studies student. Both Anne and Annika are originally from Germany.
“People think it's funny when you talk about having dreams as big as wanting to go to Hollywood and they might think studying something like film is not as worthy as law or politics, but I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life than to be part of an industry that creates such great characters and stories and gives people something to hold on to,” said Anne. “Although my passion for Hollywood was kindled through a desire to want to act, I have come to realise that it is actually an industry that offers so many more possibilities than just the obvious ones and I am excited to find out which position I will be best suited to.
“Even before I got this internship I felt that coming to Nottingham was one of the best decisions I have ever made, because my studies have been challenging, but also very rewarding and have allowed me to focus exactly on what I wanted to do and because staff here are really supportive and encouraging. But now, obviously, I am even more excited because, while have always walked around with Hollywood daydreams in my head, I always knew they were just dreams. I don't think reality has ever felt this good! I think we all just really can't wait to head off to LA and conquer Hollywood! And even if we won't, it still feels like it!”
“I know it will be hard work for all of us, but I am sure that we’ll learn a lot from this unique experience, which will be helpful for our future careers in the film industry in many ways. We will be able to learn more about film making and the US film industry, which is especially exciting, because it is the most dominant of all film industries,” said Annika. “I am very glad to be able to share this amazing experience with Katie and Anne and think we will have an unforgettable summer at Fox Searchlight.”
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Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
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The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
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