Five minutes with the FEFF Campus

Five minutes with the FEFF Campus
The FEFF Campus initiative for aspiring journalists will celebrate its fifth edition in 2019. Each year we invite five young writers from Asia and five from Europe to come and immerse themselves in the life of FEFF - and Udine. 
As we prepare for the 2019 edition of FEFF - set for April 26 to May 4 - we've taken some time to catch up (quickly) with FEFF Campus alumni to see where life has taken them...

Name: Sonia Kil
Country: South Korea
FEFF Campus edition: 2015

1.How did you hear about the FEFF Campus - and why did you apply?
Honestly I don’t remember how I first heard about the FEFF Campus. It could have been a Facebook post. When I applied, it was only my second month at Variety as a journalist. I had contributed reviews and feature articles for local film magazines before I started writing for Variety but I wasn’t confident about being a journalist for an international trade magazine. I was eager to learn. The FEFF Campus definitely looked like a chance for me to challenge myself in a new environment, working on festival dailies and taking classes from professional publishers, journalists and reviewers.

2. What did you enjoy most about the FEFF Campus - and Udine?
Meeting journalists in similar stages of their career as me but from different backgrounds; it was not only a great help but also something really enjoyable. After filing stories and reviews for the festival dailies, we hung out to watch extra movies and grab food. Also, because we were all from different backgrounds, we were able to talk about cinema, culture, politics and general lifes in our own countries and broaden the intellectual horizon. For example, discussing whether a well-made film can be labeled “bad” because it contains misogynic dialogues and scenes was challenging but fun.

3. In what ways do you thing the FEFF Campus assisted you on your career path?
As a beginner, arranging one-on-one interviews, transcribing from recordings, asking questions at crowded press conferences, and sticking to word counts were all I learned during the FEFF Campus through first-hand experiences. Also, attending FEFF full time helped me understand how European audiences “read” and appreciate Asian cinema.

4. What about in life in general?
Going to an unfamiliar city and spending almost two weeks with people from diverse cultural backgrounds was a great inspiration. One thing that was common between us was that we’re all film industry people that like movies. Mingling with those people in both friendly and professional terms helped me step out of my comfort zone.

5. Tell us what you are doing now?
While mainly working as Variety’s Korea correspondent, I also do other freelance writing, translations, and festival programming and consulting jobs. I am also pursuing my master’s degree in film studies in Korea.


Name: Andy Sellitto
Country: France
FEFF Campus Edition: 2016

1. How did you hear about the FEFF Campus - and why did you apply?
A friend of mine, who works in the film industry, told me about the FEFF Campus and advised me to apply. I was really enthusiastic when I read the call for applications. As I love writing about cinema, and especially about Asian cinema, I felt that this would be a huge opportunity to meet people that would share the same interests and to learn from specialists. I actually applied really late because I thought I had no chance, and I remember how excited and happy I was when I learnt that I was selected. 

2. What did you enjoy most about the FEFF Campus - and Udine?
It’s pretty hard to choose a single thing. I loved watching Asian films all day, talking and writing about them, and meeting people from the film industry. On top of that, I met great people and had so much fun with them. Some of them are friends of mine now. I really enjoyed the fact that the FEFF Campus allows people from different parts of the world to meet and learn from each other. 

3. In what ways do you thing the FEFF Campus assisted you on your career path?
The FEFF Campus helped me realise that cinema was not just a hobby - as it was until then - and that I could totally work in the film industry. I remember I was a bit shy and easily impressed. If I did like writing about films, I was quite afraid to talk to people from the festival or to meet the filmmakers. But thanks to the Campus, I realised that it was not such a big deal and after that, I have learnt - and I still am learning -  to be more and more comfortable in these situations. 

4. What about in life in general?
I didn’t have the opportunity to take an Erasmus program and I didn’t travel a lot before going to Udine. Suddenly, I was able to go alone somewhere and meet many different people in a short time, which was really new for me. That might sound cheesy but this experience was one of the greatest in my life so far. 

5. Tell us what you are doing now?
After Udine, I started working in a Parisian arthouse cinema theatre of which I became the manager this year. Clearly, being part of the FEFF Campus helped me a lot - this experience enhanced my skills and helped me kick off a job in the ilm industry.  


Name: Paige Lim
Country: Singapore
FEFF Campus edition: 2017

1. How did you hear about the FEFF Campus - and why did you apply?
It was a stroke of serendipity - I was searching online for film journalism programmes one day, and happened to chance across the FEFF Campus advertisement on a random website. When I was younger I had dreams of becoming a film critic, but never found a platform to professionally pursue it till the FEFF Campus came along. I had also developed an appreciation for Asian cinema in university after taking modules in film studies, which introduced me to the likes of Wong Kar-wai and Lee Chang-dong. The FEFF Campus seemed like a generous and golden opportunity to marry these two interests and kick start my career as a film journalist.

2. What did you enjoy most about the FEFF Campus - and Udine?
It was my first time at an international film festival, and the experience was absolutely amazing. There was so much to do, so many films to watch and so many activities to attend. What I enjoyed most were the talks and sessions scheduled with experienced professionals in the film industry - film festival programmers, film critics and directors - who shared their experiences and tips for success with us. The Campus members got to learn from the best, and the contacts one can make from an occasion like this are priceless. Udine as a town was quaint and charming, and the Teatro Nuovo became my second home in a matter of days.

3. In what ways do you thing the FEFF Campus assisted you on your career path?
The FEFF Campus was instrumental in helping me establish a portfolio of film writing, as many articles I wrote during the festival were published online on a Hong Kong-based news website. The connections I made with industry personnel at FEFF were also crucial, and gave me opportunities to write film reviews for international publications. I continued to remain involved in the film circuit and embarked on other film writing programmes at other film festivals. Thanks to the FEFF Campus, I was eventually selected for the prestigious Young Critics Trainee Project at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

4. What about in life in general?
The FEFF Campus really affirmed my passion for cinema on a whole, and made me more motivated to constantly stay in touch with the Asian film scene especially. Life has been a lot busier, because I now spend a lot more time and money at the theatres in Singapore.

5. Tell us what you are doing now?
I'm currently a contributing film reporter for the Taipei Times, Taiwan's only English-language print newspaper. I also contribute movie reviews to Canadian website Screen Anarchy and UK-based website Eastern Kicks.


Name: Jane Zhang
Country: China
FEFF Campus edition: 2018

1. How did you hear about the FEFF Campus - and why did you apply?
I heard of FEFF from a university email. And I applied because I love Asia films and I’m really curious about how Europeans think of Asian, especially Chinese films. 

2. What did you enjoy most about the FEFF Campus - and Udine?
What I enjoyed most in the programme was learning with fun. I’ve learned so many things that I didn’t know before. And it’s absolutely not boring like having lectures at school. While watching films and participating in different events, I’ve learned how a film festival works, how to write film reviews and so much more. I love Udine and I really enjoy the culture and food there. Everyone was nice and friendly. The pasta, pizzas, gelatos, and wines were excellent. 

3. In what ways do you think the FEFF Campus assisted you on your career path?
It’s the best ever programme that I’ve participated in. I’ve built my sources during FEFF in both the media and film industry. I’ve made friends with journalists from different countries; I’ve interviewed many famous directors, actors and film trading managers. It’s just amazing that the FEFF Campus can put all these incredible sources together. 

4. What about in life in general?
The life in Udine was fantastic. Actually, that was my first time to Europe and I had only heard of Milan, Rome, Venice, and Florence before going there. But when I arrived, I was really attracted by the city. The culture, food, nature and wine were all amazing.

5. Tell us what you are doing now?
I’m now working as a reporter in Hong Kong with The South China Morning Post. I used to work in their video department but now I’m doing more writing. The experience at Udine really benefited me a lot.