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A Conversation with A24

Kayla (Elsie Fisher) in Eighth Grade.

This semester, the independent film studio A24 is partnering with Georgetown University through an on-campus intern. You may know the young film studio from its acclaimed films Lady Bird, Moonlight, Ex Machina, and this past summer’s horror hit, Hereditary, or for being your favorite film nerd’s favorite film studio. I sat down with Diana Chiang, a senior here on the Hilltop, to discuss the program they’re running on campus, what this means for Georgetown students, and her experience organizing marketing campaigns targeting fellow Hoyas.

Just to start off, can you tell me about the program itself that you’re running with universities?

A24 is an indie film studio that I have always loved and admired. I heard about this internship opportunity and thought that given my role with the Program Board I could really help bring A24’s films and message to life on-campus. The A24 college program is currently at nine other universities: Harvard, Michigan, Emerson, UC Berkley, U Chicago, Duke, NYU, UCLA, and Florida State.

What was it about Georgetown, specifically, that made A24 interested in partnering with the school? Recently Bradley Cooper came and talked, and one question that was asked dealt with how the school’s film program is not necessarily the deepest or most well-known. What was it about Georgetown that made A24 say, “we need to send people here?”

We may not have the most well-known film program, but we are a school of hardworking and forward-thinking students and I think that was interesting to A24. I was the film chair for GPB last year, and we had the opportunity to partner with A24 and put on a screening of The Room, which was a huge hit and a lot of fun. About 200 people showed up. I think that [A24] saw our efforts, both in the promoting and actual execution of the event and they saw a lot of potential in us. Georgetown is such a great school and I am so happy that our campus is able to be involved.

Why is A24 looking at the college demographic specifically as their target?

College students these days typically just watch Netflix in their bed, and there’s not a lot of movie-going action. I think that A24 wants to bring back the movie-going experience. I think that they want young people to fall back in love with movies. I know that sounds cheesy. Colleges are the one place where a large number people of a similar age study, learn, work, and experience life together. Students are always talking to each other about new discoveries that they have made and what their interests are. Word-of-mouth spreads pretty easily on a college campus and that is pretty powerful.

What are you guys finding the most effective in connecting with this demographic?

I feel like our way to grab college students’ attention is to give them access. We’re trying to do movie screenings: that is probably our biggest and most enticing product to college students. We’re also partnering with different organizations to have events on and around campus. This gives students the opportunity to learn about A24, but also learn about the organization we are partnering with. They get to get their message out there as well. Our most recent event was a screening of Eighth Grade.

Are there any upcoming events that you can share?

We’re planning on doing something every month and continue to partner with different organizations on campus. Our next event is an advance screening of Mid90s on Thursday, October 18. This is a movie that college students are really going to love. To all of your readers, make sure to keep an eye out for more information on that screening.

Where can people find out about these events?

The first thing to do is to like the “A24 at Georgetown” page [on Facebook]. That’s the main place for students to find out what’s coming up. If they want to help out or get involved, send us message. A few students helped out with Eighth Grade who just really loved A24. They just reached out. It’s that easy. We want to encourage students to get involved with our events.

Are you looking to do any programs with any of the film classes on campus?

That’s something that we’re looking into doing. We are hoping to build relationships with the film programs on campus and involve them in our programming.

As you said, there’s a lot of love for A24 on campus, but for those who don’t know the brand as well, what would your pitch to them be for why to care and be excited about this?

I would say A24 as a brand is very unique. Their films aren’t just movies that people go to: it’s an artform that people really enjoy and talk about for years after experiencing. What I like about their movies is that they’re meaningful. Moonlight, Lady Bird, Eighth Grade; people connect with these movies on a deeper level. That’s what makes A24 stand out: they make movies that touch people’s lives. They also have an amazing podcast with lots of interesting filmmakers and actors.

A24 is a young company, but they do have a lot of buzz and a cult-like following from people. They’re obviously getting more mainstream attention from people with their Oscar wins and nominations. Do you feel that sense of excitement and passion from them in your work with them?

Yes, there definitely is. The people there, you can easily tell they love what they do. What impressed me the most is actually how caring and involved the management want to be throughout the whole process. They really care about what we’re doing. But even on a deeper level, it’s so interactive. We have a group of people here at Georgetown who really love A24. It’s not necessarily something you talk about with our film program, but people came up to me at the poster giveaway and said, “Oh my God. A24?!”

A lot of our readers are definitely interested in the film business. What advice would you give to them as far as establishing a connection like you did with A24?

It’s all about having passion for film. You don’t have to major or minor in film studies. You don’t have to be in the industry already. You can be like me, a government and history double major. You just have to love movies. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t studying film or marketing, if you’re not in the business school. It’s important to have a genuine interest and be open to learning and working hard, developing contacts and creating a network.

For people hungry for A24 content, what are some upcoming releases that people should look for, both online and in the theaters?

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, Mid90s, is coming out this month. We are having a screening of that coming up. And Slice just released online. I love that film and think fellow students really will also.

Are there any future plans to continue working with college students, specifically Georgetown, after this semester?

A24 would love to continue to work with Georgetown and the other campuses involved in the program. Making films accessible to college students is something that is important to A24 and I think that the program will only get bigger and better over the years.

Be sure to like A24 on Facebook and watch out for upcoming events!

Rush is a Marketing Sophomore.

PC: Josh Ethan Johnson/A24

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