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Student interns walk red carpet

Published: Monday, May 28, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07

As students near the end of their college career, an internship can be a vital experience. Some students also seek to make their internship an experience to remember.

The Festival de Cannes was the internship opportunity of a lifetime for one Texas A&M student.

“This festival is insane! The opportunities here are endless,” said Drew Ferguson, senior telecommunication media studies major. “I’ve been offered internships following the festival in London during the Olympics, job placement in L.A. after graduation, and premiere tickets to invite-only films at the festival. This, of course, means I get to walk the red carpet with the stars.”

The festival is an international film festival held annually in Cannes, France, that promotes and previews new films of genres from around the world. Celebrities are in attendance unveiling new films, new
fashions and throwing exclusive VIP parties.

The festival is by invitation only, and a select few find themselves holding the golden ticket that gets them in the door. Ferguson was one of nine A&M students to grab one of 50 internship spots available
at Cannes.

“I’ve brushed up against Alec Baldwin in the lobby and directed him to the gym within the Carlton hotel,” Ferguson said. “Also, Jackie Chan was literally chilling next to me in the hotel lobby waiting for his ride to pick him up. I was standing so close I could smell his cologne. I was literally a karate chop away.”

It was through Travis Duncan, program coordinator for The Creative Mind Group and previous Cannes Film Festival winner, that Ferguson heard about the internship.

“A super-enthusiastic promoter … came to A&M looking for the next generation of innovative filmmakers and film interns. It was through [student filmmaking organization] Aggie SWAMP Club that I was able to find out more information about the program and eventually gain the courage to apply,” Ferguson said via his BlackBerry in a Wi-Fi bar, one of few places wireless Internet is available in Cannes.

While working the festival, Ferguson stayed at the Villa Maupassant in La Bocca, France, a smaller town roughly 3 miles from Cannes. Ferguson said he enjoyed a fourth floor view of the Mediterranean.

Though Ferguson might have been 3 miles out, the company he interned with, Hyde Park Entertainment, set up shop right in the mix of the festival at the Carlton Hotel. At the Carlton, Ferguson also spotted celebrity Sacha Baron Cohen, who was promoting his movie “The Dictator,” and witnessed Paris Hilton planning her wardrobe next to Hyde Park Entertainment’s hotel room.

“Those are my personal stories,” Ferguson said. “However, I had a friend host a Shia LaBeouf yacht party and another friend get laughed at by P. Diddy.”

Cannes is also an opportunity for American actors to find support for their films. Brad Pitt was “in competition” for one of his latest performances “Killing Them Softly,” according to the festival website. Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund were both described by many critics as “terrific” in their latest, “On the Road,” according to The Inquisitor.

Some of his duties as an intern at Cannes were arranging and reserving exclusive dinners and meetings for the Hyde Park Entertainment CEO, president and vice president, as well as rescheduling clients, assisting in business transactions and deal closures.

“To be honest, your experience at Cannes and what you take from it is proportional to the effort you put into it. For example, after 12-hour workdays I’m back out hustling in town attending exclusive parties and events to network and promote myself,” Ferguson said. “Rejection is inevitable but you have to see past that. You just never know. A small investment in risk can mean a world of opportunities.”

Thierry Frémaux, general delegate for the Festival de Cannes, said only by constantly analyzing the festival, adapting its function and encouraging debate will it continue to be the best it can be.

“Cannes belongs to each and every one of us, who … from wherever we are and in our own individual way, contributes towards creating it step by step,”

Frémaux said.


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