Junior to be part of Thailand film crew
Stephens Junior Emily Collette is headed to Thailand this summer to intern with a production company filming a documentary about elephant sanctuaries.
“I am getting really excited,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing a different country. I’m used to being in my own little world. You see photos and clips on television, but to see it in person is a fantasy.”
Emily found the internship opportunity online and thought it was “a shot in the dark” when she sent off her application. But she also knew her classes and experiences in the digital film department at Stephens gave her the technical know-how and skills to do the work.
“The film department definitely has taught me a lot more than I knew there was to know,” she said. “There’s a lot more technique involved than just holding a camera.”
After a Skype interview, producers concurred. She’s one of only a handful of American college students chosen and will join fellow interns from Australia, Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. She expects the group to get close—they’ll spend all of June together visiting the 12 sanctuaries in Chiang Mai and will also share housing.
While living expenses there will be covered, Emily was going to have to scrounge up funding for the flight there. After reading on Facebook that she’d snagged the internship, though, Stephens President Dianne Lynch offered to cover airfare through a grant from the Magic Moments Fund.
“That was a huge relief,” Emily said.
The documentary, funded in part with a government grant from Thailand, aims to shine a spotlight on the work the sanctuaries are doing to care for Asian elephants that have been rescued from abusive circuses, logging camps and other harmful conditions. Emily will serve as a multimedia intern assisting with camera and audio equipment, as well as photography. The documentary will likely be submitted to international film festivals, and Emily is hopeful it could be televised.
She also plans to shoot her senior film project there on the side and is expecting to write about her adventures on a personal blog.
Emily came to Stephens expecting to pursue narrative filmmaking but discovered a passion for documentaries.
“They’re a window into other worlds,” she said. “I was drawn to the true stories. People without means to travel are exposed to new places and people. And it gives those places a wider audience.”