Originally from Lancaster, Alice moved to the Borders with her parents when she was 11 and to Edinburgh when she was 18. Passionate about film and photography, she was delighted when she managed to secure a placement as an assistant at the prestigious event.Film graduate Alice Shone

The experience gave her a surprising insight into the behind-the-scenes work that goes on.

“I had no idea how any festival, whether it was literature, film or music, was run,” she admitted. “There’s just no way of knowing. I was actually very surprised about how few members of staff there were in the beginning. By the end there were hundreds, but there were only a few people who decided what films were going to be shown. It has opened my eyes up completely.”

As someone who loves films and TV shows, Alice says the best thing about her placement was getting up close and personal with the industry. 

“Just being part of it was amazing,” she said. “I got to go through all of the archive footage from the old catalogues and brochures, from the very first one to last year’s, because I was helping the artistic director for the coming festival.

“It was so cool looking back over not just all of the old films, but also the old adverts including really old whiskey adverts. They’d all be in black and white or written on paper we don’t use anymore, so just feeling those things from almost 70 years ago was brilliant. I’d look forward to it every day getting to look through a few more old films in my spare time.”

I learned that I can do it...It’s a brilliant feeling! Being that dynamic and feeling that alert all of the time is quite exhausting but I felt like I’d achieved something.

Alice Shone

BA (Hons) Film

It wasn’t just getting access to the archives that Alice enjoyed. Part of her role was also to contact the directors of the films and attend the events put on by the festival.

"During the festival itself I got to meet one of my favourite photographers, Tim Walker, because he directed a short film called 'The Muse' we were showing. It was quite embarrassing actually because I was quite starstruck and I didn’t know what to say!

“I also got to meet Robert Kondo, the director of my favourite film at the festival, which happened to be another short film called 'The Dam Keeper'. Meeting him was great. He brought me some signed postcards and badges which was just lovely. Getting to meet your idols is quite wonderful.”

Alice believes her placement taught her what she was capable of as she juggled her Edinburgh Napier studies with her placement and job.

“I learned a lot about myself,” she said. “I was working five days a week at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, two days a week at my other job, and in any time that I was not sleeping, I was doing course work.

“I learned that I can do it. I think most people could do it. When you have to do something, you just get on with it. It’s a brilliant feeling! Being that dynamic and feeling that alert all of the time is quite exhausting but I felt like I’d achieved something. Every day I thought, yes! I’ve done it.”

Finally, we asked Alice to sum her placement up in no more than three words. Here’s what she came up with: “Magical, exciting and fulfilling.”