“Years later, one of my own shorts was accepted by AAFF, and I returned home to see it screen, proud to be able to give back to an institution that has influenced generations of experimental filmmakers."
-- Brendt Rioux, Founder of Lost & Found 16mm Film Club
We reached out to past AAFF interns and asked them about their time with us and how it has impacted their careers. They were excited to share their stories and expressed their love for the Festival. We connected with six interns who worked with us between the 40th (2002) and 52nd (2014) Festivals. There are many different intern roles at the AAFF from creative to business and everywhere in between. Hands-on experience for our interns connects them with the film community as they assist in the coordination of the Festival, screen films, and talk with filmmakers from all over the world. Agnieszka Palarz, an intern during the 40th Festival, said, “I was lucky enough to sit in during several of the film submission screenings with the judges and would listen in on their feedback.” Agnieszka is the VP/Director, Executive Producer at DigitasLBi, a global marketing and technology agency, in Detroit and evaluates content for various projects in the same way she did here.
There are endless career opportunities that arise out of the internships people have with the AAFF and our past interns have followed their passion for film in various forms. Brendt Rioux and Lauren Iverson have started the Lost & Found 16 mm Film Club in LA and Tiny Frames Productions in Oakland, CA respectively. Others have gone on to be production coordinators, directors of photography, and news anchors. “Filmmaking is an act of bravery. I'm a more courageous reporter after working there” (Whitney Wild, 46th AAFF Intern).
The interns valued the uniqueness of the Festival and their ability to talk with people in creative careers and hear their insights. Geoff George said, “I met and worked with former festival director Christen McArdle (Lien) who is still a good friend and collaborator to this day...I remember watching submissions late into the night and was constantly fascinated by the content and quality of the films.” The connections made through the AAFF are what inspire others to do the same work and produce their own creative films to challenge themselves and others. The authenticity of the Festival brings people to Ann Arbor, and anyone who is lucky enough to be a part of it will not be disappointed as you can see through these interns’ testimonies.