Zoe Plakias
Final Internship Report
Spring 2005

 

 

Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Network Internship

Reflections, Experience, and Learning

This internship has been a wonderful learning experience in a number of ways. I have met many people within and beyond the Whitman and Walla Walla communities. Thanks to my internship sponsor, Judy Johnson, I have had a multitude of resources at my disposal. Judy gave me many contacts, which I used to form valuable relationships. I have learned a great deal about the level of organization that a film series takes. I had the most success when I stayed on top of things and held myself to the deadlines that I set.

Another aspect of learning in my internship was exposure to issues. While my duties were mostly organizational, I got to see many films and meet the people involved with them. Because the films presented a range of issues, from food to wildlife, I became more familiar with these issues. I really feel this was a great way for me to broaden my scope of knowledge of environmental issues.

Goals and Objectives

My goals and objectives were to practice good time management, to be prompt in my correspondence, and to make more contact with community members. I looked at final reports written by former interns to figure out my responsibilities and to come up with objectives. I think this is a difficult internship because it requires a high level of organization. There were certainly times when I was behind and times when I should have kept a better record of what I was doing. Overall, I feel I was successful in achieving my goals. I have met a number of community members through the internship, and I plan to continue to foster the relationships that have begun during this process.

The Films and The Process

For this internship, I found it important to jump right into things at the beginning of the semester. I felt a little lost in the beginning, so I hope this section helps by providing the essential information. All contact information and links for the resources I mention are listed in the Contacts and Resources section below.

My first step was to choose the films. I looked at old Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival program guides and spent a great deal of time on the Bullfrog Films website. The films we showed were Wolf: An Ancient Spirit Returns, Deconstructing Supper, Argentina: Hope in Hard Times, and Broken Limbs: Apples, Agriculture, and the New American Farmer. Due to problems with scheduling this year (detailed in the Difficulties section), I will be picking the first two films for next semester and scheduling times and dates, as well as making initial contacts with filmmakers. The Fall 2005 intern will then pick two films for the Fall 2005 semester and two films for the Spring 2006 semester. I tried to pick films in a range of genres. Judy also made her own suggestions. We settled on four films: one food, one wild life, one grassroots activism, and one agricultural. I then went about scheduling Kimball Auditorium for 7 p.m. on four evenings spread throughout the semester. Barb Preas is in charge of scheduling Kimball. I also looked at Walla Walla events calendars, Whitman events calendars, and Whitman evening class schedules to create as few conflicts as possible. Because of conflicts, the films ended up being on different days of the week. I also e-mailed Linda Reyburn to schedule projectionists for each of those evenings and reserved a Baker Faculty Center room for each night (for lodging).

My next step was to contact filmmakers and other people who would speak and/or lead discussion at each of the films. Judy helped by suggesting initial contacts, and I worked from there. Many of these filmmakers ask for a stipend (addressed in the Difficulties section). Only after some of these people committed did I create a poster, so at least some of the guests’ names could be included in the initial publicity. The poster I created included information about all the films. Distribution services gave out posters across campus, and I put up posters in town. I brought posters to David Chase, Associated Students Director at Walla Walla Community College, and Nancy Cross (English Department) at Walla Walla College to put up at each of those schools.

While I was doing publicity I also began contacting professors. I sent a couple of initial e-mails out to the faculty listserv. The general idea is that if filmmakers or other guests come, they can visit classes and those departments can help pay for their visits (see Difficulties section). Lenel Parish, senior news service officer at Whitman, was helpful in getting information out to local and regional media. Ann Charnley is the contact person for the calendar section of the Union Bulletin. For one of the films, I also put an announcement in the Blue Mountain Audubon Society’s newsletter. Shirley Muse puts that newsletter together.

I got the films from Demise Foster at the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Network about a week ahead of time, and when possible, I watched the film before the public showing. If I didn’t watch the whole thing, I at least checked to make sure the film worked. As the date approached, I began e-mailing to the student listserv and other relevant listservs, and I sent a reminder to the faculty listserv. Victor Chacon, at Walla Walla Community College, sent e-mails to listservs there as well. About a week before the showing, I sent an e-mail to Patti Moss in the science building to forward to Bob Carson’s lecture list. On the night of each film, I met the projectionist at 6:40. That way we had time to get things set up before many people came.

Difficulties

Besides the expected difficulty of keeping of top of dates and staying ahead of the game, I ran into some other slightly larger snags. One of the problems I found was that by the end of the year professors had used up much of their department funds that could have gone to pay the filmmakers. In addition to that, many professors had already filled up class time. I found that careful planning far in advance is the best way to get professors on board. The funding they provide is crucial for the project.

This semester, only one guest visited a class. Because of this, and because the guests that came asked for more money than they have in previous years, funding was a big problem. To remedy that, I sent requests to Dean Keef, Dean Cleveland, and President Cronin for supplemental funds of $1000. So far, I have only heard from President Cronin, who has agreed to contribute $500.


Recommendations

Publicity was one of the most time-consuming parts of the internship. It is also time-sensitive, so organization at the publicity stage is key. I would recommend creating a poster and getting it up in town, on campus, and at the other colleges, as soon as the film dates are finalized. That way, people get used to seeing information about the events. Multiple listserv e-mails are another way to remind people of what’s going on.

I am working on getting this film series endowed so that future interns will not need to raise as much money as I did. I hope that other interns continue working toward this goal.

Finally, the best part of this internship was attending the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival. This is often difficult for students, because it tends to fall on a weekend during spring break, but it was completely worth it. I formed some great relationships, became exposed to many aspects of environmental filmmaking, and had a plethora of resources at my disposal. I think the experience really enhances this internship.

Resources

Judith Johnson (529.8009, jsj@bmi.net)
Demise Foster (206.443.7239)
Patti Moss (mosspm@whitman.edu)
Barb Preas (527.5366, preasbr@whitman.edu)
Lenel Parish (parishlj@whitman.edu)
Ann Charnley (acharnley@ubnet.com)
Shirley Muse (muse@whitman.edu)
Linda Reyburn (527.5257, reyburlj@whitman.edu)
Nancy Cross (CrosNa@wwc.edu)
Victor Chacon (victor.chacon@wwcc.edu)
David Chase (david.chase@wwcc.edu)
Bob Carson (carsonrj@whitman.edu)