Los Angeles. New York City.

For the longest time, anyone who wanted to make it in the film industry had little choice but to go to one of those places. Other cities just didn’t seem to have the opportunities a filmmaker was looking for. No matter how big or culturally vibrant they were, there just wasn’t a film industry presence significant enough to maintain steady employment. LA and NYC had the reputation, the community, and the well-established studios necessary for any large production.

Luckily, this is beginning to change, as LA and NYC are not very cheap places to live and not everyone’s ideal kind of environment. A variety of cities around the country are beginning to carve out industrious niches in the film world. As aspiring filmmakers, we are fortunate enough to be living in just the right time to take advantage of this. Things are growing at a steady pace and show no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be examining some of these film industry boomtowns. We’ll focus primarily on the cities of Atlanta, Austin, and Seattle, but Moviemaker Magazine has a wonderful list of ten filmmaker-friendly cities that is far more concise.

The MPAA also has a comprehensive list of each state’s tax incentives for the entertainment industry and recent production history. They list out the film industry’s economic contributions to each state as well (a useful guide if you just want straight figures).

If you’re trying to figure out a post-collegiate game plan, or just want to know what’s happening in the film world, hopefully these articles will be of some use to you. First up will be Austin, Texas, so stay tuned.

Written by Joe Youorski

Joe is a first year student planning to major in Mass Media Arts within Grady College and a writer on the Filmmaking Union Blog’s content team.


Women in Television

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

According to my television, it finally seems okay to be “weird” and a woman in entertainment.

Last year, Mindy Kaling transformed herself from an annoying-but-beloved caricature on “The Office” to star, series creator, and head writer of “The Mindy Project.”

Amy Poehler earned writing credits for arguably the smartest, most poignant, and best episode from last season’s run of “Parks and Recreation” (“The Debate”).

 Lena Dunham was catapulted into the spotlight by creating, directing, and writing for her surprising (but well-deserved) hit HBO show, “Girls.”


Kristen Wiig made “Bridesmaids,” and Tina Fey began preparing a graceful exit from her seven-year run as real-life writer and show protagonist Liz Lemon on “30 Rock.”

Think of “comedy,” and these women or the shows they write come to mind almost instantly. They create or portray strange, relatable characters. But where were they before their ascent into fame?

Like many of us, they were on college campuses.

Mindy Kaling was majoring in theatre at Dartmouth, writing her own plays, performing in both a comedy troupe and a capella group, and submitting a regular comic strip to her college newspaper.


Kristen Wiig  was studying art at the University of Arizona, before dropping out and moving to Los Angeles to become a florist, graphic artist, and decorative painter. She would eventually join “The Groundlings,” the comedy troupe where she would meet “Bridesmaids” co-writer Annie Mumolo.

The daughter of two teachers, Amy Poehler was at Boston College studying communications. Tina Fey was at The University of Virginia earning a bachelors degree in drama. Lena Dunham was taking liberal arts classes at Oberlin College.

I hope you’re beginning to note a pattern. Whether or not they knew they wanted to pursue a career in comedy, none of these women majored in film, film production, or screenwriting.


Many of them simply kept their eyes open to the opportunities around them.

They studied art, communication, creative writing, and theatre. They participated in performance groups and wrote for their college newspaper. They doodled cartoons, designed plastic surgery “after” mock-ups (not a joke), and, sometimes, comfortably had no idea what they were doing.

The thing that made these women great wasn’t that they spent all of their time pouring over the specifics of their craft. What made them great was that they explored the world around them. They weren’t afraid to try unfamiliar things. They embraced the new, the strange, the unexpected.

So stop being terrified that you’re going to learn the “wrong things” at college, and start going about the difficult task of letting your narrative unfold as it will. Learn all that you can. Follow your passions. Develop new ones.

We are not only the majors we declare, or the universities we attend. We are our experiences. So, go. Be unafraid. Be yourself. Now is as great a time as any.

Written by Chelsea Harvey

Chelsea is a second year Advertising major and a part of FU’s Leadership Program. 

Campus MovieFest Recap

Posted: January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

If you competed this year you know this year was the most competitive we’ve seen yet at Campus MovieFest with over 180 entries and just finishing a film within a week is a HUGE accomplishment.

We’d like to congratulate our members and officers for a big success at tonights finale! In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights below.

 TOP 16 FINALIST – Maddy (McKinley Alden, Becca Ben-Davids, Josh Jacobs, Cariann Saunders, Zoe Taylor, Page Walker)


TOP 16 FINALIST, BEST DRAMA WINNER – Brian’s Brain (Tyler Reeves and Montana Wong)

 TOP 16 FINALIST, BEST COMEDY NOMINEE – Bojangles  (Meredith McKay and Molly Roland)

TOP 16 FINALIST, BEST PICTURE WINNER – O, Angelo! (David Goehring)

DSLR 101

Posted: October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera is probably the most affordable and best quality camera a do-it-yourself filmmaker can get. Some of the most popular are made by Canon and Filmmaking Union is shooting with a Canon 7D and T2i for our productions this year.

If you’re new to filmmaking or DSLR cameras though, most people have no idea what to do once they get their hands on one. You might get the urge to start shooting in “auto,” letting the camera do all the work for you, but with a basic understanding of photography principles and about the camera itself, you can start shooting like a professional.


Online you can find thousands of videos and articles about how to get started and we’ve picked out a couple resources that are good place to start. Still, nothing is more helpful than playing around with your own camera or getting your hands on a friends to learn the basics.

Vimeo Video School goes over the basics of  working with available light in this tutorial. Also check out the article that goes along with it that explains exposure, white balance, ISO, and some aspects of lighting.


The site NoFilmSchool has a fantastic resource, The DSLR Cinematography Guide, that provides more in depth technical information about the camera well as information on choosing lenses and advice if your interested in buying a DSLR. If you sign up for NoFilmSchool’s listserv they’ll also send you a PDF of the guide as a bonus.

Know of any other useful resources for shooting? What are you favorite tutorial sites online for filmmaking? Email us at ugafilmmaking@gmail.com

Info Session Recap

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

In case you missed our info session tonight you’re still in luck! Here are some of the basics we covered at the session.


Open to all majors and experience levels, with Filmmaking Union learn the ins and outs of the film industry and how to be a do it yourself filmmaker.


Fall 2012 – Production! We’ll be filming our web series throughout the semester and introducing members to different areas of production through workshops.

*Dec. 1st 2012– Networking Connection, meet UGA alumni and film industry professionals from Atlanta, LA and NYC.

Spring 2013 – More production!

*Jan. 2013 – Guerilla Film Fest!** We provide the equipment. You make whatever film you want to in 127 hours. Prizes will be


Roles – We’ll be going over all areas of production including: producing, directing, assistant directing, camera, lighting, audio, production design, editing, and more. Additionally, each semester we’ll also call for new ideas through our scriptwriting contest, Project Green Light.

Equipment – We will be shooting with a Canon DSLR 7D camera, a professional HD camera used on films such as Like Crazy.


All we ask is that as part of our production team you help fundraise for our project through Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a fantastic website that allows you to create a project, set a goal for how much money you want to raise, create a deadline for when you want the money raised by and then anyone can donate to your project. THE CATCH: if Filmmaking Union sets our goal to $2000 and we only raise $1999 then we get NONE of it. It’s all or nothing.

We need you to ask anyone you know to help contribute to our project. Each member is asked to fundraise $50 for our project. That’s it! The money we raise will not only go towards sustainable equipment that you’ll get to use but also contribute to all our film productions this year.


We’ll be holding workshops Mondays at 7pm leading up to the days we start filming. Filming is tentatively schedule for the weekends of 10/13, 10/20 and 10/27. Note – based on your the production role you desire you will not be expected to attend all these dates. Location TBA over listserv and Facebook weekly before each meeting and rooms for the rest of the semester will be post by the end of September.

•9/24 – Workshop (focus pre-production/assistant directing)

•10/01 – General meeting/Workshop (directing/production design/hair/makeup/wardrobe)

•10/08 – Workshop (focus camera/lighting)

•10/15 – Workshop (focus audio/post production)

•10/22 – Workshop (focus post production)

•10/29 – Shooting Begins/Post

•11/05 – Shooting/Post

•11/12 – Shooting/Post (last meeting before break)


If you want to come away this semester with production skills, friends, and a greater understanding of the film industry and what specific area of film is right for you, come as often as you can.  The more involved you are, the more influence you’ll have on the final product. If you want to be involved yet have a conflict, contact us through email and we’ll work out a plan.


All current officers are 4th years and we’re ready to pass the torch. If you interested in gaining a leadership position and learning more about film production and the industry, asks us how you can be more involved this year in the fall or spring. Elections will be held early spring 2013. What are we looking for? Enthusiasm!


If you’re still interested in getting involved and couldn’t make the meeting, email us at ugafilmmaking@gmail.com and we’ll send you a crew sign up sheet. Please request a sheet and email a complete form by THIS SUNDAY 9/23.

**Guerilla Film Fest will take place in lieu of CampusMovie Fest that will no longer be coming to UGA. 


“Everyone starts at the bottom.”

This is a handy little verse I told myself over and over during my internship this summer. As I was making copies, carrying 20 coffees from Starbucks at a time, and generally doing everything that everyone else didn’t feel like doing, I comforted myself with the fact that no one just starts at the top of the ladder, everyone has to climb it.

Many of you may be considering internships in the film industry, something I highly recommend to anyone who wants respectable and reliable contacts for their future career. Though every experience is different, I’ll share with you some stuff I learned throughout my time as an intern so you guys can be as prepared as possible when you start interning yourself.

Tip #1: Smile like you mean it

No matter what kind of day you are having, always smile and act as friendly as humanly possible to everyone you come in contact with throughout your work day. No one is going to say ‘oh my gosh, that person smiles way too much, I can’t stand them.’ You’re going to make someone’s day by smiling at them and simply saying ‘good morning! how are you?’ and that person is going to remember you.

Tip #2: Make friends with people low on the totem pole

Though having the owners of the company love you is a plus, the people that are going to be in charge of hiring you are the assistants and secretaries of the film world. Get these people to LOVE you! Their jobs are usually really stressful and if you can make their day better or help them out, than do it. When they progress in their careers they’ll remember you and recommend you for their old positions.

Tip #3: Remember everyone’s name

Remembering everyone’s name in the office is usually not too difficult, seeing as you’re around them all day. However, if your internship gives you a chance to go on set, make sure to try your best to remember the names of the people you come in contact with throughout the day. By calling them by their first names and saying hi to them when they pop in and out of the office on non-set days, you’ll make an good impression on them–it’s not normal for people to remember names, especially on sets where there are so many names to remember!

Tip #4: Ask questions like crazy!

While in the office, its important to ask as many questions as possible, even ones you don’t really care about. Ask the accountants how the budget is allocated for each project or how the secretaries got interested in the business. Even if you don’t care, act like you do! These are people not usually talked to and they’ll appreciate your interest.

On set, do more or less of the same! As an intern, you have a freedom that most people on set don’t– you can talk to the different departments and not be annoying! When you get hired for an actual job, you’ll notice that most departments on set keep to themselves, however, as an intern, you don’t belong to any departments! Ask everyone questions, no matter what department they’re in, even if its not one you’re interested in.

But remember, office or on set, make sure to realize when people are too busy to talk– you don’t want to be that person that slows down operations.

Tip #4: Always carry a  few call-sheets, a pad of paper, pen, business cards, and a walkie-talkie battery around with you on set

Carry extra call-sheets so you can answer questions about what time lunch or wrap is– you’d be surprised how many people are going to ask you. Carry an extra one so you can give it to someone if they ask a question, you’ll seem prepared and helpful! You can also make notes on the call sheets next to the names of the people you meet so you can remember them the next day.

Carry a pad of paper and pen so that you can write down people’s names/departments– you’ll be surprised how many people are going to offer to help you out since you’re new. Also handy for coffee orders you’re probably going to have to get at some point.

Carry business cards — you look legit and people will be impressed!

And finally, carry extra walkie-talkie batteries — someone’s battery is going to go dead during the day and you’ll be that person that saves the scene with your swift replacement! If you hear “I need another ‘Hot Brick'” on the walkie, that’s your cue to give them a new battery.

Tip #5: Look a little above average every day

On set and in the office, you’ll notice that people in the film world dress down most of the time — jeans, shorts, t-shirts, sneakers… you’re not likely to see suits and heels most days. Even though it might be tempting to simply fit in, you have to remember that you don’t want to fit in, you want to stand out! Shower daily, do your hair (or for guys, make it look presentable) and dress a little above average every day, chances are, you’ll get noticed for it.

Tip #6: Always get to work/set 30 minutes before you’re supposed to be there

If you’re just going into the office, the time will give you a moment to relax before walking in and wake up a little.

If you’re going on set, it’ll give you time to eat breakfast and mingle with the rest of the crew, who will be getting to set 30 min early so they can grab a bite as well. Your call-time is when you should be starting to work, not when you’re actually supposed to get to set.

Tip #7: Don’t touch other department’s stuff

You’ll probably be with the production assistants when on set and you’re going to be tempted to help out the different departments. Just don’t.  Though it may seem like a friendly gesture to pick up that cord for the lighting department, or move that apple box for the grips, they’re going to see you as a threat to their jobs (union stuff) and are going to yell at you for it. You can always ask if they need help, but chances are they’ll be much more friendly if you are just asking questions rather than doing their job for them.

and NEVER give a professional on set suggestions on how to do things. You need to play the role of the inexperienced and eager intern; if you start giving advice to different people on set than it’ll make you seem pretentious. and NEVER EVER EVER give tips to the actors/actresses and director– just don’t. That’s dumb.

Tip #8: Do every job like your career depends on it

Chances are you’re not going to be given huge tasks to do as an intern. Instead, you’ll get tasks like helping assistants book flights for their bosses to go to Italy, getting/handing out paperwork, getting lunch, carrying messages between departments on set, and of course, getting coffees. Even if the task doesn’t seem important, act like its the most important thing you’ll ever do. Always finish it correctly and swiftly, and ask questions if you’re confused. You want to be seen as the reliable intern that gets things done right.

Tip #9: For the ladies… don’t get discouraged

Being a girl on set is going to be tough– most of the crew are guys and they’re going to assume they’re better at things than you are. Sounds like a medieval idea, but it still exists in the film world. You’re going to get 10 men a day grabbing equipment out of your hands because they think its too heavy for you and you’re going to have people not include you in tasks because they think you can’t do it. My advice to you is this– don’t let it get to you. They’re not trying to be jerks, its just what happens. Pull your own weight and do your best to be a valuable member of the crew and you’ll make it.


Getting an internship is a great accomplishment, but unfortunately, there are usually a lot of interns. You need to be remembered as the friendly, fun (but not too fun), dependable, smart, innovative and interested intern. Sticking out among your fellow interns is your number one priority during your internship– if you call back to ask if there are any job openings when you graduate, you want the person to remember you right away. Always strive to be your best and go above and beyond, no matter what everyone else is doing. When your internship is over, make sure to keep in touch with the contacts you made; friendly hellos every once in a while are a great way to keep the connection alive for the future. Plus it’ll keep you fresh in their mind for upcoming gigs.

And if you’re not remembered, what’s the point of an internship?


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Beasts of the Southern Wild has taken the film industry by storm after winning the acclaimed Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and other awards at the Cannes Film Festival. The micro-budget indie film has already garnered Oscar buzz, a major feat for any new filmmaker. The young, first time director, Benh Zeitlin, faced several challenges working with children, non-actors, the outdoors, and little resources, yet put other big budget films to shame with his riveting portrayal of a young girls journey after a natural disaster destroys her community.

If you missed the Q&A with Beasts of the Southern Wild producer Michael Gottwald then you’re still in luck! Check out the video below. Gottwald gives an insightful look at the film’s development from the very beginning.

Beasts of the Southern Wild will be playing at Cine Athens at 5:15pm now until Thursday, 9/13. We highly recommend the trip.

Grady LA: Part I

Posted: August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


FU officer Nicole here! I just got back from spending a whopping two months out in Los Angeles, California and do I have some exciting things to relay to you guys! First off, Grady LA… DO IT. It’s a new program you can apply for if you’re a Grady student and I highly suggest you take advantage of it. Jen Smith leads the program and has SO MANY connections in Los Angeles and though the program details are mysterious at the start, you’ll get super pumped when you find out who you’ll be meeting and what you’ll be doing. Not only did I meet tons of contacts but I learned more during those two months about the film industry than I did the past 3 years in school. Yeah UGA gives you the basics, but its going out into the real world of movies/commercials that you really get to know what kind of career you’re looking at. One thing that was a bit intense about Grady LA was definitely the schedule. Let’s break this down.

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Internship – My personal hours were from 8:30am to 6pm. LONG DAYS.
  • Tuesday: Class/Speakers – Those of us who took the Screenwriting class with Jen Smith (myself included) met with her Tuesdays to develop our ideas. Usually we’d also have a guest speaker from the film industry come and talk with us/we would go to a production company’s office and talk with them.
  • Thursday: Speakers/Activities – More guest speakers and going to production companies
  • Weekends: Whatever you felt like doing, if you had any energy left after the week… though some field trips/guest speakers were thrown in regularly on weekends as well.
The program was definitely an intense and tiring experience, but I would NOT have traded it for the world. TOP 3 HIGHLIGHTS you ask? Well don’t mind if I do!
  • Teen Choice Awards – Whether you’re a Justin Bieber or Twilight fan or not, it was awesome seeing so many famous people in one room!
  • HBO Films – We got to talk to the head haunchos at HBO and got an exclusive private screening of one of their films. After the screening they discussed the entire process of making the film and gave us all tips on how they got into the business.
  • Disneyland – Need I say more?
That’s about it about Grady LA, if you get into the program I would really suggest doing it, especially if you’re not comfortable with the amount of information you receive from your classes.
COMING SOON! – Advice on being an intern, noted and learned by yours truly! Stay tuned!

Cannes Reviews

Posted: July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

With solid runs at the Cannes Film Festival, look out for these indie films within the next year! The enchanting Moonrise Kingdom is already out in theaters now and we’re holding out to see Mud and Killing Them Softly.

Moonrise Kingdom 

Set in a small island town off the coast of New England, Wes Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom tells the sweet tale of two young 12 year olds who find love with each other and plot to escape away together in the woody around their community. Told in Anderson’s colorful and simplistically campy style, Moonrise utilizes all of the best Anderson has to offer through carefully thought out shots, clean lines and a color pallet of pastels and vibrant yellows; as well as several new tricks including his two lead actors new comers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. Told through the eyes of a child Moonrise is upbeat, joyful, and lacking a single mean bone in its entire body.

Director: Wes Anderson

Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Cast: Bruce Willis, Bill Murray, Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward



This year was the year of the southern fairy tale at the Cannes Film Festival and director Jeff Nichols was just the man to deliver us an outstandingly touching tale of young love and old fears. Mud takes place in rural Arkansas, when two young boys find a man hiding out on an island in the middle of the river. Trying to win his long lost love back the two boys set out to help him repair an old boat and along the way they repair pieces of themselves. This coming of age story very reminiscent of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn struck a cord with audiences at the festival with it’s blue collar charm and clean cinematography it is sure to see wide commercial success.

Director: Jeff Nichols

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Tye Sheridan and Jacobo Lofland.


Killing Them Softly

“Killing Them Softly” (100 mins) When an illegal card game is turned over, the mob calls in Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to set things straight and heal the collapsing criminal economy. Working around the executives of modern day “corporate crime” and the dimwits on the streets, Jackie takes matter into his own hands to restore order to the system he has been a part of for so long. An all-star cast surrounds this outstandingly watchable story featuring old mob-flick favorites such as James Gandolfini and Ray Liotta. It’s a stylistic new take on the mobster film with stunning cinematography and direction from Andrew Dominik.

Director: Andrew Dominik

Cast: Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta

Reviews written by Alison Bridges

UGA at Cannes

Posted: July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Holy crap, that’s Wes Anderson.” I wish I could have spoken more eloquently but those were the words that flew out of my mouth as the lanky ginger-haired director walked out of the door of the famous Lumiere Theater and on to the Red carpet in front of me. What was spoken next was a less than audible string of words that were said at such a high decibel, only dogs and a select group of bats and marine life could fully make it out as I begged him for his autograph. So marked the beginning of my trip to the Cannes Festival du Film and it only got better from there.

Rewind back three weeks and our story begins as we follow twenty-seven University of Georgia undergraduate students embarking on the Cannes Film Festival Study Abroad program. As we boarded the plane we were nervous, excited, and if any of the other students were like me then they were probably pretty hungry. I arrived in France with about 10 other students and we would have been hopelessly lost without each other. I didn’t know what to expect rolling into our French residence in the tiny coastal town of Juan le Pins, France. Considered to be the Panama City Beach of France, Juan was full of fellow tourist and summer vacationers. The next day as people trickled in throughout the afternoon excitement and nerves began to creep in. Am I really about to attend the Cannes Film Festival?

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to pinch myself awake I decided to accept it as truth and prepare the best way I could, by texting someone to help me. Twenty of us managed to cram ourselves into one tiny room as we poured over the market books, which displayed the synopsis, location, and time of every screening during the next week and a half. After six hours, thousands of summaries, and two bottles of wine we had each chosen our desired schedule for the days ahead. Next stop Cannes.

For those of you who may not know much about the festival itself, Cannes is a week and a half long event along the French Riviera where films are shown and bought. It is widely hailed as one of the most prominent and elite venues to showcase works of cinema. Cannes is unique in that it is one of the only film festivals to incorporate a market into its festivities, where big name distributors as well as lesser known companies can make contacts, sell their films and have a chance to attend screening for the films outside of the competition. Cannes is also home to the competition for the Palm D’or. Second only to an Oscar, the Palm is one of the most prestigious awards and recognitions in the film world. Over four thousand films played in the Marche du Film alone and the in and out of competition films reached hundreds. There was no shortage of things do or see in a day and if you weren’t at a screening then you weren’t doing it right.

As our first days began we weren’t sure what to expect from the event. I knew that the opening film for the festival was Wes Anderson’s latest work “Moonrise Kingdom” about a young boy and girl who fall in love and run away together. As a HUGE Wes Anderson fan I knew that my one and only goal for the entire festival was going to be getting in to that premier. I woke up the first morning fully packed and prepared for the day just to arrive at the train station and find that the train was delayed by 30 minutes.

Cannes Life Lesson #1: Don’t trust the trains.
Cannes Life Lesson #2: Your schedule never works out the way your planned. Go with it.

After invading just about everyone’s personal space on the overly packed train and sprinting to the theater, my friends and I finally made it to our first screening of the festival, Detachment. It was a market screening so only a select few of us with grey Market badges were even allowed in. The theater was much smaller then I had originally imagined and seats began filling up fast. As I plunked into the red cushy chair a sense of exhilaration wafted over me. My brain was numb, I couldn’t recall the name of the film I was about to see, who was in it, what the synopsis had said, let alone the names of my two friends sitting next to me. Cannes Life Lesson #3: Make it a priority to memorize the names of the people you’re with so you don’t run the risk of calling someone Sally when her name is Julia. Then the room went dark and the projector was kicked on. The sound of the film running through the metal box brought back memories of seeing movies with my father as a kid. We would sit in the back row close to the projector because he thought the sound it made added something to the whole visceral experience; something intangible but definitely real. Detachment turned out to be the story of an inner city school and the group of teachers, subs, parents, and students who inhabit it. It was very heavy but completely worth the asthma attack it took to
get there.

Cannes Life Lesson #4: Try unfamiliar things. More often than not they work out for the best.

After having one screening under our belt we went on to the next, the next and the next. After a while you don’t really hear the little voice in your head telling you that you need food or that you’re tired. All you know is that if you don’t get into that next screening you’re going to go Hulk on somebody! By the time that I couldn’t feel my eyeballs anymore I knew I needed to turn in. I made my way to the American Pavilion, a closed off area where Americans in the Market get exclusive rights to pay 12 euros for a quesadilla, get drinks, and hob nob in English. It’s a mini slice o’ paradise.

Fully rested and repatriated we decided to begin the humiliating yet rewarding process of begging for tickets. Certain movies at the festival are being premiered for the very first time on the screens of Cannes. For these movies, they reserve the red carpet and the majestic Lumiere Theater. These screenings are impossible to get into if you don’t have a badge and a ticket. Lucky for us, we have a badge.. just no tickets.

Cannes Life Lesson #5: It’s all about how you spin it.

For this process you get all fancied up then you hit the streets with a sign and a smile asking anyone in a tux for “une billet supplementaire”. With half of the street population doing this odds are not in your favor unless you’re a very attractive girl. I sauntered out into the crowd like a male peacock and waited open handed for my ticket to come. Long story short, I sat on the grassy knoll and watched as all my hopes and dreams walked up the red carpet without me. My beloved Wes, Bill, Bruce, Eva Longoria for some reason, and all the students who managed to get tickets. I along with a few other unfortunate souls all found our way back to the AmPav and proceeded to swap stories about our attempts at scoring tickets. Around 9:45 pm we were being shepherded out of the area and decided to go home with our tails between our legs and wait for our chances tomorrow. As we began walking back across the knoll a barrier and a very red carpet stopped us. We had some how stumbled upon not only the Moonrise Kingdom after party but also the entrance to that after party. Any star coming in had to walk right in front of me.

Cannes Life Lesson #6: Always go to the AmPav.

There we stayed until 11 pm watching every member of the cast and a few extra celebs walk inches away.  Just as I had gotten all the star struck out of me I notice a talk skinny long-haired man approaching. Could it be? Oh yes it could! Wes Anderson himself in the flesh right here. A stream of questions and shrieks whizzed through my head. “Do I look okay? Did I put on deodorant this morning? I didn’t, did I? It’s okay Ali you always smell good no matter what! Why did I have to eat those sour cream and onion chips!?”

As he walked by I knew this was my only chance. “Wes!” I shouted, “Wes Anderson!” He turned around, saw my group of friends and I and began walking over. “Mr. Anderson I’m one of your biggest fans! I love all of your work I’ve seen everything you’ve ever made even Bottle Rocket! You’re the reason why I want to work in the film industry. Last night I watch the Life Aquatic to prepare for the premiere today. I can’t believe this!” That is what I wish I had said. Instead a stream of 12-year-old girl consciousness came out and I said all of that in a jumble of squeals and giggles. “That’s so nice of you, thank you so much Miss. You chose a great movie to help you prepare. I hope you get a chance to see the movie tonight.” He replied. His voice was like weird honey; sweet but quirky, just like him. He handed me my program back with his signature and let a small smile slip across his face as he walked away and just like that Wes was gone.

That was our very first night in Cannes and it proved to be an omen for the rest of our time spent there. When we ventured out of our comfort zones we found ourselves surrounded by passionate and artistic people who wanted to share this festival with us. Cannes is place that is not experienced by many. Should you get the chance make it an experience you won’t forget.   Don’t back away from a challenge; don’t turn away because things are foreign. If a guy in a tan suit tells you “No!” just shout in your most intimidating voice “My colleagues are in there!” Walk through the streets by yourself. Eat a crepe or 2 or 8! In short, go to Cannes. Be apart of something you love.

Viva la France Viva il Cinema!

Written by Alison Bridges