Independent Filmmaker Project Launches Virtual Internship Program And Year-Round Gateway To NYC Media Careers

The Independent Filmmaker Project has launched a virtual internship program as part of a new educational initiative designed to help college students explore careers in the New York film and media industries.

Dubbed IFP EDU, it is a year-round offering, with a hub aiming to enable recent graduates, alumni and faculty to expand their professional skills through career development and technical workshops. Participating schools at launch include Colgate, Columbia, Ohio State, Princeton, Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania, Lincoln University, Rutgers and the University of Virginia.

Having officially started Monday, the internships are scheduled to run through July 23. Along with master classes given by industry figures and one-on-one sessions, students will also get real-life experience working virtually with IFP staff on the organization’s year-round programming. IFP is known for a range of programs as well as its signature fall awards show, the Gotham Awards.

Colleges are confronting major challenges due to the operating environment during COVID-19. After moving to virtual setups in the spring, they are arriving at decisions about the mix of live and virtual offerings in the months to come as states gradually loosen restrictions. While many physical campuses will be open in the fall, many will stay closed given that public health experts urge caution in the absence of a vaccine or widely available treatment for the virus.

Students will attend the IFP program remotely through a virtual platform called Symba. Students logged in there can review assigned tasks, reference resources, collect feedback from supervisors, and interact with peers. Each week during the internship, a new film industry topic will be introduced, spanning production, distribution, festival programming, PR and marketing, partnership and development, and post-production and design.

“We are excited to provide students with an opportunity to gain new perspectives of the film industry by expanding their horizons as it relates to potential career paths during a very uncertain time as a way of encouraging the next generation of filmmakers,” IFP executive director Jeff Sharp said in a press release. “We hope that this program will not only inspire our students to pursue their dreams in the film and media arts industry but also to explore those dreams in the New York region.”

Brian W. Casey, president of Colgate, said teaming with IFP “provides a strong internship experience during a time when so many industries have contracted in response to the global pandemic. We believe this artistic and academic collaboration will flourish in exciting ways for many years to come.”

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