Students Work Behind the Scenes at Traverse City Film Festival

The Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) is an internationally known nonprofit event that takes place annually in the Northern Michigan area. This summer, several Michigan State University students have seized the opportunity to work as interns for the festival.

Eric Schwartz, a senior Advertising student, has been assisting with graphic design and creating print and digital collateral material that will be used during the festival.” He works closely with the other festival interns to produce promotional content and manages the printing operations with local businesses.

"So far the experience has been great – I've become friends with other interns and am driven by their passion for media arts, whether it be design, video production, music or social media," Schwartz said. "The biggest test for me right now is to apply branding techniques I've learned in class for an actual client, or in this case, a nonprofit organization. Personally, learning new features on some of the design programs I've been working on for years has been exciting for me."

In another department of the festival, Film Studies senior Wyatt Giangrande represents one half of the Film Preparation team. He catalogs the films that will be screened during the festival and gathers information about them to help with planning and promotion.

"We speak with the filmmakers and their teams, and then when films come in we organize them all so when the festival week comes, all of the films … get to one of ten different screening venues on time," Giangrande said.

Going into the office is no ordinary workday for these interns. Giangrande expressed his enthusiasm about being a part of the Traverse City Film Festival.

"I know that all of the work I'm putting in each day is allowing me to gain real world experience, while also putting on a world renowned film festival. I've learned so much, from how films are selected for the festival to how film projection works in the theater," said Giangrande.

Both Schwartz and Giangrande also worked as members of the Media Sandbox Street Team at ComArtSci, a group of students that work together to produce and promote a project. In the spring, they produced a documentary called "#LendMIHand,” which followed their team as they mentored Lansing youth and helped to rebrand and work with a charity called "Pictures of Hope." Their documentary will be screened at the festival.

"I credit my experiences with the Media Sandbox the most, in fact, being a member of the Media Sandbox Street Team introduced me to the Traverse City Film Festival," said Schwartz. "I was fortunate to be part of the team's 2015 documentary that was screened at last year's festival. Additionally, working on branding for nonprofits has been part of the Street Team's roots since the project began in 2014, so having the opportunity to work for another nonprofit has been rewarding once again."