AJ Akinribade ’15 – “Welcome to LaLa Land!” My internship with the Indy Film Festival has been nothing short of that and I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to experience the festival from the ground up. I would like to thank Wabash alumni as well as the Lily Business Grant founders for their wondrous donations and support.
So what’s the Indianapolis International Film Festival? The 2012 Indianapolis International Film Festival (IIFF or Indy Film Fest.) is a non-profit organization where the love for films and filmmaking is shared in a fun ten day event called “Welcome to LaLa Land” going from July 19-29th. Our organization is a venue where big-time, low budget, locally shot, or from around the globe features and shorts can be discussed and enjoyed by our own Indianapolis community. We voice the stories of bright, young filmmakers who share the same passion for story-telling and filmmaking as our film loving audience does; an audience who enjoys quirky comedies, romantic comedies, dramas, thrillers, documentaries, animation, etc. During the ten day festival we do all from movie screenings to director’s Q&A, from filmmaking workshops to evening social gatherings where everybody from filmmakers, aspiring filmmakers, film buffs or just the regular film goer can take part in and enjoy. We simply play host to the art of film within our great city of Indianapolis!
During my eight weeks of working with the festival I had a wide range of responsibilities. As the operations intern I learned about everything that made the festival run. I communicated with filmmakers and sponsors through constant email threads, picked up and delivered festival packages, oversaw volunteers, etc. I even did what some may call the grunt work left for the intern, the tedious office work of punching numbers into excel.
The weeks leading up to the festival Wyatt Lewis (senior Wabash student who also interned for the Indy Film Festival) worked together to manage many tasks and projects. We worked with software such as dropbox, formstack, and withoutabox to communicate and update festival files among all the staff members.
During the festival I continued to work with those softwares in order to keep our records updated as well as direct filmmakers and sponsors throughout the ten day event. I also teamed up with non-staff volunteers at our box office to help sell tickets, pressed play with our film projectionists, and communicated with venue staff to make sure everything about the festival was running smoothly.
Other than having a dashing good time with the festival and learning so much, the one main thing that I gained from this experience was, “Do what you love with a passion!” Because of the festival being a non-profit organization, even the board members are just volunteers themselves. To me, the greatest aspect of the festival is that it is run by ordinary people just like you and me, who just happen to have an extraordinary passion for film. The festival is built on their combined and genuine effort. They go through all of the hard work for fun; they do it because they love it. That’s special to me. The consistent passion and drive I saw in the tired faces of my boss and co-workers during our late night office hours did it for me. To love what I do is the most important advice I’ve gained from this experience to give my future.