- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Inteview by: Andrei Banaru