Ivy festival for film business advice

Liman, Friedman, Flack speak at event

Ivy League MBAs have been pouring into Hollywood for years. But the relationship between Tinseltown and the East Coast institutions went deeper — and younger — last weekend at the Ivy Film Festival.

Undergrads gathered at Brown U. in Providence, R.I., to hear vets like director Doug Liman, former Par vice chair-chief operating officer Rob Friedman and film editor Sarah Flack rep the business to the contingent of potential pros.

“The kids that come out of Brown and many of these film societies are our future filmmakers, whether they be on the creative or commercial side,” said Friedman, who conducted a seminar on topics such as indie film, Wall Street’s influence on the biz and new media.

The event, which was being held for the sixth time, touts itself as the largest student-run international film and screenplay fest in the country. Short pics from 32 student filmmakers worldwide were accepted for the fest, which began Wednesday and closed Sunday.

Student, and fest co-exec director, Nick Clifford spent six months luring sponsors including MasterCard, Miramax and Variety to participate, which allowed the fest to draft its biggest budget to date.

“There is a huge contingent of Ivy League students who want to make films,” Clifford said. “They come to Brown like I did and major in something like business but realize that they really like film but just don’t have an outlet for it.”

Brown has no film department, but fest gave students a glimpse into both the corporate and creative side of the biz.

Friedman coached students inquiring on the best ways to break into the biz with advice like “define your interests.”

Liman, a Brown alum, wasn’t as gentle with the industry hopefuls.

“The (film business) ain’t like going into the banking business, where it appears that everything is in order,” Limantold students during the fest’s closing night festivities on Saturday. “There is bad news every day. You got to find a way to cope with it.”

After his speech, students gathered at the fest’s award ceremony, where 12 student filmmakers were feted. U. of Virginia’s Rom Alejandro took home the grand jury and undergrad drama prizes for his pic “Roskosmos”; Brown’s Maggie Perkins garnered the undergrad experimental kudo for “The Listening Project”; and Columbia’s Ian Adrian accepted the undergrad animation prize for “Phantoms of the Night.”

Liman, who studied film at USC’s graduate film school before dropping out, expressed hope that the Ivy Leaguers will eventually have the opportunity to study filmmaking as undergrads.

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