Posted: March 11, 2010
By Magdalena Georgieva '10
The first time Ariel Hahn '10 visited Venice, she saw George Clooney arriving by boat at the 65th Venice Film Festival. But Hahn wasn't just a bystander at the oldest film festival in the world; she was at work assisting the international public relations firm Rogers and Cowan.
"It opened up my eyes to what the festival circuit is," said Hahn about her summer internship in Italy. "Now I understand why it is a multibillion dollar industry."
A film studies major with a gender studies minor, Hahn found the internship opportunity at the Venice Film Festival through a program called American Pavilion. She planned her trip abroad with some funding from the Career Development Center and with the support of her advisor and film studies department chair Robin Blaetz.
"It was nice to learn a lot of real-life job skills outside school but still very much with support from school," she said about the encouragement she received from Mount Holyoke.
In Venice, Hahn got a taste of the glamorous and hectic life of celebrities. She sat in on a private press conference with Nicolas Cage, attended interviews with filmmaker Werner Herzog, and met filmmaker Antoine Fuqua.
"I had never been to a film festival of such size," said Hahn, who spent the month of August assisting in the preparation of special events and interviews for Rogers and Cowan's clients.
In this vibrant environment, Hahn learned from public relations professionals about the business organization of their industry. Thanks to the many networking opportunities she was exposed to, Hahn found a mentor, a Smith alumnae, and has been assisting her with some of her Los Angeles projects.
Back on campus, Hahn heads Mount Holyoke's student film organization, the Film and Video Collective, and assists the film studies department as a liaison. Her advice to fellow film studies majors is to "seek out" internship opportunities.