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Film festival 'a dream come true'

May 10, 2016

Faculty member Amanda Cecil and her event production class.

Faculty member Amanda Cecil, left, meets with her events production class in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management's event management program. Among the students is Chelsea Wilson, second from left, who will do an internship at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival this month. | PHOTO COURTESY OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT

IUPUI undergraduate Chelsea Wilson is about to have "a dream come true" as she makes the most of an internship at the renowned Cannes Film Festival in France.

The festival, first held in 1948, is considered one of the world's foremost film-related events. This year's schedule runs May 11 to 22, and Wilson will be at the heart of the glitz and glamour surrounding Cannes.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm also very excited about the opportunity," said Wilson, a student in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. "I've always wanted to go to London and wanted to visit a film festival.

"This opportunity is checking off a lot of boxes on my bucket list," she added with a chuckle. "In my family, we've always been film buffs, and we have been regulars at the Heartland Film Festival for years." That festival is part of the reason she decided to check out film festivals this summer to see if any internships might be available, she said.

Major events like Cannes, as well as sporting events Wilson has participated in, were a big part of the attraction she felt toward the field of event management. She has worked part-time for Pacers Sports & Entertainment and been an intern for the Indiana Sports Corporation, the NCAA Women's Final Four and the National Federation of State High School Associations. In fact, her long track record in sports-related events came up in her interview with American Pavilion Events & Hospitality, the company providing her with the Cannes internship.

"The man interviewing me noticed that my background had lots of sporting events, and he was curious why I wanted to try a festival," Wilson said. "But for me, internships are about gaining a wide range of experiences, trying new things and seeing what fits."

The Indianapolis native will graduate next May and has tackled other challenges besides those in the world of sports during her career, including volunteer stints at the Indianapolis International Film Festival; United Way of Central Indiana; Live Nation Entertainment; and Sequence Inc., a sports and leisure events organization.

"My goal is to be an event manager, and it could be in a lot of different fields," Wilson said, adding that she doesn't get intimidated by the pressures of a high-profile event -- not even one like Cannes, which traditionally features some of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Her trip to the south of France gives her an opportunity to achieve one of her major academic goals: to experience life in other cultures.

"I've never had a chance to study abroad before," Wilson said. "I love culture, especially in places like Europe. I think it will help make me a more well-rounded person."

She's been told that during her two-week stay, she'll work about six hours per day, which will leave her some time to experience the swirl of activity all around.

"They told us that we'll be given access to screenings of the festival films, which is exciting," Wilson said. "I couldn't ask for a better deal than that!"

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