I Was Exposed, I Was Engaged, and I Was Inspired
By Alissa Goldberg
Wesleyan University, REACT to FILM Summer Intern
How is it that over the course of only two days, I have rearranged my summer and future plans to become more involved with this organization? The answer lies in the passion that I saw in every speaker and listener at the College Action Network conference.
I came to the conference new to navigating the city of New York and new to REACT to FILM. I could tell from the website and my phone conversations with Dahlia and Jackie that these people had a vision, and when I arrived at the conference, I could tell that the college students and guest speakers alike all did too. Shortly, I shared this vision. I listened in awe to accomplished people telling us how to make our dreams reality, and to fellow university students explain how they made these things possible. To cite a few examples:
I remember being a little kid in the theater, surprised that I was so glued to the outcome of the children in Spellbound, and realizing the power that documentaries had to affect us. Sitting in the conference, listening to Mark Urman speak of the time he decided he wanted to distribute it, was, to me, seeing one of the men with the power to create this effect. However, instead of feeling overwhelmed with something insurmountable, he gave us sound advice, giving real world examples of how to work in the industry, such as the “day and date” method of how to draw an audience, making me feel inspired and hopeful about the future of documentary.
From another angle, I quickly felt a connection to the other college students around me, and when Evan Sumortin of Brown University stood up and presented a play-by-play on how he had planned a very successful and fun event around the screening of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, I was very impressed but I also realized these goals were not out of my reach. Finding a student band to perform stood out to me as a great strategy to draw college students, and I plan on doing the same for my future screenings.
By the end of the conference, I had many new perspectives from different angles of the documentary industry, new role models, new friends across the country, and many new plans for the coming months. I am excited to intern for REACT to FILM this summer, and cannot wait to begin bringing its lessons to my school next semester.