Two UM-Dearborn students chosen for Cannes Film Fesitival internship program

Amanda LewanAmanda Lewan crafted her acting skills in the basement of her childhood home.

“I remember I used to make up stories in my mind and act out the scenes by myself,” she said.

From an early age, the University of Michigan-Dearborn junior set her sights on the film industry. As she got older, her passion only grew.

She’s already worked on Oz the Great and Powerful, as well as a few other industrial and commercial projects.

“I don’t think I’d be happy doing anything else,” she said.

Lewan’s drive to pursue a career in films will send her thousands of miles away this month. That’s because Lewan and her classmate, Sean Phelan, landed an internship with the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The UM-Dearborn pair departs May 11 for the festival, dubbed as one of the most prestigious and publicized film festivals in the world.

“I can’t wait to be in that environment and be a part of something like that,” Lewan said. “I just have such a passion for film and to see how it all works behind the curtain, so I think this will be a really great opportunity.”

The festival runs May 15-26, so Lewan and Phelan will arrive a couple days before to attend orientation sessions. They won’t find out what their duties are until orientation, but no matter the task, Lewan is just grateful for the opportunity.

“Hopefully I will get that chance to network with people and move forward that way,” she said. “Having this on my resume will really help, too.”

Jim Gilmore understands how difficult it is to get a foot in the door of the film industry. Oftentimes, there are hundreds of resumes for a single position.

That’s why Gilmore, clinical associate professor of journalism and screen studies, encouraged Lewan and Phelan to apply for the internship.

“We don’t have a lot of students who are really serious about going into the Hollywood industry,” Gilmore said. “Maybe two or three a year. Both Amanda and Sean are two of those students.”

In 2007, Gilmore traveled to the Cannes Film Festival as a faculty adviser, so he understands what Lewan and Phelan have in store for them.

“It’s more than a film festival – it’s a film marketplace,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity to see the nuts and bolts of the film industry. I have no doubt that they will go there and prove their worth as hard workers.”

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