A program of

VAFF Internship Impact Stories

What do previous interns have to say about the VAFF Internship Program? Keep reading to hear about their past experiences, memories, and where they landed after their time with the Festival.

Maame Duah

Year and position: 2019 Festival Scholars Intern and 2020 Virtual Intern

Where are you now? I am currently working as a Programmatic Media Coordinator at PMG Digital Agency, based in New York!

Favorite part of working with the Festival? I loved the collaborative process of working from the early planning stages to the final results during the actual Festival. It was great to see different steps of preparation from selecting films, vendors, marketing, and scholars program coordination beyond the role I was in, to seeing the events such as Family Day, post film talks, and screenings come to life. Even in an online setting, the Festival was still an exciting team effort.

What is an exciting project you got to work on in your position? Working on the Festival Scholars Program was such an amazing learning experience. It combined my interests in film, event planning, and marketing into one position. The team and I worked on outreach, selecting applicants, creating a screening schedule, and organizing meetings with talent. Seeing all those moving parts come together and hearing the positive feedback from the participating students was so memorable. Our group even met with Ethan Hawke for a chat after a screening! Aspects like this really make VAFF one of a kind.

How has your experience here helped you in your career journey since leaving the Festival? My experience helped me adapt to fast-paced environments and work on multiple tasks at once. Every day is different at my current position in digital advertising, so working at the Festival was a strong introduction to learning how to handle that, plus a great example of a positive workplace! During my job search, I knew that I wanted to work in a similar type of environment!

Julia Guarneri

Year and position: 2019 Guest Services Intern and 2020 Virtual Intern

Where are you now? I am in law school at Wake Forest Law. 

Favorite part of working with the Festival? I loved every aspect of working at the Festival, but I particularly loved being able to spend time with so many interesting films and develop a better appreciation of the industry. I also of course enjoyed the five days of the Festival itself, running around the Charlottesville Downtown Mall and seeing everyone’s hard work pay off.

What is an exciting project you got to work on in your position? As the Guest Services Intern in 2019, I spent time corresponding with guests and helping to set up their schedules while learning about the amazing work of all the filmmakers. I am also a huge fan of all the hands-on work that is done during the actual Festival that allowed us to interact with industry and UVA guests.

How has your experience here helped you in your career journey since leaving the Festival? I am really interested in entertainment law and/or working with nonprofits, so having a fuller understanding of the film industry and film festivals is invaluable. Starting a career in the entertainment or arts industry is so much easier and more rewarding after working with organizations like VAFF that allow you to directly participate in the logistics while also experiencing and learning about the art itself.

Micah Rucci

Year and position: 2021 Marketing & Publicity Intern

Where are you now? I am a Scripted Publicity & Strategic Communications Intern for NBCUniversal supporting all of their Entertainment Content!

Favorite part of working with the Festival? My favorite part of working with the Festival was the team I got to work with every day. Working for the Virginia Film Festival means working in a space where everyone knows your name and everyone’s ideas feel heard—no matter your position. As a Festival intern, I got to work closely with so many small businesses and groups within the Charlottesville community, and it is inspiring to see how everyone comes together in support of the arts.

What is an exciting project you got to work on in your position? A memorable project I’m proud of was overseeing the Festival Ambassadors Program, in which UVA students gain experience in event-planning and entertainment publicity. I got to mentor 15 of my peers by overseeing the creation of graphic design projects, community outreach campaigns, and interactive social media posts. It was an amazing way to help bridge the gap between student-life on Grounds and the incredibly diverse Charlottesville community.

How has your experience here helped you in your career journey since leaving the Festival? I am so grateful for how this internship prepared me for future job opportunities in the entertainment field. As soon as it ended, I began the interview process for spring internship positions with NBCU, Warner Media, and Paramount. During the interviews, I was able to answer all the questions with ease because of how much hands-on experience I got with the Festival. The recruiters loved the message of the Festival and how I was able to learn so much in such a short period of time. I would absolutely recommend this internship to everyone interested in getting a look behind the entertainment curtain!

Lexi Christie

Year and position: 2021 Production/Guest Services Intern

Where are you now? I’m an intern with Charlottesville Opera.

Favorite part of working with the Festival? My favorite part of working with the Festival was the people! I looked forward to coming into the office and doing work with the other seasonal staff and intern. Over the season, I enjoyed making genuinely close relationships with people who also love good movies!

What is an exciting project you got to work on in your position? One project I worked on was shifting our Audience Favorite Awards from a paper ballot format over to something people could do digitally via Google Forms. It was really cool to see a project I worked on make a direct impact when it showed up on the screen during the films and events, and as the results came in after the Festival!

How has your experience here helped you in your career journey since leaving the Festival? Working with the Festival definitely gave me a greater appreciation for the field of arts administration. I think my experience during the week of the Festival itself has prepared me well for when the Charlottesville Opera production season begins, and I am excited to see how the things I learned with VAFF translate during that time, as well as in other jobs I pursue in the theatre and filmmaking industries.