Desiree Akhavan graduated from Film Studies in 2006. Desiree wrote, directed and acted in the web series The Slope, after which she appeared in Filmmaker's 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012. In 2014, Desiree's film Appropriate Behaviour premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. After seeing Appropriate Behaviour, Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner asked Desiree to play a writing student in Season 4 of Girls. Her latest film The Miseducation of Cameron Post won the Grand Jury Award for US Drama at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.
As a student Julian Ross was involved in the film society and worked part-time for Close Up Film Centre in East London. He wrote a dissertation on the Art Theatre Guild of Japan, an organisation that distributed and produced independent films in the 1960-90s, and this led to him curating a film season at the BFI in 2011, which then toured to Pacific Film Archive, Harvard Film Archive and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). After graduation in 2009, Julian curated film series, installations and performances at Tate Modern, BOZAR, Centre for Fine Art, Anthology Film Archive, and others. He then completed a PhD at the University of Leeds and is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, as well as working as a Programmer at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.
Paul Frankl graduated in Film Studies and Comparative Literature in 2011. He is a freelance writer and director, specialising in drama/narrative film and music videos. In 2012 he won Bombay Sapphire's Imagination Series competition. He is currently working on a number of short and feature film projects. An overview of his work can be found on his website and he has talked about his practice to the online journal The Spread.
I graduated from Queen Mary University in 2012 with a BA in Film Studies. At the time, I was looking to expand my understanding of cinema not only technically, but also through areas such as philosophy, history, psychology and politics. This program permanently altered my approach to film, teaching me how to understand the cinema’s complex visual language. It also made my own practice more meaningful by teaching me how to express my vision more effectively and clearly. After graduating, I moved to Los Angeles, California, and continued to pursue my career in filmmaking. Since then, I have been a part of numerous film and theatre projects in many different roles, including cinematographer, script supervisor and screenwriter. But through my work, I found that my main passion lies in acting and directing. Last year, I co-created a sketch-comedy channel on YouTube called Broken English and have been given the opportunity to present its work at film festivals, most recently at the NYC Independent Film Festival. I will also be appearing as ‘Young Red’ on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black Season 5.
Marilena Parouti graduated in Film Studies in 2013. She is a bilingual film producer with a versatile selection of award-winning film projects varying from feature films, short films, music videos, documentaries, art films, exhibitions and festivals. Marliena is experienced in working both in-house and independently in the United Kingdom and abroad. She produced Waking David (2016) which was screened at the 2017 Phoenix Film Festival. She has placed a showreel of her work on Vimeo and her profile can be seen at Film-and-TV-Pro.com.
I had a great time studying film at Queen Mary. I loved that there was a challenging mix of theory, history and film practice to get your teeth into. I especially enjoyed the filmmaking aspect, working with real actors and budgets and learning to be professional in that environment helped me prepare for the real world. I graduated in 2014 and for two years worked at the locations agency 1st Option, providing locations for a large number of television shows and feature films, including Absolutely Fabulous, The Movie and Marcella for ITV, Lucky Man for Sky, and a number of episodes of BBC’s Panorama. I have also worked on advertising campaigns for John Lewis, Next, Google, and a ton of others. In 2017 I have moved into Production Management, in house at a production company called Hamlett Films which specialises in making documentary and educational films.
At QMUL I studied Film and History. Because of the joint degree, it was a very academic approach and I didn’t take any film practice modules. However, I did those in my free time outside of QM. I liked that the degree gave me a holistic overview of film and also more specific knowledge focused on specific subjects I was keen on. I mainly concentrated on writing, journalism, screenwriting, and British and American cinema. I took film-related modules in the history department as well because I loved the subject so much. The most memorable module for me was Mapping Contemporary Cinema. It gave me a really good base which later I could integrate in my PR, journalistic and festival related work. I graduated in 2015 and completed an MA in Marketing, Distribution, Sales and Exhibition at the National Film and Television School (which I crowd-funded) and now work in production and distribution, including running a masterclass at the Indie Film Distribution Summit. I work with numerous partners including BFI LFF, Sundance London, Premier PR, London Screenwriters Festival, and Thumbs Up productions. I’m also a regular contributor on the Film Editing Pro website.
Because I started a little later than most other students (I am graduating in 2017 aged 25), I was determined to make the most of my time at university. I enjoyed the wide variety of modules on offer but also worked as Film Editor for CUB Magazine and in the Students’ Union cafes for two years. I was then offered a full-time position with QMSU which I began after finishing my dissertation and I now work in the Student Engagement department in a student-facing role which is fun and rewarding. It is also teaching me lots of skills to take into future careers. I work with over 250 Societies, and also help to improve students’ job prospects. I am considering studying an MA in film but I’m enjoying earning some money in the meantime. I would encourage students to get involved in all aspects of university life. There are so many opportunities offered to QM students and you never know what they might lead to! Also try to build a relationship with your personal advisor so that you always feel supported. The academic staff are fantastic.