Guest Blog Post – Conference Department Intern Neha Aziz
Flashback to the year 1997, Bill Clinton was president of the United States, we said goodbye to Princess Diana, and James Cameron became the king of world. It was also the year that I fell in love with movies. I was seven. On December 25th of that year I saw “Titanic” and everything about it to me was perfect. When the film was re-released in April to commemorate the 100th year anniversary of the sinking, I saw it in IMAX 3D. I even ignored the pain of paying the ridiculous $16 admission price! And yes, it is still perfect.
In October of last year, I was at a career fair for the UT College of Communication and was on the lookout for film-related internships. I found my way to Austin Film Festival’s booth and met someone named Kristen Washington who told me all about the Festival. I was immediately interested and turned in my resume and application 15 minutes after meeting Kristen. I knew Austin had a festival but as poor college student on a budget it was always out of the question to attend the event. A few weeks later I received and email from Maya Perez, the Conference Director to see if I was interested in being a conference intern. I had never had face-to-face interview before and I had no idea what to expect. I came in about 15 minutes early because I have a fear of getting lost, and for a second I thought I was because instead of an office building, I saw a little green house. I had my interview and got offered the position at the end of it. It was very exciting to embark on this internship. I had a lot of experience writing film reviews and film- related articles for UT publications but my experience at AFF has been incredible and eye opening and I have only been here for 6 and half months with many more months to go.
The majority of my time here has been transcribing 80 minute panels from past festivals which was interesting at times but incredibly mind numbing as well (so glad that is over now!) Transcribing aside, I have got to experience some awesome events. From Ted Tally going through his Academy Award-winning script “Silence of the Lambs” to Rob Thomas using his unaired pilot of “Party Down” as a screenwriting tool, these events are just a taste of what the Festival in October holds. This year’s list does not disappoint. Many of the writers and producers are from my favorites shows like “Once Upon a Time” and “Psych,” as well as some of my favorite films, “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” The thing that I admire most about Austin Film Festival is that so much of the attention is focused on the writers and not celebrity appearances, something that I think is lost on other festivals. October cannot come any sooner!