It's not the most popular music video of 2017, but it's worth a watch! (I may or may not have directed it so I could be biased.) From psychedelic rock group Costello - "2222". https://vimeo.com/warrenbros/2222-costello
Maybe because he shoots in a flat picture profile with high dynamic range he thinks his footage should be less saturated? Regardless, what he says doesn't make any sense. Muted colors/low contrast is only one cinematic look out of thousands, and it certainly isn't the definitive film look. I'm not sure there is a definitive "film look" because every movie has a different visual style. Ironically, the stuff this guy shows in the video looks digital because it's obviously just lightly graded log footage.
There are no easy answers. If she's already set on going, (and since you live in Connecticut) you might consider letting her move back home after graduation so that she could save money for a feature. Any time she has a gig in NYC, she could take the train and crash at a friend's house.
Many directors have to self-finance their first films or get all their money from relatives and close friends. Obviously these aren't million dollar movies, usually they're only a few thousand or tens of thousands. Studios don't give money to independent filmmaker to make their films, studios make blockbusters. They only hire people who have already directed films. However, certain independent production companies and film institutions do help first time filmmakers finance their films.
If she wants to make films that she both writes and directs, she doesn't necessarily have to " work up through the ranks". She'd move up from being a PA, but she also wouldn't be a director. The only way to be an independent director is to direct films, which means at some point she'll have to go it alone and raise money for a film either through self-financing, crowdfunding, or investors. A person technically doesn't even have to be part of the film industry to make a film, all that's required is money to hire people to do things for you. The problem is that it takes a lot of money.
The scene from 2001 was also front screen projection. I'm surprised Fandor didn't bother with the difference.