There’s no official tally, but it’s safe to assume that there are few college students who can add, “planned a film festival” to their resumes. For Peyton Smith, a Tulane University junior majoring in economics and a self-designed Middle Eastern Studies curriculum, this is a reality.
Since August, Smith has worked as an intern at the Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center
in New Orleans, where she serves as associate director for the center’s annual Middle Eastern Film Festival. The festival is known for honoring filmmakers in the categories of best documentary, best short film and best feature film.
“I help to review films and documentaries in order to select which ones will be shown during the film festival,” says Smith. “I also help to find community organizations, activist groups, businesses and individuals who want to get involved with the film festival. We have people who donate, show art, play music and sell Middle Eastern food.”
Smith credits the public service internship fair
, held by the Center for Public Service, for helping her find an opportunity that combines her interest in Middle Eastern culture, with the excitement of a festival. Although she will not be around on March 8-17, 2013, when the festival takes place, her experience will certainly benefit her in the endeavor she’ll take on next.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the film festival because I’ll be studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, next semester,” says Smith, who hopes her trip will improve her Arabic language skills. “We decided to move the date of the festival to allow us to get bigger and better films, and to help find more funding.”
The festival was originally planned for Dec. 7–16, 2012, but many of the large films they’d wanted to showcase have hopes to open at the Sundance Film Festival, which takes place Jan. 17–Jan. 27, 2013.
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