A degree in film is a degree in film — it’s a degree in watching movies and writing reviews for movies. People who go to cinemas and film cinemas (such as the film festivals we hold) or have had exposure to such programmes are good at knowing what films people are going to like and who does well in what film. It’s a good thing to have a degree in film, but if you don’t have that, it’s no good. For that reason, I don’t believe in degrees for films and I am not against an undergraduate degree in film. It doesn’t mean that every student should get one. But I don’t recommend anyone pursuing an undergraduate degree in film from my point of view.
How much of a student you are is something that you decide. I didn’t get into film studies, I got into film studies — I started by doing a lot of research. It doesn’t mean that if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t become a filmmaker. I don’t think I was anything special. Some people see a problem with that. For me, it just means that I was open-minded at the time.
What advice would you give to students thinking of making something a film when they are not sure?
There is a quote from the great American filmmaker Werner Herzog about the importance of a strong thesis statement for a film school — it helps to convince a teacher to think more of a project you are going to do rather than looking at a script you’ve written. But a strong thesis statement is not the only thing you need in a film student’s life. You also need people who can listen, who give input — people who are passionate about the work you are doing. If you have good people who share your passion, that’s great.
A lot of people are really supportive of what I have done. And that’s helped me a lot. There are some that try to discourage you, saying things like “You’ll go broke when you do this film.” And I think that’s a good thing. They want you to get into the thing anyway. And I respect that.
What’s your advice to aspiring film producers?
It is very important to be passionate about your film. I didn’t make a film when I graduated, I got into film when I was 25 or 26. I didn’t want to make another film. It was like a lifelong dream. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. It happened because I
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