The following post is from guest student blogger Alex Yonks. Read more on her personal blog,

I made it to France and back.  The past few weeks have been crazy, to say the least.

My first surprise was discovering how many of the mentors here at Cannes know our professors at Chapman!  A lot of them are from Texas too, so that’s fun for me.  In all, it’s definitely been a culture shock and makes me appreciate home a lot. I met a lot of really nice people so far, and I set a goal for myself to meet at least 11 new people everyday at the festival.  You really just have to put yourself out there, and be ready for anything.

Chapman students at the Cannes Film Festival

France is beyond beautiful.

I’ve never done anything like any of this ever before. I was a waitress at the American Pavilion; each shift is 6 hours, which my feet are definitely not used to, but I’ve gotten to meet lots of people and it’s fun interacting with everyone. Sometimes I’ll end up talking to some of the customers for a while and we’ll exchange business cards and my common conversation starter is “what brings you to Cannes this year?”  There are so many people here for so many different reasons, but we all share one thing in common: loving film.

I’m beginning to realize how lucky I am to be going to school in LA.  I’ve met several people who work in LA, and I’ll definitely be in contact with them in the future.  I’m pretty sure one of them will even turn into a job…!

I loved the international exposure at the Festival.  I had some free time to meander around the “International Village,” which I really enjoyed.  Each country represented at the festival has a pavilion for anybody who wants to come in and learn about that country’s film industry.  I wandered into the UK pavilion, which was actually the very first pavilion at the festival. I got a huge packet with all of the production companies and studios contact information for next spring when I study abroad there.  I’m going to try and do some sort of an internship while I’m there!

Chapman students at the Cannes Film Festival

Caught a glimpse of Nicole Kidman!

As for the Short Film Corner, where my film
Inside Out
is being played: it’s not at all what I was expecting.  It’s actually a very interesting setup – there are little cubicles each with a computer and a booklet that let’s whoever is sitting there search and watch as many short films in the festival as they’d like.  I watched some others, and of course mine which was a great experience.  There are also times I could reserve a screening room and personally screen my film for anybody who’d like to watch. I’ve been meeting lots of people while I’m waitressing and have told them about my film, so it’s a great opportunity.

Chapman students at the Cannes Film Festival

Seeing my name in the Cannes program was a thrill!

One of my favorite memories:  I was wandering around the Market (where distribution companies set up to try and sell their films) and stopped to talk with a girl working at one of the companies. Turns out she goes to Chapman too and was in France studying abroad for the semester and is working at the festival. Turns out, the company she worked for had brought one of the films I was most interested in seeing, and she was able to give me a free ticket to see it!  That was an awesome thrill.

Chapman students at the Cannes Film Festival

Getting ready for the Great Gatsby Premiere!

It just goes to show, you always have to be open to any opportunity that presents itself.  The notion of “being in the right place at the right time” can be anywhere as long as you’re ready for it!