Boston College might not be the first place to come to mind as a filmmaking hotspot. Although there are a few dedicated clubs on campus, students looking to start careers in the entertainment industry won’t find as many resources as pre-law or business students, says Leyla Hotamisligil, MCAS ’22.
Hotamisligil is looking to change that. She is BC’s first-ever campus representative for A24, the indie movie studio responsible for cult favorites such as Lady Bird, Hereditary, and Uncut Gems. A24’s campus representative program recruits college students to organize events around the studio’s new releases.
When Hotamisligil began discussing the prospect of starting a program at BC with A24, she argued that BC would be the perfect candidate because of the lack of support for artists on campus.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of artistic spaces for people to just kind of exist in and find community,” Hotamisligil said.
Students are evidently excited about the project. The Facebook page that Hotamisligil created on Monday already has 147 followers and counting.
“In the era of COVID, people are just craving community too, so being able to rally behind a common love, I think that’s really exciting,” Hotamisligil said.
Hotamisligil’s first project is setting up an online screening of Boys State for BC students on October 14. The documentary, which follows four teenagers as they participate in a mock government exercise in Texas, lends itself well to discussions about the state of American politics. Hotamisligil plans to recruit clubs on campus to get involved with the screening, including College Democrats, the film department, the political science department, Film Society, and conservative political clubs, tying the message of the movie in with a campaign to encourage voting.
In the future, Hotamisligil hopes to transition to hybrid events that take place on campus. In line with her goal of creating more spaces for budding artists at BC, she also plans on inviting A24 directors to speak to students.
Hotamisligil considers herself an avid cinemophile. Besides her internship, she’s also president of the Film Society at BC. In the past, the club’s main activity has been organizing film screenings, but Hotamisligil is hoping to branch out this year. She’s planning an arts festival in the spring where students can present their own works, as well as screenwriting competitions and other events throughout the year.
“I think that experience kind of lends itself really well to this internship too, because it’s about creating a group of people who just like movies and conversations around that,” Hotamisligil said.
Hotamisligil initially approached A24 about becoming a campus representative last semester. The studio agreed to let her do a trial run where she would promote its upcoming film Saint Maud by organizing a three-film A24 horror marathon for BC students. The final event would be an early screening of Saint Maud.
But after campus shut down in March, A24 had to rethink how—and if—it could continue the campus representative program. Over the summer, Hotamisligil engaged in discussions with the studio about how to adapt to new circumstances, and how the film industry as a whole would have to change. The studio ultimately decided to continue the program.
Hotamisligil sees the goal of the internship as greater than just promoting a company.
“I think the reason people love A24 so much is because each piece relates to a story that this generation is really in touch with,” Hotamisligil said. “So I think the idea for this kind of project is you take those stories that this young demographic is so attached to and find a way to really have those connect with the entire campus in a very holistic way.”
When asked about an A24 film that stands out to her, Hotamisligil mentions The Farewell. The 2019 dramedy starring Awkwafina was directed by BC alumna Lulu Wang.
“If we’re talking about a film being able to accurately convey human experience—that’s why people love A24—I think that movie is a great example of that,” Hotamisligil said.
Featured image courtesy of A24.