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I’ve been working in the film industry for the past five years as Assistant Director. Currently I am a 3rd AD and I work with the 1st AD and director setting background action, managing the cast and keeping the set moving. I’ve mainly worked on mainstream features such as Fury, Mission Impossible 5, Star Wars: Rogue One and Macbeth. I recently worked on Mary Queen of Scots which happened to be shot in Oxford. When it comes to university life I believe maybe a third of what you learn is academic, this is important as it teaches you how to apply yourself, show analytical thought and critical thinking. The other two thirds of the course teaches you utterly invaluable skills when it comes to working in the industry and that is how to work with people. Working, talking and debating with people who share the same passion gives you the people skills you need to succeed in the industry. The key is having a passion for what you do and surrounding yourself with those who share that passion. Learning then becomes exploration. Learning how to write scripts using platforms such as Final Draft and the using the latest editing software gave me skills that I continue to use when making my own short films. Success in the film industry comes down to three factors, working very hard, knowing the right people, making the most of the contacts you have and lastly a bit of luck.
When I reflect back on the amount of new knowledge, experience, and fundamental career change I obtained within only one year time in the Digital Media Production MSc at Oxford Brookes University, I think it was undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made. I transitioned from a person who would only qualify for dull IT positions, based on my BSc, to someone with not only solid background in a vast range of media topics, but also a rich portfolio of concrete work from film and news to 3D modelling and animation. All the well-designed courses, the excellent equipment made available to us, the hands-on assignments we undertook, the team work we exercised, the close technical support and the professional guidance enabled me to make this leap from someone with zero media employability two years ago to someone who is now the communication officer of UNICEF in Tartous, Syria. All the priceless learning experience I accumulated during my time at Brookes is now an asset for me to advocate for the rights of children and women in Syria, which gives a rewarding feeling of satisfaction while opening my life on an endless horizon of career development opportunities.
I graduated from the Film Studies department in 2010, with an award for Best Dissertation in Film Studies. I continued my academic inquiry by obtaining a MA in Film Studies at University College London, followed by a PhD degree with the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. I currently work as a research assistant at the School of Art, Birmingham City University, on a two-year Leverhulme Trust funded project. I chose to take the academic path following my film degree at Brookes, indebted as I am to the professional support and advice provided by the staff, and their encouragement to embrace my potential. I have published several book chapters on various topics on cinema, as well as a book co-written with Dr Deborah Alison and Dr Daniela Treveri Gennari on the history of the Picturehouse Cinema, a historical art cinema based in Oxford. My current research interests include local cinema history and critical history of film theory and criticism.