Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


From Classroom to Film Fest: Loyola Students Take on Telluride and Chicago

From Classroom to Film Fest: Loyola Students Take on Telluride and Chicago


Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication has once again proven its prowess in offering unparalleled opportunities for its students to engage with the film industry at a global level. This year, students had the unique chance to attend two major film festivals, gaining insights and experiences that are crucial for those aspiring to careers in communication and media. 

The 50th Telluride Film Festival in Colorado was the first stop for the students. Accompanied by Dean Elizabeth Coffman and Professor Miguel Silveira, students were privy to the festival’s tradition of surprise screenings and exclusive tributes to cinema’s most influential figures. The festival, renowned for its democratic ethos and exceptional programming, presented a unique environment where students could engage in candid discussions with filmmakers and film historians, fostering a richer understanding of the works.  

In total, eight Loyola students attended the festival, seven of whom - Lily Kaya, Michael Chopra, Alex Powell, Aislinn Kincaid, Sedona Shipka, Grace Schuler, and Daniel Espinoza - worked as festival volunteers and assisted the theater managers. Their position as official festival staff granted them festival passes and the opportunity to interact with film directors and A-list film stars while gathering real-world professional experience at the highest levels. One of our students, Maren Williams, was also in attendance as part of the Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium, a prestigious program that only accepts fifty students from a national poll of applicants.  

At Telluride, students experienced the world premiere of "Wildcat," which featured an imaginative portrayal of Flannery O’Connor’s life, connecting the dots between academic studies and real-world applications. Dean Elizabeth Coffman's role as a co-executive producer on the acclaimed film "Wildcat" not only bridges the gap between academia and the industry but also provides a glimpse into the level of expertise and real-world engagement that instructors at the School of Communication bring to their classrooms. 

The immersive learning journey continued at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s longest-running competitive film festival. Here, students delved into a diverse range of cinematic works, from feature films to documentaries and shorts, engaging in the kind of dialogue and debate that shapes critical media perspectives. 

A highlight of the Chicago festival was the Industry Days segment, a vibrant opportunity for filmmakers and industry experts to network, exchange creative insights, and draw inspiration. With Professor Silveira at the helm of a film project pitch at Industry Days, students were offered a front-row seat to the practical dynamics of filmmaking, underscoring the hands-on experience and guidance they receive from faculty at Loyola. 

The tapestry of experiences woven through the Telluride and Chicago International Film Festivals is not merely a backdrop but a vibrant portrait of the School of Communication. Here, students find themselves not just in a city renowned for its media and communication but at the heart of it, where the line between learning and professional engagement connects. Rich with knowledge and experience, SOC Ramblers step into the world of media eager to inspire and drive the future of film with their innovative ideas and passionate storytelling.