Cristian completed projects in the UK and abroad while studying BA (Hons) Film Production
Before university, the main subjects I studied at college were Maths, Computer Science and English. Outside of my studies, I also filmed some projects for them as an extracurricular activity whilst working as a freelance photographer at the same time.
However, after gaining 2-3 years’ experience making short films with my friends throughout college, I realised that film production was the path I was certain on pursuing.
Coming from an entirely different country to study was a little daunting at first, especially as I was surrounded by so many people for whom English is their first language. This didn’t last for long though, and I soon got to grips with university life when I started socialising with my coursemates. The hustle and bustle of Portsmouth’s vibrant city centre reminded me of my own hometown in a way that definitely helped me to settle in as well.
Once I knew my way around, I was keen to participate in as many projects as I could to really get the most out of my degree so, at the beginning of last year, I went out to Morocco to work on a feature film as a Camera Trainee for three weeks. My cinematography lecturer Ben Hodgson was the Director of Photography on the film, and there were five other people working in the camera department alone. It was such an eye-opening opportunity - definitely the biggest project I’d worked on at the time - which taught me many valuable lessons, and instilled my passion for filmmaking even further.
I also took a placement year out between my second and third year to work for the University’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries as a Promotions Assistant. My duties included managing the faculty’s social media presence, helping with organising events, writing new articles for the faculty blog, which was then distributed to all CCI staff and students in the fortnightly newsletter.
I enjoyed applying my existing skills to a role I’d never tried before because it allowed me to acquire a better insight into what the marketing industry might be like, and it even made me consider marketing in the film industry as a potential backup career choice.
I’ve worked on a number of music videos and short films which qualified into festivals, both as part of my course and externally. On two separate occasions, I participated in 48h Film Challenges with a few friends and won some awards both times. Nonetheless, the project I’m most proud of is my graduate film, ‘Respite’, which centres on the difficulty of living with Alzheimer’s. The script was written by our director Joe Stringer and is inspired by his grandmother’s experience caring for her husband who had dementia, and it was a very emotional story which all of those involved could really relate to. I worked with a fantastic group of people – many of whom were final year students and graduates from my course – and we even managed to raise our full crowdfunding goal and donate £425 to the Alzheimer’s Society charity.
Because of the course’s collaborative nature, I believe that it's enhanced my ability to work as part of a team effectively thanks to the various group projects we were asked to complete. In this way, I feel that I’ve not only developed my communication skills, but also my ability to complete assignments on time and work productively under pressure since we had many simultaneous deadlines. Having the chance to interact with so many like-minded people was definitely my favourite aspect of the course, and working alongside people with similar interests and passions really created a sense of community which sometimes went beyond the boundaries of the course and extended into socialising.
In terms of my next steps, I’m pleased to say that I’ve just been offered a job at a film equipment rental company in London. I’m excited by the prospect of some financial stability and I’m looking forward to developing my technical knowledge. In the future, I hope to further explore the creative side of filmmaking with freelance work and I wish to continue with some passion projects when I have some spare time on my hands, too.
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