Spoleto Film Festival Q & A with BWFF's Connor Fox
Connor Fox previously served as the publicity chair for BWFF and as a Creative Campus Intern at the University of Alabama. This summer, for his second time, he interned with the Spoleto Arts Fest in Charleston. Spoleto is a 17 day festival that focuses on various arts such as opera, theater and music. It is held at venues throughout historic Charleston and has been around for 40 years.
What was your favorite part of working at the festival?
Charleston is a vibrant city, rich with history and culture. Spoleto seems to bring out the best in people there and attracts festival-goers from all over. It's such an exciting time to discover what the city has to offer and be part of so many enriching performances, and I always leave wanting more.
What was your favorite film at the festival?
(It's a performing arts festival, so no film emphasis. BUT...) There were two silent film screenings with by the SFUSA Orchestra this year, which is the first time Spoleto has ever programmed anything like this. Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" and Bill Morrison's "Decasia" were strikingly different, yet beautifully done with the orchestra performing the scores to each film live on stage. The venue for this—College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre—was originally a movie house when it opened in 1927 and is now used for other performing arts, so it was neat to see the theatre return to its original purpose. For two silent films with only live orchestral music, each performance left audience members talking with one another about the shared experience afterward. I loved seeing these interactions come to life because of the power of films
What was your primary job at the festival?
I worked as an apprentice in the Festival's press office. Any communication with Spoleto artists, performers, staff, etc... comes through us, and our main job as apprentices during the Festival is to facilitate interviews between journalists and artists. In addition, we manage photo opportunities for journalists; create content for social media and Spoleto's blog; work with the Festival's daily radio program, SCETV's Spoleto Today, which is an affiliate of NPR; and have various other responsibilities to make sure the Festival is adequately covered by the press.
How is Spoleto different from other festivals?
Spoleto Festival USA has brought world-class performers to Charleston, South Carolina since 1977—world-class performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music. Some, but not all, of these acts debut for the first time in America and the world during the Festival, too. Over the course of 17 days, nowhere else can you experience all these mediums and the talent that brings them to life in the beautiful, historical setting of Charleston.
How has your experience working at the festival helped you in your career goals?
Festivals such as this attract people from an array of backgrounds and experiences. It's not only an incredible opportunity to connect with talented and acclaimed artists, but also a time to make lasting friends and relationships. Learning the paths of these professionals and how they made it to this point in their careers was so beneficial and enlightening, especially in casual and genuine conversations.
Since this was your second time around working at Spoleto, how did your prior knowledge help you?
Before working at Spoleto for the first time, I had never experienced anything like it before. When I returned for a second year, I had something to compare and contrast new experiences with old ones, as well as different perspectives of how to manage and operate the press office.