NU student summers at the Cannes Film Festival
By Kimberly Swartz
J Alumni News staff
Two hours had passed, and Beanie Barnes still stood at the post office trying to make up her mind.
“I was debating what to do for hours,” said Barnes, a University of Nebraska senior. “I called my mom and dad, but they weren’t sure, either.”
In her hand, the 22-year-old broadcasting major held acceptance papers for a regional modeling competition. She and a friend were selected to model in a summer show in Kansas City, Mo., and to meet with some of the nation’s top modeling agents.
“My best friend and I went to some cheesy modeling thing just for fun, and we got picked,” she said. “We just went for a laugh, but we actually got chosen.”
But on that March day, when Barnes was about to mail the modeling contract, she couldn’t stop thinking about a dream job she applied for in November.
It was a public relations summer internship for the American Pavilion, the embassy that represents American film during the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The three-week long internship sounded like a perfect opportunity for Barnes, who has a minor in film and wants to become a screenwriter or director someday.
“I found the ad for the internship in a magazine and decided to apply. It said interns would work with actors, directors, publicists and producers,” she said. “It sounded like a great opportunity, but I didn’t think I’d really get it.”
At 5:57 p.m. — three minutes before the post office closed — Barnes decided to mail the modeling papers. At the last minute, she tried to contact the internship coordinator at the American Pavilion to see if she got the job, but she couldn’t reach anyone. Then on her way home, Barnes used her cell phone to check the messages on her home phone.
She slammed on her brakes.
“I was four blocks from the post office when I heard the message. The American Pavilion called me at home saying I got the internship,” Barnes said. “I started crying and shaking and then turned around to go back to the post office.”
She banged on the post office’s door until someone let her back in.
“Luckily, they gave me back my mail,” she said. “The whole time I was on the phone with my best friend. I was so excited.”
Richard Endacott, assistant professor in the NU film studies department, said he was delighted Barnes received the internship. Barnes was a student in a film production class he taught last fall.
“She will benefit a great deal,” Endacott said of the internship. “She will have a chance to network and meet people in the industry.” Those contacts may provide great future opportunities for Barnes, he said.
Endacott said he was thrilled a student from NU was one of 20 chosen from across the United States to participate in the program.
Barnes left for France on May 5, right after her last final. She spent three weeks in Cannes helping directors promote their films, meeting celebrities and just helping out any way she could.
She hoped to meet some big-name directors and actors and make some connections. She was also to attend all the screenings and parties at the festival.
Broadcasting professor Rick Alloway was Barnes’ teacher in advanced reporting during the spring semester. He said she was a strong student producer, excellent on-camera talent and, generally, a hard worker. “She put her heart into everything she did,” Alloway said.
No matter how hard she had to work at the Cannes internship, Barnes probably would agree with Endacott’s summary statement about the experience: “Not a bad way to spend the summer.”