Lights, Camera, Action RWU students experience what it takes to make the red carpet

Megan Willgoos, Managing Editor

Paparazzi, the red carpet, black ties, long gowns and a three-course meal were some of the luxuries guests received at the Red Carpet Experience on Feb. 9. The formal Oscars screening experience took place at The Graduate, formerly known as The Biltmore Hotel, which is located in downtown Providence.

Although the event officially started at 6 p.m., students from RWU were at the venue as early as 12 p.m. that day. Students of Professor George Marshall’s film curation class were required to go as part of their grade for the course. Marshall is the founder and executive director of The Flickers Arts Collaborative, which celebrated its 38th anniversary this year. 

“[The Red Carpet Experience] brings to life what we are studying in class about event production,” Marshall said. “Specifically, they see how the interactions between safety, courtesy, show and efficiency work in a real-world setting.” 

The students had to work as a team to set up hundreds of balloons, centerpieces, cameras, backdrops and silent auction items as part of this year’s theme: Toy Story 4. It took the full six hours before the event to have it prepared for its estimated 200 guests.

Senior Nicholas Stanglewicz is a student of Marshall’s who has now attended the event four years in a row. Overtime, he learned how crucial event planning is.

“Professor Marshall has his students read texts specific to how Disney plans their events and treats their guests,” Stanglewicz said. “A large portion of our success is attributed to doing our homework, so to speak.” 

Students were first invited to this event starting in 2010 when it was called “Oscar Night® America.” Over the years, Marshall said the event has given students a better perspective on how the film industry works. It also serves as a great networking opportunity for attendees, who could have the chance to meet professionals like Executive Director of the R.I. Film and Television Office Steven Feinberg. 

Students of all majors and minors can take this film curation class. Through the course, they learn skills such as planning, designing, marketing, advertising and hosting an event. 

The Red Carpet Experience also prepares students for a big event on campus, The Roving Eye Film Festival, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary as it takes place from April 13-19. This year, over 70 films will be featured from across the world, with speakers such as film director Tommy DeNucci and actor Duncan Putney. 

Stanglewicz encourages students, specifically those with an interest in communications, to take the curation class.

“While I hope we all reach that stage one day, it’s important to remember that there’s another side to filmmaking that makes the industry go round,” Stanglewicz said. “Professor Marshall’s class is vital to the success of anyone pursuing a career in film, but also those pursuing any type of degree in a communication heavy field.” 

“My goal is to provide the toolkit for our student’s professional success and a platform to pursue and achieve their dream,” Marshall said.