By Emily Lawson 11F
Students at Hampshire College, which is known for its excellent film program, have access to prestigious internship opportunities through the Entertainment Industry Internship Program. The program matches Hampshire students pursuing careers in the entertainment industry with internships offered by Hampshire alumni. Through this beneficial exchange, students gain professional experience and investigate a future that could be theirs.
Students doing internships focused on theatrical motion picture production are eligible to apply for funding from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has generously given funding to Hampshire College in years past. The program is open to students of good academic standing, and usually about seven receive the award each year. The average recipient is awarded between $400 and $2400, depending on their financial need and the costs associated with the internship. Most of the interns have positions in production companies in New York City or Los Angeles. Interns often work with distinguished alumni such as Roger Sherman 73S or Ken Burns 71F.
“Studies show that students who do internships during their undergraduate years have an easier time getting hired after graduation, and tend to have higher starting salaries,” said Sharón Friedner, assistant director of Hampshire’s Career Options Resource Center, who oversees the program and distributes the grants. “Especially in the film industry, it’s extremely important to have experience and connections.”
Division III student Yehonatan Turkienicz, for example, who got 70 percent of his funding to work for Corra Films in New York City in summer 2011 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, worked on the forefront of the company’s movement towards independently distributing their films.
“I got an insane amount of experience with independent distribution. I left feeling I could distribute my own movie, or be an independent distributor,” Turkienicz recalled. The experience also better equipped him to create his own personal documentary on being Israeli, which he is currently undertaking for his Div III project. “My experience at Corra probably helped me most with the pre-production aspect and with the research,” he said. He was also offered a permanent job distributing for Corra Films.
Experiences of interns vary widely. Students have worked in areas from lighting, graphic design, animation, and editing to researching and marketing. Hampshire students have worked on films shown on PBS and interned at Dreamworks and Florentine Films.
Through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hampshire students serious about motion picture production are able to compete for the opportunity to get funding to spend a summer in the studio, build resumes, acquire new skills, create art, make contacts, and, of course, have a fantastic time doing what they love.