June 24, 2009
College is a place where dreams can certainly become reality. For a group of Rollins’ student filmmakers, however, having their class project screened at the world-famous Cannes Film Festival in the South of France was beyond even their wildest imaginations.
For their comprehensive final exam in the course Introduction to Media & Cultural Studies, five Rollins students produced the first cut of a film called This is My Rollins College T-Shirt. The film, which sought to educate the campus community about where Rollins’ wearables come from and under what conditions they are made, was shown on campus last fall during the 2008 Global Peace Film Festival. Four of the students—Rachel Albergo, Adrian Cohn, Margaret DeWees and Whitney Wallingford—later worked on a final cut of the film and Albergo submitted it when she applied for an internship called “Creative Minds in Cannes.” Albergo is the second Rollins student to secure an internship with “Creative Minds in Cannes,” a program which provides an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their work and offers student internships during the Cannes Film Festival that allow them to connect with companies that can launch their careers.
The internship directors encouraged Albergo to submit the film for consideration and it was accepted for screening at the Cannes Film Festival’s “Short Film Corner.” The four filmmakers walked the red carpet in late May 2009 with Lisa Tillmann, associate professor of Critical Media and Cultural Studies, and participated in the screening of their film. Distinguished media and film professionals, including two executives from Warner Brothers, viewed the film, asked questions and offered valuable feedback.
“This was the highlight of my teaching career,” said Tillmann. “For Rollins’ debut at Cannes, this was the right group of students—mature, eager, and globally-conscious—and the right film. T-Shirt is an effectively-produced, content-rich piece with heart and a simple but compelling message: our consumer choices should reflect our values.”
Albergo was moved by the fact that people were genuinely interested in what the students had to say. “The film had a bigger purpose than just being a school project,” she said. “It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always remember.”
For Albergo, the highlight was interning for Rogers and Cowan Public Relations during the Festival. The firm’s main focus was promoting the just-released film “Drag Me to Hell.” “I got to work with director Sam Raimi and the actors from the film,” recalled Albergo. “It was a surreal experience. I felt like I was really a part of the industry.”
The internship, and contacts she made, also helped her confirm her career goals. “It helped me narrow down what I want to do in the long term,” she said. Albergo is actively applying for jobs in Los Angeles and hopes to work in public relations for a film company or work for a production company,
The Critical Media and Cultural Studies major also helped Albergo narrow her interests while she was an undergraduate. She arrived at Rollins as a theater major, switched to art history, then to psychology then back to art history. “Then the Critical Media and Cultural Studies major was offered and it was a great fit for me,” said Albergo, who received her bachelor’s degree in May 2009 as one of the major’s first class of graduates.
Conceptualized by Tillmann and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Roger Casey in 2001 and launched in 2007, the major has grown rapidly and is very popular. This interdisciplinary major taps the expertise of nearly 40 Rollins faculty and 20 departments and programs. Critical Media and Cultural Studies develops skills essential for responsible participation in a free democratic society: critical thinking, written communication, oral communication, multicultural perspectives, and media literacy. Graduates will be prepared for employment in media and communications industries and/or further study in media studies, cultural studies, and communication. Read more about Critical Media and Cultural Studies.
-- Adrian Cohn (Class of 2010) contributed to this story.