Making It in the Movies

As the opening of the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival approaches, two BMCC student interns, both majoring in multimedia programming and design, are hard at work helping to upgrade and expand the Festival’s Web site.

For Susan Gardner, the road to BMCC and the Festival has spanned two continents and 17 years. Born and raised in Ireland, she came to the U.S. in 1991 to begin a career in information technology. “I started out on a help desk and worked my way up to project management,” she says. “I became very experienced in infrastructure, but eventually realized that more and more projects were requiring IT professionals to have a background in multimedia. So I came to BMCC last year to pursue a degree in that field.”

Learning opportunities
Gardner’s internship duties include a healthy dose of multitasking, which she enjoys. “I’m working on a number of different things here – everything from modifying the existing Web site to transferring the content over to a new content management system,” she says. She is learning a lot, she adds, “but that’s no surprise. I find that there is always something to learn wherever you go in life. The important thing is to take advantage of it.”

As an IT professional, Gardner worked almost exclusively in the corporate sphere. “The not-for-profit world is a lot different,” she says. “The environment is more casual, and you’re given a lot more independence and autonomy. I love it.”

Pizeme Tchara was studying physical chemistry at a college in his native Togo (in West Africa) prior to arriving in New York in 2003 and eventually switching his focus to multimedia. Like Gardner, he will graduate this semester. He plans to continue his education in the communications field.

The pace quickens
“The things we’re doing here at the Festival are all a bit different from what we learn in class,” Tchara says. “We’re working with all types of content, including video, animation, graphics and images. And, now that the festival is approaching and movies and trailers are coming in, we’re getting busier and busier.” (The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 23-May 4.)

Both students were referred to the internship program by Professor Christopher Stein. “In my first semester at BMCC, I was totally lost,” Tchara recalls. “I was interested in multimedia, but it wasn’t an easy subject for me. My teachers, including Professor Stein, were very helpful, making themselves available to answer my questions at all times.”