×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fests test what can’t be taught in class

Education Impact Report 2012

Top global film festivals are pop-up microcosms of the pic business: Places where, in an intense time frame, art and commerce mix. For university film programs, they are also an ideal teachable moment.

“My only interest in film festivals is if they have a market,” says Bob Bassett, the dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman U., who shepherds student outings to Sundance and South Korea’s Busan film fests. Instead of focusing on the aesthetics of debuting films, “the purpose of those trips to film festivals is all about the business: How marketing is changing, how social media and digital distribution are kicking in,” he says.

Chapman is just one of many schools that organize film-fest field trips for select groups of students. Even more important than giving undergrad and graduate-level students the opportunity to meet filmmakers and see their latest efforts is the chance to observe the dynamics of film sales, publicity and deal-making firsthand.

“We see the top festivals as coral reefs of media bio-activity where students can engage and learn and become part of the media ecosystem,” says Frank Patterson, dean of the college of motion picture arts at Florida State U. The film school’s Torchlight Program facilitates student attendance at Cannes, Sundance and SXSW under the school’s auspices. A professor, such as FSU’s Paul Cohen, attends as well to help frame the experience.

At NYU’s Stern School of Business, 26 MBA candidates enrolled in Content and Commerce at Cannes take on specific academic assignments and then travel to the market and fest, where they meet senior distribution execs, filmmakers and attend premieres and screenings. However, “It’s not a tour group,” says Al Lieberman, exec director of Stern’s entertainment media and technology division. “We guide them, we have discussions and reviews, and then they are on their own.”

This will be the course’s ninth year; prior to the event, students analyze several film companies and the work of one non-U.S. director in the fest. A final paper is due that tackles the marketability of a competition film. “They take everything they’ve learned and report on how they would exploit the film,” Lieberman says.

Though their event lacks the market environment of Cannes or Berlin, Tribeca organizers have partnered with the Flashpoint Media Arts Academy in downtown Chicago, collaborating with students at the two-year production-oriented program to produce unique digital content, including pre-show trailers, for the Gotham-based sprocket opera.

“There’s a real focus on enhancing real-world experiences while students are enrolled,” says Jon Patricof, president and chief operating officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “The school embodies the belief that collaboration between film, media and technology is essential for the training of future industry leaders.”

The Road to Tribeca class entails meet-ups with filmmakers (such as David O. Russell) but also hands-on activities, from blogging to filming events.

As with all school programs, the key incentive is the leg-up it gives students. “It’s an important part of their educational experience,” says NYU’s Lieberman. “People come back and say, ‘This changed my life.'”

SPROCKET OPERA CHAPERONES

Film schools see fests as an ideal forum for students to observe the industry in action. Here are some instructors who lead those expeditions annually:

  • Arizona State
    Kevin Sandler
    Students interned and volunteered at Sundance 2012.

  • Columbia College Chicago
    Bruce Sheridan
    Students attend Sundance.

  • Columbia (New York)
    Ira Deutchman
    MFA students attend structured program at Cannes with meetings, screenings and seminars.

  • Florida State
    Paul Cohen
    Select students attend SXSW, Tribeca, Sundance and Cannes through the Torchlight Program.

  • Loyola Marymount
    Ariane Bicho
    Rotates fest attendance: In 2013, students can expect to attend SXSW, Berlin, LAFF, Annecy and Casablanca’s Recontres Sous la Tente.

  • NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia
    Michael Burke
    MFA students participate in Palm Springs ShortFest.

  • Seattle U.
    Edwin Weihe
    “The Festival” offered as a course; per course requirements, students intern at Seattle Film Festival.

  • U. of Miami
    Dia Kontaxis
    Students attend Miami and Slamdance film fests.

Return to the Education Impact Report 2012 >>

More Biz

  • Gabrielle Union Marketing Summit

    Listen: How Gabrielle Union Bet on Herself and Changed Her Brand

    Actress Gabrielle Union said she was nearly 17 years past the expiration date of her mass appeal when she got the brand partnership of her dreams. “They tell you that after 26, ‘Honey, hang it up,'” Union said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” The episode was recorded during a keynote [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Sued by India’s Oldest Label, Will Remove Catalog From Platform

    Just weeks after Spotify launched in India without securing rights from Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, it is being sued by the country’s oldest record label, Saregama, and will remove that company’s 120,000-song catalog from its platform within 10 days, according to reports in Inc42 and Music Business Worldwide. The streaming giant had approached the label for [...]

  • DJ Mormile and Jeff Burroughs Def

    Def Jam Appoints DJ Mormile, Jeff Burroughs to Senior Posts

    Def Jam Recordings has appointed industry veterans DJ Mormile and Jeff Burroughs (pictured above, right and left, respectively) to senior executive roles in its Los Angeles and New York offices, respectively. The announcement was made today by label Chairman & CEO Paul Rosenberg. Mormile — the L.A.-based manager who counts producer Mike Will Made It and [...]

  • DJ Mustard Signs With Sony/ATV Music

    DJ Mustard Signs With Sony/ATV Music Publishing (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony/ATV Music Publishing has signed Grammy-winning songwriter, artist and producer Mustard to a worldwide deal. The Los Angeles-based hitmaker has worked with artists including YG, Rihanna, 2 Chainz, Drake, Migos, Chris Brown, Nipsey Hussle, Big Sean and many others, and won Best R&B Song at this year’s Grammy Awards for co-writing Ella Mai’s smash single [...]

  • NFL-Sunday-Ticket-DIRECTV

    AT&T CEO Expects DirecTV to Keep NFL Sunday Ticket Exclusively

    AT&T believes it will hang on to DirecTV’s exclusive rights for the NFL Sunday Ticket, even as the league has said it’s considering ending the satellite operator’s exclusivity to extend the out-of-home games package to streaming platforms. “The exclusivity [of Sunday Ticket] should remain as we go forward on DirecTV,” AT&T CEO and chairman Randall [...]

  • Pandora Acquisition Bites Into SiriusXM’s First-Quarter

    Pandora Acquisition Bites Into SiriusXM’s First-Quarter Profits

    SiriusXM today announced first quarter 2019 operating and financial results — the first since the company completed its acquisition of Pandora Media on Feb. 1 — and its quarterly profit was down 44% from the previous year. It attributed that drop to approximately $76 million of acquisition and other costs related to the Pandora deal, a $31 million one-time benefit [...]

  • Randall Stephenson

    AT&T Misses on Q1 Revenue as WarnerMedia Falls Short, DirecTV Subs Continue to Slide

    AT&T missed on the top-line with first quarter 2019 sales coming in under Wall Street targets. DirecTV continued to bleed subscribers — including a net decline of 83,000 DirecTV Now customers — partially offset by 3.3% revenue growth at WarnerMedia although sales in the media segment were lighter than analysts expected. The telco’s revenue for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content