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Bentley Junior Matt Catanzano Heading to Cannes for Prestigious Student Filmmaker Program

April 13, 2005

Waltham, Mass. - Bentley College junior Matt Catanzano will attend the Cannes International Film Festival as one of 140 students in the American Pavilion/Kodak Student Filmmaker Program from May 7 - May 24. The marketing major will be unique among his fellow interns as one of only two business students accepted by the program, and the only business student accepted from the U.S.

For Catanzano, the opportunity is a dream come true. For Bentley, the opportunity underscores the school's commitment to provide students with the breadth and depth of liberal arts combined with the real-world orientation and technological sophistication of business.

"I have the ambition to be a filmmaker, writer and actor," said Catanzano, who has already appeared in two low-budget horror movies. "But I want to be successful. I know too many people who try to make it in film and end up living in a van down by the river. I decided to come to Bentley to get a business degree, (since) the film industry is a business just like any other business. So I'm studying marketing, but at Bentley I've also studied video production, screenwriting, design communication and sound."

 

Alice White, the American Pavilion student programs director, said 600 students applied for the program this year (students are accepted into the program based on a written essay and personal phone interview). "It is intended for film students, but we have occasionally accepted business students in past years who have a strong interest in film." The only other business student to be accepted this year is from the University of Windsor in Canada, according to White.

The American Pavilion is the communications and hospitality center for the thousands of Americans in Cannes during the festival. The interns will spend six hours each day in a work-placement at one of the many Pavilion services. Prior to the start of the festival, students will attend workshops and seminars to better understand the business side of the film industry. The experience also offers students a chance to network with producers, directors and other film industry personnel, while observing firsthand the fast-paced nature of the international film market. Students also have the opportunity to attend industry panels, press conferences and screenings.

In large part, Catanzano credits Bentley Lecturer in English Liz LeDoux for helping him land a spot in this competitive program. LeDoux arrived at Bentley last fall from the Department of Film at Brooklyn College-CUNY to contribute to Bentley's burgeoning media studies program. "She has been incredible and did a lot of the legwork to make this opportunity happen for me," Catanzano said.

 

"Matt has the rare talent of experimenting with his own creativity and he's not afraid to do so," said LeDoux. "He wrote, produced, directed and edited a narrative project with his video team in a single semester that far surpassed my expectations. His dedication and seriousness to its completion was beyond commendable. He has such a grasp of the filmmaking language as a unique form of communication and has the kind of talent and instincts one cannot teach in the classroom."

 

LeDoux points out that Cannes is where creative filmmakers, studio executives and distributors converge to discuss, buy, sell, market and promote motion pictures. "It is, after all, a business," she said. "This is precisely what Bentley is trying to achieve with the media studies program -- showing that there are many avenues in which arts and sciences intersect with the business world."

 

Dean of Arts and Sciences Kate Davy adds, "Every business has some form of media outlet - a web site, e-mail listserv or television commercial, for example. Understanding how these different media systems communicate and what elements are employed to achieve that communication is vital for any business student of the 21st Century."

 

Catanzano will also have the opportunity to take his short film "Buffalo Tales" to Cannes. Shot last semester with co-director and co-star, Bentley student Mike McCusker, the film is based on a one-act play written by McCusker. This semester both students are taking a sound design class with LeDoux to mix the film's sound in time for a student film screening at Cannes.

 

After graduation in 2006, Catanzano says he may apply to a graduate film program. Or, he might just head for Los Angeles to break into the film business. "Between my internship at Cannes and a business degree I could probably get into one of the studios and work my way up," he said. "I'd have an income, but I'd also have time for auditions on the weekends." As for his marketing degree, Catanzano said, "Acting and filmmaking require learning how to market yourself and your products. Even though we may be talking about toothpaste in class, in my head I'm always thinking about how I can get distributors to buy a movie, what I can do with the packaging, and what I can do as an actor that says, 'hire me.'"

 

Catanzano is a third-generation Bentley student. His grandfather (Arthur Pearson '40) went to Bentley when it was primarily an accounting school in Boston. His father (Steve Catanzano '89) and mother (Brenda Catanzano '91) both attended Bentley as well.

 

"My parents kept telling me, 'You can't go wrong with a business degree.'. . . I had no idea (when I came to Bentley) the media studies program was going to develop - that was sheer luck."

Other local schools sending student filmmakers to the program are Emerson College, Wellesley College, Tufts and Boston universities. Schools represented outside of Boston include Brown, NYU, USC, Ithaca College, UCLA, Columbia University, School of Visual Arts, Wake Forest, Howard, Florida State, Washington, Northwestern and Emory universities, and many more.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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