Insights from an Intern: Malithi Gunawardena, Department of Art & Art History

August 06 2020

This is a series dedicated to highlighting the insights our students gained during their internships.

Name: Malithi Gunawardena, Department of Art & Art History 

Internship: 2020 Sundance Film Festival 2019/2020, Publication Design team

What responsibilities did you have as an intern?

As an intern, I was responsible for creating and designing templates for the festival's smaller publications, as well as laying out and preparing their larger publications. The festival puts out about 5 publications a season, including the annual catalog, and I worked on each one under different capacities. 

What new skills/knowledge did you gain from your internship?

During this internship, I gained experience designing within brand guidelines and insight into the entire process of publication design, from conception to actual printing. I also was on a team with many different, constantly moving parts (program directors creative directors, copywriters , copy editors) located all around the world and learned how to effectively design as part of a large team rather than as a single entity, as I am used to doing in the context of academia. 

What connections did you make and how do you think those connections may help you in your career?

The beauty of Sundance is that people come to work the festival from all around the country, and when the festival is all said and done, they go back. These people fall on all different parts of the creative spectrum and having this diverse network of connections all around the country is not only a valuable asset as I start to begin my transition into the workforce but a very fun one as well.

What advice would you give other students who are interested in a similar internship?

It is always worth it to try for things, no matter how seemingly unlikely it is that they will work out in your favor. Also. Be nice!! It makes all the difference. every. single. time. 

How did your internship compliment your arts education?

While my arts education has been of utmost value in helping me to develop as an individual designer and artist, my internship gave me perspective on how and where those skills fit in as a small cog part of a much larger machine.  

Are there other things you would like to tell us?

Working for a cause that not only I loved, but everybody around me loved and was so passionate about made all the difference in my experience as an intern. As idealistic as it may sound, the work, no matter how mundane, becomes fun when you believe in it!