Interview with Valentin Bacalu

  1. Valentin, tell us a bit about you. Why did you choose to attend Film Studies at Ryerson University?

A lot of people including me have dreams of being part of the American film industry and at first I had this idea that maybe I could study film at a school such as USC or UCLA but after some research i concluded that both of these would first of all be very challenging to attend considering that I’d have to get a student Visa for the USA. I then started looking within Canada and there aren’t that many good film schools here even though most universities do offer a film program, those are usually just film history and have very little to no production included. After looking at my best options, York University, Concordia University and Ryerson University I decided to go to Ryerson mostly due to the fact that the style of films being made there reflected my own style and I felt like that would be the place for me to continue on my path as a filmmaker. There was also the matter that Ryerson is fairly renown for it’s film program and I was certain that I would learn a lot there.

  1. How do you plan to use your studies to achieve your future career plans?

I don’t think you have to wait until the end of your studies to start working in the film industry, if anything that would be a very bad idea. The Film Studies program at Ryerson has enabled me to connect with various people, students and professionals alike with whom I work on various projects. As per the knowledge gained through the film program I believe that it has and will continue to help me gain a better understanding of the inner workings of the film world which will in turn help me become a better filmmaker and allow me get more job opportunities on film and television sets.

  1. What do you hope to do after you graduate?

For now, I have in mind to be a director, producer and actor. After I graduate I plan on continuing to pursue work in all three fields. For my career as a director for example I plan to try and write/direct a series in the near future for which I have already started working on the ideas of the script and how the story will develop.

  1. How did the ORCA Student Grant help you achieve your academic goals?

The part of your life where you are a student in university might just be the hardest in your whole life. I say that because I think it’s a time where most students have a lot of things going on in their life simultaneously; you are transitioning not only from high school to university but also from childhood to adulthood. You are starting to have a lot of responsibilities and one of them is to start being financially independent which is very hard to do when you have to pay for school, books and a myriad of other things. At this early point in my life every dollar matters especially considering my field of study/work where filmmaking can be extremely costly depending on what equipment and facilities you use. The ORCA Student Grant has helped me alleviate some of these costs for which I am very grateful and I think that it has helped me a lot.

  1. What do you do for fun, when you are not studying?

A variety of activities, I read, I do Parkour, i think of ideas I can make films of, I write scripts for potential short films, I teach myself Spanish and guitar, I go out and do photography as a hobby which I post on Instagram and I also work on short films be they my own or my friends’ short films, I also like watching series and films among other things. There was a time where I had too many interests and hobbies and I found that I never had time to focus on anything so I had to cut some out.

  1. I noticed you are very involved and proud of your Romanian heritage; what do you consider to be your greatest achievement within a Romanian group and/or organization?

I think if it has to be something I did with/for a community it would be participating in building/renovating “Biserica Sfanta Maria” in Gatineau. It is not often that one has the opportunity to help building a church. However, I think that my greatest achievement being a Romanian that was born and raised in Romania is to have been able to inform the people around me here in Canada about the Romanian culture. I find that more often than not when I say I’m Romanian people know (more or less) where that is but have no idea what it’s like there or what the culture is like and I enjoy teaching others about my Romanian heritage.

  1. Given the fact that you are one of last year’s winners, can you share with us how you found the application process for the ORCA Student Grant?

I found it to be pretty straight forward and it wasn’t very difficult to understand, all the requirements were stated clearly and all I had to do was follow them.

  1. What would you recommend for those interested in applying next year?

I would suggest putting actual effort in the application and being truthful about your answers, I see quite a few of my friends that have applied for grants but their letters look more like an essay they had to write in school and less like a letter answering to the questions asked in the application criteria.

  1. Have you considered becoming an ORCA Youth member?

I have but I spend a lot of time working on either my studies or the films I make to achieve my life and career goals and have very little time left after that which makes it very difficult to be part of the ORCA Youth community. However I am now on ORCA Youth’s Facebook group and do plan to attend events whenever my schedule allows it!!

  1. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Not really.


Inteview by: Andrei Banaru