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Student Begins MSLCE After Inspiring Film Fest Experience

By Jacob Nelson

While studying at Hampton University, Jaquise Cofield got valuable film experience producing, directing, and writing. But her real film education arrived when she interned for Paramount during the 2015 Toronto Film Festival.

During the experience, she worked with the studio’s acquisition team and got to sit in on discussions about whether or not the company would try to buy the rights to a movie.

“I thought that was a really interesting side of the industry,” she said.

Cofield was fascinated by the realization that the decision to buy a film was not a long, drawn out process. Instead, it was often a gut feeling, followed by a short conversation among studio employees.

“I thought it’d be long drawn out process, but pretty much they see a film and then after they huddle and go, ‘What do you guys think?’ and they just decide super quick,” she said. “I thought it was super cool.”

The experience made Cofield realize that she would like to have a career that allows her to work in both the creative and business side of the film industry.

“It would be awesome to do both creative and business,” she said, “The internship opened my eyes to seeing both sides of the industry.”

Coming into the MSLCE program, Cofield isn’t sure exactly what position she’d like to have in the film or television world, but she does have some role models in mind in terms of who she would like to emulate: the woman behind the hit shows “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Grey’s Anatomy” as well as the woman behind the film Selma.

“I’m going into the program with an open mind looking at the different jobs grads have gotten after the program,” she said. “If I could graduate and become like Shonda Rhimes or Ava Duvernay, I would have gotten what I came there to get.”

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