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Freshman to work and study at Cannes Festival

March 27, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University freshman has been selected for a competitive film work-study program at the Cannes International Film Festival in southern France in May.

Jacob Durrett of Battle Creek, Mich., will participate in the acclaimed film festival through his selection to the Student Program of the American Film Pavilion.

The American Pavilion has been the focus of the U.S. film industry's presence at the Cannes International Film Festival since 1989. Serving as a communications and hospitality center for journalists, publicists, celebrities, filmmakers and motion picture executives working at the festival, the pavilion is centrally located near the main festival venue for screenings and special events, as well as near the Cannes Film Market which boasts 2,612 companies from 74 countries.

For the past 19 years, The American Pavilion has offered film students the chance to participate in its student program, which allows student to stay in Cannes for the duration of the festival, participating in educational workshops, seminars, pitch sessions, roundtable discussions and screenings. Approximately 140 students are accepted each year. Because the festival is not open to the public, this work-study program is highly competitive.

"Jake showed great passion for film and video from the first week I met him fall semester," says Dr. Jennifer Machiorlatti, associate professor of film, video and media studies. "He edited the final video of our alumni keynote speaker Ed Gordon, and he demonstrates such potentialºthis is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. There will be students from all the major film schools, many of them at the Master of Fine Arts level. I am proud that he is representing Western Michigan University."

Now a first-year student in WMU's School of Communication, Durrett is a graduate of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. There he was the lead student videographer, independently studying film and assisting in the instruction of other video production classes.

Durrett founded his own film production company his junior year in high school and started to serve the community and his school by providing full video services, competitively and professionally. He also co-founded the Battle Creek Film Festival in the summer of 2006.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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