“I love the thought of bringing people together and having them make memories.”
Dusty Bowder is a student alum of the American Pavilion’s student intern program and a graduate of the University of Nebraska. Bowder studied Hospitality in university, in addition to participating in the Hospitality and Event stream of the American Pavilion’s program. In this segment, we’ll be detailing our previous interview with the longtime alum in anticipation of our upcoming videos.
So tell us, Dusty, what was it like getting into the program?
I decided to go to the program because a student director came and spoke to my class at the University of Nebraska and I thought, “there’s no way I can do this, there’s no way I can come up with the money. It’s just not happening.” And then he came in to another class to do the same exact speech. Then he picked me out of the group in the hallway and said, “I really think you need to come to the American Pavilion. Don’t worry about the price. We’ll figure it out. ” So we just had a couple more conversations and…yeah. I ended up applying and now I’m here.
Was the application process difficult?
No. I mean, most of the stuff is just online. If you know how to use a computer and fill out documents online you should be fine.
When you came to Cannes, to the American Pavilion, what was a typical day like for you?
As a student, I was a red-carpet VIP server. And then I worked at a lot of the events too. The events could vary from anything to the Roundtable, panel, Queer Night – Queer Night is always insane – the hours weren’t too bad as a student. About 4-hour shifts.
A lot of people talk about networking at Cannes. But Cannes is a film festival, so as an event manager, how did you navigate that?
Well, this is one of the biggest events on the planet. Everybody who you see running around is working in one way or another, and everybody wants to know who everybody else is. Cause you never know. One of the first years I was here, just to network, it was when I was a student. I was networking at an event for British Airways. I had small talk with the guests and I had no idea who they were, and I ended up going to do the dinner service, [where] my boss told me that that was the princess of Monaco. So, you never know.
Were there any struggles or difficulties keeping up with the chaos of Cannes?
No. I mean, when you get here, it’s magical. You get this crazy feeling of I don’t know, something about the energy in the air. I felt something when I came here to Cannes, I kind of fell in love with Cannes, just the festival in general.
So now you’re here again. Now what are your goals for Cannes?
My goals now are just to grow myself and continue to network. There’s so much exposure here. I mean, like I said, you never know who you’re gonna meet. My goals now are just to work my butt off and get as much as I can get done, because it almost feels like an adult summer camp now. We all come together as a staff now.
If you could give advice to a student who might also be coming to the American Pavilion as an intern, what would it be?
Make the best of it. The more work you put it, the more return you’ll get out of it. You’ve got to wake up every day with determination on your mind and just work your butt off. Make the most of it while you’re here because you never know if you’ll come back or not.
So we’ve talked about the past and the present, now what is the future looking like for you?
I want to start working more in the entertainment industry. I’m currently still in Nebraska working, but I would love to continue to work in the entertainment industry, do events, maybe work for Cannes, work on movie sets, help with production, anything like that. I have a couple of job offers. That’s definitely one thing that’s come out of this. I’ve met so many students who come in here and tell me about these contacts that they’re having. Those are all job potentials.
Is Cannes worth it for your career, then?