Student Internship Stories: Annette O’Dell ( QST’ 23), Facets Chicago

CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?

AO:  I had the pleasure to be a Festival Programming Intern for Facets Chicago, a film nonprofit organization that aims to bring films to children. Specifically, I was an intern for the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, which is put on annually in November by Chicago and is the largest festival for Children’s media. As I entered the program in September, only 2 months ahead of the festival date, I was focusing mainly on the later stages of the process: reviewing submissions for mature content, writing summaries, and creating educational viewing guides. At the end of my internship, the cycle started over, and I began the solicitation process to find films that matched the caliber and tone of the festival and reach out to the filmmaker to encourage them to submit their work. 

CCD: What inspired you to get this internship? 

AO: I found the internship opportunity with Facets on Handshake, and I knew I was interested in working in the film industry. I was specifically drawn to the idea of working on the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival which they put on annually, and decided to apply to try to learn more about the entertainment industry!

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the most challenging?

 AO: I found reviewing the film submissions and creating summaries and discussion questions to be the most challenging and the most rewarding. I would approach the task as follows: I was assigned a spreadsheet of films that I would watch, research, and rewatch, to then write a short, medium, and long summary and come up with 2-4 questions that can be used to facilitate discussion on the film. At first, I thought this would be very simple, but I realized that since these films have audiences from ages 3-18, I had to learn how to modify my questions to both be understandable by the children and advance the messages the filmmaker hoped to convey. I found that this process allowed me to better understand the work. Even in the short animated films for children 3-6, I could find that there was a deeper meaning and takeaway than at first glance, and the process of dissecting the work of these filmmakers taught me more about storytelling than my traditional methods of consuming media. 

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

AO: I got the chance to meet with a documentary filmmaker based in Chicago and I was able to email her and ask if I could meet with her sales agent, as that is a career I am interested in. From there I got a very educational and inspiring call from this sales agent, who spoke to me about the advice she wished she had at my age. These monthly meetings allowed me to learn about all of the different jobs that exist within the entertainment industry and I found them to be a very valuable part of my internship experience.

CCD: What is the biggest takeaway from your internship position?

AO: Overall, my internship experience with Facets encouraged me to continue pursuing my career in the entertainment industry. While this industry is daunting, this internship demystified the filmmaking and festival process while also introducing me to many more jobs that I would be interested in. I am very thankful for the Yawkey program for allowing me to work with Facets this semester.

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