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Students to Get Hands-On at Cannes

A previous Cannes Film Festival. Photo/Anna Feder

Six Emerson College students will get a beachside view of how the film industry works at the 70th Cannes Film Festival next month.

The students will be traveling through a program run by the American Pavilion at Cannes, which provides high school and college students with internships throughout the May 17–28 festival. The Pavilion provides hospitality, programming, social/networking events, and a communications hub for festivalgoers.

Students placed in internships could work for a trade publication like Variety, which puts out daily editions during the festival; distributors, like A24, which are shopping for films; and talent agencies; or the Pavilion itself, said Anna Feder, Visual and Media Arts programming director. 

“The idea is that they get to see how the [film] market runs,” said Feder, who will accompany the students to Cannes and serve as a mentor/point of contact for the Emerson students and 10 students from other schools.

Students arrive early for orientation, then work every other day during the festival, but they also get badges that allow them to participate in the festival as attendees. In between, they can watch films, attend talks, go to parties, and take in the sights of the French Riviera, Feder said.

“They’ll definitely get to go to red carpet screenings,” Feder predicted.

Alice Airoldi ’19, a Media Arts Production major with a focus on directing/producing, will be one of the half dozen Emerson students traveling to Cannes. This will be Airoldi’s first festival experience.

“Growing up, I’ve always viewed Cannes as a mecca for filmmaking, almost…” she said. “In my mind, the Oscars are for the big films, but Cannes is for the great films.”

The students don’t have their internship assignments yet, but Airoldi said she goes back and forth in her mind with where she’d like to be placed.

“I think I would be happy either with working at the Pavilion, or ideally, getting an internship at a distribution company; but I think they both have advantages and disadvantages,” she said.

Airoldi said she wants to get hands-on experience in the industry, but at the Pavilion, she’d have more time to explore the festival on her own. She said she’s planning to stop by the Italian Pavilion to make some contacts there (she’s from Milan), and once the semester is over, she’ll draw up a list of films she wants to try to see.

For her part, Feder will be there to preview films for her Bright Lights Film Series, which offers twice-weekly free screenings of diverse movies, followed by discussions with faculty and/or filmmakers.

She’s also hoping to connect with alumni who might be in town with their own film or to check out others’. Interested Emerson grads should email Feder at

On social media, the hashtag will be #ECCannes.

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