One of four Roy H. Park School of Communications students, rising senior Kris DiNardi —Writing for Film, Television and Emerging Media with minors in International Communications and French Translation Studies — recaps her experience as an intern at the Cannes International Film Festival. This is DiNardi’s second time at Cannes through The American Pavilion’s Film and Business Program.
Cannes is located on the French Rivera at the epicenter of the global film industry. When most people think of the Cannes International Film Festival, they picture celebrities and the sounds of flashing cameras. In reality, the festival is so much more. Cannes is the gateway to the film industry outside of Hollywood. All aspects of the film process are present. This includes securing funding for new projects, test screenings for films, and distribution into other areas and markets — just to name a few.
The American Pavilion serves as a private hospitality and communications hub during the festival. The Pavilion also runs multiple student programs in Los Angeles, Venice, Cannes Lions and, of course, Cannes. These programs give students access to the festival and the Marché du Cinéma (Cannes’ official film market) along with the ability to intern with agencies, journals, and film production and distribution companies.
In 2016, DiNardi did in-house ticket distribution for The Pavilion, which organized the ticket raffles for the films in the official selection and the red carpet screenings for all of the participating students in the program. Her job involved running through the Marché du Cinéma and the Croisette (the main road in the city of Cannes) trying to give out tickets — since unused tickets would penalize The Pavilion’s ability to receive future tickets.
Kris was an intern for UniFrance where her position consisted of running the reception desk, answering questions in French and English, and helping with press junkets and events. UniFrance is a French promoter of French cinema outside of France, from feature-length to short films. They held press junkets for French films in competition such as Le Redoutable, 120 battements par minute and Visages, villages. UniFrance is supported by the French government — through the CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée). In Cannes, many countries will provide government support whether through tax incentives and support, unlike the United States, which does not have an official film board. For DiNardi, being able to see the relationship between UniFrance, its members and various government organizations promoting French culture was quite fascinating and enlightening.
"Of course, I did see a few films and graced the red carpet at least once, but this isn’t my biggest takeaway from the festival. The most important thing that I learned from Cannes is about networking. Right off the bat, I admit that I’m not the best at networking, but networking among people who are my age from different schools and universities is what the program’s about. These are the same people who will be entering the industry within a few years, people with whom I might be working with in the future. As an alumna of The American Pavilion, I have found this so true. Just as fellow Park students helped me throughout my years at the college, alumni of the program have helped me find opportunities and given support.
On the last day of the festival, Barry Jenkins, director of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight and member of the Cinéfondation & Short Film jury, met with all of The American Pavilion interns. Jenkins said this was his number one piece of advice to students: “Stick with a festival.” What he meant by that is to continuously attend and participate at a festival — essentially become that particular festival’s insider. Jenkins mentioned that he has become an insider at the Telluride Film Festival, starting out originally as a projectionist.
With every year at Cannes, I have learned so much more about film and distribution. I hope to continue to work at the festival in the near future.
I am grateful to have received support from the Dr. John Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation and the James B. Pendleton Grant for Festival, Exhibition and Conference Participation."