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  • Writer's pictureMade in the West Film Festival

WSU students ace digital internships

It’s time to take a moment amongst the hustle and bustle (read: mad rush!) of festival prep to pause and reflect on this year.

Now that entries have closed and judging is underway, we’re getting ready to announce the Official Selection films this weekend and launch tickets for the 2022 festival. We want to take a moment to celebrate two individuals who we’ve had the pleasure of working with in recent weeks. But first, let’s check in quickly…

How’s everyone doing? Feeling good as we get our creative gears turning again after two years of lockdowns and disruptions? Thank god those days are over! Finally we can get back on set and make some big plans for our next projects — and from what we hear, there are plenty on the horizon!

It has been fabulous to hang out with Western Sydney creatives during the year at our Online Networking Events. We love hearing about what drives your artistic passions and what projects everyone has been working on – it’s so great that there are so many new films and webseries in the works!

We’ve been back in the TV studio this year too! Did you catch our latest episode of Made in the West TV? It’s the final in our series where we feature the trophy award winners from the festival and interrogate them in the name of entertainment!

It’s a fantastic deep dive into their award-winning films, their experiences at the festival and what it’s like being a fearless filmmaker from the western suburbs.

We have also been thrilled to work with Burrow Design Studio at Western Sydney University for our third annual poster competition. We love seeing WSU’s talented student designers take on our insanely challenging creative brief each year! Have you seen this year’s festival poster? Student Catie B has done an incredible job!

It’s been a busy year - and we haven’t even got to the festival yet!

We love making big plans, and assembling a great team to help us bring it all together is a MUST. Throughout the year we have Ross, Misty & Jay working on festival plans, communications and new projects. Along the way, our crew members Emily, Nathalie and Casey help us run events, brainstorm our creative plans, share social media content and create all our informative graphics. We love, love, LOVE how our team has grown in recent years - especially with these passionate and talented women by our side.

WSU School of Humanities and Communications Arts has signed on again this year as our Gold+ Screen Sponsor and their contribution to the festival means SO much to Made in the West and the work we do connecting and celebrating the local film industry.

WSU has been working with the team at Made in the West in recent years to provide industry experience and connections for students in their popular Creative Industries and Communication Arts degrees.

Joining our team in 2022: Bachelor of Communications students Van Le and Alex Hon, who have both risen to the challenge working with the Made in the West team in the lead up to our 11th festival. Van has shone as our Marketing intern and Alex has excelled as our Publicity intern.

“When I first started looking into WSU, I knew that I wanted to study something in the creative field,” says Van. “I also wanted to be in an environment where I could learn new things every day. After doing some research, I found that the degree has a lot to offer in terms of Advertising and other majors such as Public Relations, Screen Media, and Journalism. I decided to learn more about Advertising and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.”

Alex was inspired to apply for the internship with Made in the West because of our track record with students.

“I was eager to gain valuable experience working with the team at Made in the West Film Festival, which has a strong, established relationship with WSU, after reading the experiences of previous interns - they seemed very positive,” he says.

When we commence internships in August, the first task of the season is always reaching out to filmmakers, affiliates and organisations in Western Sydney to spread the word about submissions being open. Getting information out across a region our size takes an entire network of local arts organisations and film schools.

We love connecting with other arts organisations around town – there are so many great organisations in Western Sydney working hard to connect and inspire local artists!

“It was challenging keeping tabs of all the different email communications and conversations,” says Alex. “As I sent out more emails it became even more difficult to remember which emails I needed to follow up on.”

We hear you, Alex!

Planning our final WSF ONE event for the year was good fun too, with Alex and Van both assisting behind the scenes on our live interactive online networking event for local filmmakers. We’ve done a few of these events now, and it always involves thinking about special guests and how our event format will complement their spotlight interviews, then setting up ticket sites and communications to roll out a promotion campaign.

Being part of a team that produces and hosts a live online event for 40 people with polls, interviews and interactive chats can be a buzz!

Alex says it was one of the highlights of the campaign.

“Everyone was in high spirits and eager to meet each other, have fun and network in a welcoming and uplifting environment. We all seemed to leave the call in a great mood.”

The biggest task of the submissions campaign is, no doubt, planning what we’ll do to maximise our online presence and increase our engagement with the filmmaking community. We had a lot of fun in our team brainstorming sessions!

“I loved working as a team and sharing our ideas with each other to improve and fine tune our work and processes” says Alex.

Together, we came up with more than 100 different ideas to hit the ground running, engage with new affiliate organisations, grow our community and find new ways of sharing the festival with new audiences.

“What I loved the most about my time with Made in the West are the people I worked with,” says Van. “Everyone is supportive and collaborative, we worked together really well. I’ve also never worked in the film industry before and that excites me!”

It was a learning experience for all of us, really.

“I learnt the importance of processes and how they can streamline workloads,” says Alex. “I was really impressed with the team communication guide I received in the beginning, and look forward to creating a similar process document in the future.”

“One of the most important skills I learned during my internship was time management and how to organise my work,” says Van. “Throughout my time with Made in the West, the team shared practical knowledge – from resources, websites, tips and general advice – all of which I will carry with me into my next role.”

And it wasn’t just the interns who learnt something new – thanks to Alex and Van, who made the case for expanding our social impact with video content – Made in the West is now on Tik Tok!

We’ve been finding our feet on the new platform and playing around with different video styles, and honestly, the results speak for themselves. We’ve never seen such rapid growth in our audience, and that’s really exciting.

And just as our immediate future will be boosted and brightened by more likes and follows, the future of our interns also looks bright.

“I hope to find a full-time position at a media agency after graduation. This has been my goal and I am determined to make it happen,” says Van.

“I am hoping to continue in a publicity or communication role in any capacity. The experience with Made in the West has really cemented for me that this is what I want to do,” says Alex. “I am excited to attend this year’s Made in the West Film Festival and see our efforts bear fruit in person. Most importantly, I am looking forward to finally meeting our team in person!”

“I am so excited for the film festival this year! I am counting down the days until it arrives” says Van.

Thank you to Van and Alex for all your hard work this season – we’re pleased you learned a lot and we were very impressed with the work and ideas you put forward. We wish you both all the best with the rest of your studies and look forward to seeing you graduate!

Made in the West works with WSU students each year – and we love it!

In 2020, we designed a new internship for WSU Creative Industries students, and in 2021 we adapted the placement in order to welcome two Communications students in a digital publicity internship (and mark our 10th anniversary in style) AND we created a new internship for an Associate Producer to join the team. Shout out to our previous interns Emily, Natasha, Elissa and Luke!

If you’re keen to work with us too, feel free to contact us.

HUGE thanks again to WSU School of Humanities & Communication Arts for coming on board as a Gold+ Screen Sponsor and supporting our event costs. We have been very happy to build upon our relationship with Western this year and develop new opportunities for WSU students to get experience in the creative industries.

We’re looking forward to seeing WSU students walking the red carpet on Saturday 26 November at our 11th annual Made in the West Film Festival.

Tickets open next week – be sure to reserve yours and join us on the biggest night of the year for Western Sydney Film!


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