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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students shine at Sundance Film Festival

    Savannah Douglas
    Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Ian Brewer (left) and Taylor DiGilion (right), both UA film and television students, attended the Sundance Festival in January as interns.

    Some of the most valuable career lessons are learned outside of the classroom. Three UA students went to this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as volunteers and interns in pursuit of their passion.

    Taylor DiGilio, who graduated in December with a bachelor’s in producing and a minor in business administration, and Ian Brewer, a producing junior who also has a minor in business administration, attended the festival on an internship through the School of Theatre, Film and Television.

    “I’ve heard stories about how everybody drops everything that they do in Los Angeles and goes to Sundance every year,” DiGilio said, “and I wanted to be a part of it.”

    DiGilio and Brewer interned with The Creative Coalition, a nonprofit based out of New York that recruits producers, actors, writers and directors whose membership fee is donated to various charities and foundations.

    “It looks good for the actors and the people that are attached because they are donating their money,” Brewer said, “and in turn, having them attached looks good for The Creative Coalition because it draws in more people and more attention.”

    “They basically use star power to solve real world crises,” DiGilio said.

    Brewer and DiGilio worked out of the Yarrow Hotel and were in charge of transporting film industry luminaries between the airport, hotels and film screenings. They also assisted with three gala events by setting up tables and checking that everyone who wanted to attend was on the guest list.

    “Basically, I was the guy that would do anything that needed to be done to keep things running smoothly,” Brewer said.

    Another UA student and producing junior, Lisa Schaefer, attended the festival as a volunteer. The trip had been on her mind for quite some time, as she started the application process in August.

    This year, over 1,800 volunteers came to Sundance to make the festival a success. As one of those volunteers, Schaefer served as a crowd liaison at the Eccles Theatre.

    “It’s basically being the front of the festival,” Schaefer said. “I’m the first person that the patrons see.”

    She helped festival-goers figure out which line to get into while waiting for a film, as well as how many people should be let into the 1,270 seat theater at any given time. For all three students, seeing and interacting with celebrities became part of the daily routine.

    “You can’t really be starstruck when you’re working in the field,” Schaefer said.

    At the festival, DiGilio rubbed elbows with people such as Elijah Wood, Miles Teller, Richard Kind and Elle Fanning. He, too, quickly became accustomed to the star-studded environment.

    “Honestly, I got past the whole celebrity thing in like five minutes,” DiGilio said.

    Interacting with celebrities was just part of the festival — the students say they also learned a lot from the experience.

    “I think I just definitely learned that … one of the keys to getting places in the industry that we’re in is networking,” Brewer said, “and really working hard to just get yourself out there, and be willing to just say, ‘Hey, I’m Ian Brewer, I’m a film student.’”

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