Film Festival intern sees stars, future

Patricia Bonilla

Santa Barbara Film Festival intern Erica Haile was sitting quietly, alphabetizing e-mails in her lap because the desks in front and behind her had disappeared under piles of paperwork.

Before Haile gets to the Zs, development director Linda Baron walked into the room, one ear to her cell phone. She briefly pauses her conversation to ask Erica to run an errand.

“Can you pick up the proofs for Tinta Latina magazine?” Baron asked. Haile accepts, and Baron resumes her phone conversation and heads back to her office.

“No. Peter Jackson tickets are already sold out,” development associate Sandra Walter said also talking on the phone.

Peter Jackson, the director of “Lord of the Rings,” is scheduled to appear at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Arlington Theatre where he will be given the film festival’s Modern Masters award. Volunteer coordinator Jared Brach said the office had been receiving ritual calls from teenage girls who want to know if Jackson really is coming.

“I want to see Charlize Theron,” said Erica Haile, although she is doubtful, considering she will be busy serving trays of food.

“This year is so much better than last year,” said Haile who started her internship in November and expects more busy days until the end of the festival. She is finishing her second year at City College, taking 14 units this Spring.

“I have school all day,” said Haile, “then I come straight here.”

She wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and heads to the gym for her morning work out, then she is off to City College. After classes, she drives to the festival offices behind the Riviera Theatre where she puts in about 12 hours a week completing a wide range of tasks, from putting up posters to carrying boxes of bottled Fiji water in her two-inch heels. She leaves the office at 6 p.m. and heads to her apartment in Isla Vista where she does homework and goes to bed around midnight.

“It’s totally worth it,” said Haile. “I’ve noticed this internship has helped me to be more assertive and, like, aggressive in asking for what I want.”

Haile is a communications major with an emphasis in public relations, and the internship has helped her gain hands-on experience. “My main goal is to be in public relations in the entertainment industry,” she said.

“I would love to do it again,” said Haile.

Preparations for the next festival do not begin for another six months. In the meantime, Haile will find a paying job, and is looking into working for NBC this summer.