The stage is set for the IE Short Film Festival, which will run from May 10-11 this year. We recently spoke to two students who are part of the organizing team to get a sneak peek behind the curtains.

IE University prides itself on being at the forefront of unique learning experiences and innovative initiatives that nurture talents and ambitions across a broad range of sectors. One of these initiatives is the IE Short Film Festival, a premier platform for international filmmakers to share their works and tell stories that open a window into new lands, cultures and the heritage of peoples from all over the world. 

Now in its third year running, the festival has become a hub of opportunity, connecting talented creatives with business leaders and allowing them to reach a diverse, global audience. It is organized primarily by the IE Film & Television Industry Club and Campus Life, with the support of various other departments such as the university’s Arts & Humanities Division. However, at the helm are our students from the club—they take on the bulk of the planning and organization efforts to ensure that the event is a success every year.

Meet the team

Every year, a talented group of students volunteer to take part in making the IE Short Film Festival a reality. They play a vital role in a process that often starts months before the actual event. For this edition, an exceptional team assembled to embrace various positions and tasks essential to ensuring a smooth run of the festival. They include: Isabella Deshon, festival director; Alessandra Ruscica, creative director; Alessandro Rota, event manager; and Cristina Estragués, event manager. 

They were assisted by a stellar team that handled marketing, PR and graphic design—all the elements required to pull off such a complex and demanding event. Once this lineup was in place, they dove right into the nitty-gritty of coordinating the third installment of the IE Short Film Festival.

An eye for detail

As creative director and lead graphic designer, Alessandra Ruscica’s job is a critical but involving one. “My role is primarily overseeing all creative aspects [of the event], including the visuals as well as the overall image and aesthetic that is presented to the public,” she says. 

The Caracas-born student is currently in her second year of the Bachelor in Communication & Digital Media at IE University, so she already had some idea of what the position would require. However, boosting her practical expertise was an important consideration too. “I decided to contribute to the festival in order to develop my artistic skills further and […] also experience what it’s like to work in this field in a more realistic way,” she explains.

So far, she’s gotten all this and more, turning a keen eye to the organization process to develop consistent branding and ensure that they maintain the essence of the festival. However, despite her knack for creativity and design, the experience hasn’t been without its challenges. “What I found most difficult was [the expectation] to be constantly creative because my role requires a lot of creative thinking and original ideas,” she says.

In spite of this, Alessandra calls the experience “unforgettable,” crediting it for sharpening her leadership, organization, communication and teamwork skills as a result.

Seeing the big picture

Similarly, fourth-year Dual Degree in Business Administration + Laws student, Alessandro Rota, is determined to face challenges head-on in the process of organizing the festival. The Milan native has lived in London, Dubai and now Segovia and Madrid, gaining a broad, global perspective that has led him to his ultimate passion. “I like to believe that I am a storyteller at heart, with the goal to work in film, TV and entertainment production,” he reveals.

And Alessandro is making steady progress toward his goal: he is the president and executive producer at the IE Theater Club as well as the institutional director of the IE Arts Society. These roles, as well as his position as IE Short Film Festival’s event manager, have him gearing up to refine his abilities in preparation for his future career. “Last summer, I worked at the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda Summer Fashion Show and fell in love with event management,” he says. “I wanted to continue learning about event management and what it means to combine my work experience with my passion: filmmaking.” 

This desire led him to become part of the festival’s organizing team, which he sees as the “perfect choice” to improve his skill set. “I wanted to be a part of the team giving international filmmakers the ability to speak up through storytelling,” he explains. As event manager and producer, Alessandro’s focus is on the big pFicture. Apart from setting goals, defining deadlines and developing strategies for the festival, he also created the budget for the production. His legal expertise also came in handy when drafting sponsorship contracts and the media releases used by participating filmmakers. 

“The biggest challenge we’ve faced is definitely getting our sponsors on board for the festival,” says Alessandro. This was an arduous process, involving pitching the festival to various companies and organizations. However, in his view, the difficulties were worth it: “My experience with IE Short Film Festival has been incredible! I’ve learned a lot more about event management and what it means to be a producer.”

The final mile

In the end, both these talented students have enjoyed being a part of such a huge production and making new connections with their peers. As Alessandro points out, “What I loved the most about this experience is actually the people that I’ve worked with.”  

On the other hand, Alessandra cherishes the chance to hone her craft and expand her abilities, saying, “This experience has allowed me to learn many things that will be useful in future internships or jobs, including leadership, organization, communication, teamwork and so much more.”

They are currently in the final stages of preparing for IE Short Film Festival, which will be held from May 10-11 at IE Tower. Guests from both inside and outside the IE Community are invited to attend the colorful screening and awards ceremony to hear impactful stories from every corner of the globe. 

Registration to attend the IE Short Film Festival will remain open until May 8.