One of the many benefits of a Spider education is the vast international network of successful alums. Kendall Holly, a film major and creative writing minor, got a dream opportunity at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences through one of these strong ties.

Holly heard about the shadowing opportunity thanks to our career services team’s connection with alum Roger Mancusi, ’12, who works as the Academy’s programs and membership coordinator in New York. Over winter break, she attended planning meetings for movie premieres and was able to get a behind-the-scenes view of how the Academy handles programming. Specifically, she worked with logistics for the “Black Panther” membership screening, during which time the team began coordinating with Disney.  

The experience also introduced her to foreign film screenings for Academy members. Holly assembled packets that included ballots and information about each film so members could vote on which films would receive Oscar nominations.

“It was an incredible opportunity to be at such an amazing company that really sets the standard for the film industry,” Holly said. “I think the guidance that Roger gave me was so beneficial toward getting an outlook on the potential that there is in New York. I always thought the majority of the business was in Los Angeles, but it made me think about other opportunities.”

So what’s next for Holly? Right now, she’s working on Showtime’s “Homeland” set in Richmond as a production assistant, so she’s taking it one step at a time. She said she’s gained work experience during the past few months that she couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

“Without the Spider network, I wouldn’t have known there were connections in the film industry, and I certainly wouldn’t have known a Spider was working at one of the most prestigious companies in the world,” she said.

We are looking forward to seeing Kendall’s next move in her film career. We’re proud of her and of all of the work our alums are doing in the industry! 

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