Students Shine in International Film Festival Office Roles

For the six Palm Beach Atlantic students interning and volunteering at the Palm Beach International Film Festival (PBIFF) office in West Palm Beach, they are getting real-world experience in the inter-workings of a festival organization. Students have PBIFF business cards and email addresses and are finding out what it is like to work for a busy non-profit organization.

Randi Emerman, president of the Palm Beach International Film Festival, says that she is benefitting from having more volunteer workers in the office but mainly wants to help students learn what it takes to organize and execute a film screening from start to finish. She also hopes to teach students about the importance of independent film culture and how marketing can be the key to independent film success. She says, “I am really trying to make them feel as if they are a part of a team and playing an important role in this year’s festival.”

Back Row:  Mark Pollack, Ian Kirby, Caleb Escude and Krasimir Atanasov; Front Row:  Randi Emerman, Amber McMillan and Eastlyn Landells.

The students’ major project involved choosing a film to screen during the film festival, which runs through Thursday. They have watched countless films submitted to the festival for consideration and narrowed their choices. After finalizing the film, the students contacted the filmmaker, chose a date during the film festival for the screening and worked on a marketing, event and operational plan.

Guiseppe Guarnieri, a senior marketing major says, “This is the first time I am working in an office setting. I am learning from Randi how to handle real-life marketing situations. “

Guarnieri was instrumental in helping to attract other students to intern and volunteer at the film festival office, including Ian Kirby an international business major, who manages PBIFF’s social media and produced a radio commercial for PBIFF’s Oscar® Night that aired on Seaview Radio. Krasimir Atanasov, a senior graphic design and computer science major has also become involved with the PBIFF, producing a poster and advertisements for the organization’s annual Oscar® Night event and many other graphic design projects for the festival. Another student, Caleb Escude, is helping with technology and Web-based operations, and Amber McMillan and Eastlyn Landells are film majors who are watching and rating movies to learn the do’s and don’ts of cinematography and recommend films. This duo has also offered to secure other volunteers to assist during the festival.

Emerman says that the students have embraced the independent film industry through their work with PBIFF. While she says that some days they have fun watching movies all day, other days they are serious about planning for the screening. She is impressed with their marketing ideas, especially as they relate to engaging students from other colleges and universities in the film festival. 

According to Emerman, PBIFF can use interns and volunteers year-round as they navigate through their planning and execution cycles.