Brandon Isaacson, the vice president of Northeastern’s Film Enthusiasts’ Club, watches as many as 400 movies per year, from seminal classics to independent brain-busters.
In his application essay for the Telluride Film Festival’s Student Symposium, he explored his love for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a dramedy starring Bill Murray as a quirky oceanographer who vows revenge on the Jaguar shark that ate his friend. The film, he wrote, represents cinema’s innate ability to quell the cineaste’s melancholia through his search for “beauty, creativity, and self-identification” in the moving image.
Isaacson’s essay helped earn him one of only 25 coveted spots in the festival’s student symposium, which begins on Aug. 28 in Telluride, Colo. Over the course of the five-day festival, he will watch at least a dozen new films; network with actors, filmmakers, and screenwriters; and connect with symposium alumni, including producers and film professors.
Isaacson hopes the festival will screen Blue is the Warmest Colour, a French drama that won the 2013 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or prize for best feature film. For him, a good movie combines the intellectual bent of literature with the visceral punch of music. “The moving image is fascinating because we grow up learning and analyzing art through the lens of literature, but film is a whole different animal,” Isaacson explained. “Our understanding is so basic because it’s only 115 years old.”
Watching movies, he added, sates his obsession with “exploring ideas and opening myself up to seeing the world from different perspectives.”
A fifth-year marketing major, Isaacson noted that his co-op experience has sharpened his business perspective of the film industry. At AOL, for example, he helped develop online advertising campaigns for Coca Cola and Proctor & Gamble.
“I know how to run a campaign,” said Isaacson, whose long-term professional goal is to become an independent film distributor. “I have gained valuable business experience,” he added, and “film distribution is a business.”
When he’s not looking for the perfect professional match, Isaacson can often be found watching films at Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre, a cozy nonprofit independent movie house. “When the lights go down,” he wrote in his application essay, “I feel like I belong.”