David Bakum is a fourth year Theatre and Film student who has been able to attend Film Festivals across Europe from Berlin to Venice. Trying to gain as much work experience as possible, he says that the support from lecturers at QMU has been vital in giving him the space to pursue these unique opportunities which has helped him develop industry contacts and even meet the film director Céline Sciamma.
David tells us more about his experience of being a final-year student on the BA (Hons) Theatre and Film at QMU, exploring different film festivals across Europe and his experiences living and studying in Edinburgh.
What were you doing before coming to QMU?
Before I came to QMU, I worked at a municipal theatre in Germany for one year as part of a Federal Voluntary Year. I mainly worked in the youth theatre department and got deep insights into the running of a theatre. I was able to carry out various tasks throughout the year, including supporting several amateur theatre groups, researching material for plays of the professional ensemble, organising a youth theatre festival and administrative work.
Why did you choose to study at QMU?
I think it was because I didn't have to choose between my passions for theatre and film but also because it sounded like a very welcoming university. It seemed like it wasn’t so much about auditioning or being expected to bring a lot to the course. It was more about coming here to actually learn and to grow, I didn’t need to be ‘ready’ or ‘finished 'as an actor by the time I started the course.
What are your favourite things about Edinburgh?
Edinburgh, to me, is one of the most beautiful cities that I know. It feels smaller and calmer than the area where I come from in Germany, and yet I know that there is everything I need here: great galleries, bookstores that make me curious and picturesque beaches. I love how I always fall in love with the city all over again whenever I go for a walk.
Have you used any of QMU’s support services like the Effective Learning Service?
I have used many of the various support services at QMU. In my first year, I took an Academic Writing Course at the Effective Learning Service and participated in several events for international students. Since my first year, I regularly contact the Employability Centre for help with my CV and LinkedIn profile. Moreover, I took advantage of the resources at the Counselling and Disability Services.
What else are you involved in at QMU?
I have been involved in the QMU Film Society since its founding in my first year, as a member and committee member, and since September 2022 as the president. I'm a class rep for my course, am a Student Ambassador and Student Champion, I am also a member of the Subject Advisory Panel for MCPA.
How have you found the support from the lecturers?
The lecturers encourage and support students to do things that will enhance their studies. There’s always enough space to let us explore things related to our degree, as well as an element of flexibility as to how we get course work done.
The staff at QMU have been so important in making this experience special - my programme leader in particular. I don’t think my course would have been the same if they weren’t so willing to provide me with such excellent support.
How did you get started attending film festivals across Europe?
“It all started with the Edinburgh Short Film Festival in 2019. One of my lecturers said that we should volunteers. It was the first film festival I ever attended. I volunteered there and then Covid stopped festivals for a few years. However, after that I applied for Berlinale in Germany and I managed to volunteer there. It’s really all grown and kept going since then.
What do you hope to do after graduation?
After my graduation, I would like to stay at QMU for a master's degree in Global Film Industries.