June 21, 2010

Filmmaker scores Cannes internship

While his friends were fetching coffee in stuffy cubicles at summer internships, rising senior Malcolm Campbell spent two weeks this May interning at the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera.

He moonlighted as a bouncer for a glammed-out party, nearly got arrested after accidentally setting off a security alarm, overheard Adrien Brody screaming into his cell phone, and screened his own short film before a cadre of industry insiders.

Campbell also fetched coffee while working as a waiter in The American Pavilion. His biggest tip: five whole euros.

Gaining access to the industry elite was worth the grunt work for the budding filmmaker, who applied for the competitive internship and got his film accepted through the festival’s American Pavilion.

Campbell’s movie “Nosebleed,” filmed in one weekend starring local college students, landed a coveted spot in the festival’s Short Film Corner. The 11-minute film charts a photographer’s race to preserve the beauty of the city of Atlanta. While working the festival, Campbell was approached by a producer about entering the film into a Canadian film festival.

“I am more confident now that I am able to break into the industry,” says the film studies major. “Now I understand the actual process involved in submitting a script, getting your film distributed.”

“Our community regards Cannes with great interest,” says Matthew Bernstein, chair of Emory’s film studies department. “It is one of the oldest and certainly one of the most highly regarded film festivals in
the world.”

Campbell’s fascination with film began at age 5, when he started taking weekly jaunts to the movie theater with his mother until it was no longer cool to sit with her. By age 8, he had completed his first film about a group of kids teleporting around the world. In high school, he scored his first screening in the teen section of the Atlanta Film Festival for “Melvin,” a film about a guy who can’t find a way to break up with his rich girlfriend. He also penned his first feature-length film, “The Solomon Grundy Show,” which chronicles the quirky escapades of a writer during a trial separation from his wife.

Despite the mature subject matter, Campbell’s mother signed on for a cameo role and endured coaching from her son on how to act more natural.

Frances Campbell, who works in Emory’s philosophy department, recognized that at an early age her son enjoyed critiquing films, teasing out their morality and making his own mark on the big screen. She even submitted to watching the same “X-Men” movie five times.

“I’ve always tried to instill in him that you can do or be anything, if you work hard at it,” she says.

More news from Emory filmmakers

“The Gerstein Report,” a film directed by two Emory students, walked away with “Best Drama” honors at this year’s Campus MovieFest International Grand Finale competition in Las Vegas. Read more.

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