The following is a note from our summer intern, Jordan Miller, who recently finished his 10 week internship with BFF. We wanted to assign him one last task that brought together all elements of his internship and a blog about his experiences seemed to fit the bill. We are so grateful for his time, his efforts, his humor, his dedication, and his openness to the craziness of BFF. Thank you, Jordan, for all that you have done and all that you will do!
"I'm a stress Googler: my go-to method of procrastination from tough assignments and big projects is looking up graduate programs in puppetry, open apartments in Montreal, or careers at Trader Joe's - to name a few. Usually, these searches and introductory emails sent into the internet void yield nothing but more stress. There have been a tiny handful of exceptions, though - including, to my surprise, a film festival in my own hometown.
The first time I met Melinda, BFF Executive Director, was at Goldy's Corner in the literal center of downtown Boise - I arrived twenty minutes early and spent them in a corner booth sweating bullets. When Melinda showed up, she gave me a hug and ordered a beer. We chatted for nearly an hour - she shared her journey after graduation, asked about my life and my interests, explained what she does at the Festival, talked about how I might be able to get involved. Our conversation was many things, but it was clearly not a critical evaluation of me. I didn't walk away with that slimy, post-job-interview feeling of being interrogated. Instead, I left the cafe feeling like I'd made a connection with someone whose work really interested and inspired me, and who I could tell felt the same way about me.
I didn't realize it at the time, but this first meeting told me so much about Boise Film Festival. 10 weeks of my internship later (and admittedly a lot of tacos from our weekly team meetings), and I still find myself so enamored by the culture of BFF and attitude of those who make it happen. It's been really special to work in an environment with people who clearly approach their work with an enormous amount of dedication, respect, and integrity, but without pretentiousness or haughtiness. Call me crazy, but I think that's what puts the Boise in Boise Film Festival.
Once the thrill (and constant anxiety) of working in a new place began to wane, I met my first challenge: working from home. From drafting social media posts and blog entries to researching and compiling contacts, a sizeable chunk of the way I could be helpful to BFF involved a screen. It took me a couple of weeks to register that spending the day inside and on my own was beginning to wear on me, and I was also quickly learning the lesson that combining your space of work and your space of relaxation is a dangerous game. There is also plenty involved in a film festival that lies far, far outside of my comfort zone - what stands out for me is talking with local businesses about sponsorship and partnership with the festival. Each walkthrough of downtown, cold call, and meeting chipped away at my discomfort in approaching what were usually strangers with our organization, but my calcified discomfort is an incredibly important thing to have noticed throughout my internship.
One of my big goals for the summer was to develop an understanding of Boise as a cinematic city, and boy oh boy did people talk my ear off about the topic. There were people convinced that it's just not meant to be, that we're on the precipice of having a major studio open shop, that our city is a joke in the film department, and that we have some major talent. I wish I could say that I've solidified a complete portrait of Boise, but each person that I spoke to had some truth in what they were saying. There is indeed a lot of talent here, but at this moment we simply don't have the infrastructure for that talent to come together into something truly formidable. My main question now is whether that's what makes Boise a fun place to make film, or whether it's just foolish and exhausting to make film anything more than an occasional hobby in the Valley.
Heading back to Walla Walla for my last semester is bittersweet, but I'm really going to miss spending as much time as I did with Melinda and Alyssa and all the other friends of BFF. I've gained experience, perspective, skills, and friends, and I think of Boise Film Festival with exceptional fondness. I'll be back for the Festival weekend in September to help out and see the culmination of all the work that's been devoted, so please say hi! And be sure that I'll find a way to keep being a part of BFF - I could be in a hut in the middle of the Siberean tundra and at the least find a way to tap into some wifi to keep up with the posts.
Many thanks and lots of love,
We are thrilled to mention that Jordan will be considering a continuing role with the Festival over the next month as he begins his last semester at Whitman College and figures out how he can best stay involved. Come say hi to him and the rest of the BFF team at #BFF2017!