The experience of a lifetime!

Reflecting back on the past three weeks I’ve spent in beautiful Europe, I  am overwhelmed by all of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences I’ve been able to take part in during my trip overseas. After the Cannes Film Festival, I spent a week traveling along the French Riviera, making stops in SanRemo, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Antibes, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, and Sainte-Marguerite. The final leg of my trip, I’ve spent on a vineyard in Berneck, Switzerland, living with a local family and learning about the wine industry from the farmer’s perspective, and the work that goes into owning and running a vineyard.

Like everything else, all good things must come to an end, and my last day in paradise has sadly arrived. Tomorrow morning reality will finally kick in as I fly home to the states and adjust back to the life of an average college student. Thinking back to all these amazing cities I’ve traveled to and all the unique experiences I’ve taken part in, nothing compares to what I will take away from the experience I spent as an IIACI International Business Intern participating in The American Pavilion Cannes Program. As a  finance student with absolutely no film industry experience, I was completely unaware of what to expect as I began my internship at the Cannes Film Festival. Thinking back to the first day when I arrived in Cannes, I never would have imaged the abundance of knowledge I acquired on aspects of the film business such as film sales and financing, along with the all the relevant work experience I gained while on the job.

During the two-week internship, I was assigned to Essential Entertainment, a company that arranges production financing and provides global sales, distribution, and marketing for third-party and in-house productions. What excited me most about being assigned to this particular company was the fact that I already was familiar with the company’s chairman, James Kohlberg. As a finance major, I had a prior knowledge of the Kohlberg name because James is son of Jerome Kohlberg Jr., who is the founder of KKR & Co. L.P. — one of the top global private equity firms, that pioneered and specializes in leveraged buyouts. Under James Kohlberg, Essential Entertainment has quickly grown to become one of the world's premiere global film sales and finance companies. As an intern for Essential, I worked directly with the top company executives, including John Fremes (President), Mark Padilla (VP), and Elizabeth Powell (Business & Legal Affairs). As an intern for Essential, I greeted buyers from various territories who had scheduled meetings, showed them the film availabilities for their country, put together folders to hand out to buyers which included various information on different films, as well as answered the phones and rescheduled meetings. In addition, I listened in on meetings and sales deals and learned valuable inside information on sales negotiating, and the details of film sales. By the end of my internship, I took away a tremendous amount of knowledge on the process of film sales—from the very first step of acquiring a film, to the last stage when the distribution rights are sold to a territory, and how the revenue is distributed among the involved parties.

Above and beyond learning about the business and operations behind such a large and lucrative business such as a film financing company like Essential Entertainment, I also developed imperative networking skills necessary for any professional. That alone is an experience i will benefit from for a lifetime—regardless of whichever career path I may choose. The IIACI International Business Internship in Cannes provided me with the rare opportunity to make connections with distinguished and valuable business professionals in the film industry, which I would not have otherwise been able to do without participation in this program. In addition, I was able to make connections with other interns in the program and meet unique individuals from all over the world, in countless different areas of study—from aspiring film makers, to students studying fashion retail, to broadcasters. These students opened my eyes to the innumerable fields available within film and allowed me to expand and broaden my knowledge above and beyond the business of film to the many other fields that surround the film industry.

Overall, my experience as an IIACI International Business Intern exceeded my expectations and taught me real-life valuable and relevant information well beyond what I could have learned from reading any textbook. The preparation that IIACI put me and the other IIACI Interns through thoroughly prepared me to not only overcome the obstacles thrown my way during the hectic two-week internship program, but also allowed me to perform beyond what was expected of me, and enable me to excel as an aspiring business student during the program. The experience I had during the Cannes Film Festival was a life-changing, unforgettable experience that I would repeat again in a heart beat!!


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