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Why I chose to study Film Studies at Queen's

Mollie tells us why you don't need to go to a specialised school to study film - you can find everything you need at Queen's.

Choosing which University to attend can be a stressful and challenging decision. If, like me, you want to study drama, film or music it can be easy to convince yourself that you need to go to a specialised university. While these schools could be a good fit for you, it’s important to know that they are not your only option.

There are many reasons why I chose film studies at Queen’s, including its location in one of the most creative cities in the UK, its world-class facilities and the structure of my course to name a few.

Belfast is a creative city

Northern Ireland has solidified its place as an industry hotspot. Many well-known productions are filmed here, such as Derry Girls, The Fall, Game of Thrones, Line of Duty and the new Enchanted movie. Its growing popularity isn't surprising. Northern Ireland is home to beautiful landscapes, locals with a unique sense of humor and a wide pool of young talent. 

A range of companies, from the BBC to Disney and even Netflix have landed in Belfast and opened up a world of opportunities for students. The city is home to three major filming studios: The Harbour, Titanic, and Loop Studios. Harbour studios even recently became home to a Netflix series starring Charlize Theron, The School for Good and Evil. And you might recognise Queen’s from scenes in the hit BBC One show Bloodlands. Other upcoming productions based in Belfast include Liam Neeson’s new movie Land of Saints and Sinners and the Dungeons and Dragons film.

Even outside of major studio filming, people with film skills are always in demand in Belfast. There are multiple Facebook groups with hundreds of people advertising work every week. Some roles will be paid and some won't, depending on the size of the production but every bit of work will help you gain experience for your future career.

The Queen’s Film Theatre  

The Queen’s Film theatre looks small from the outside, but it's actually home to two full-size cinema screens and the Brian Friel Theatre. This is the main department used on campus for film lectures. The cinema rooms are lecture halls by day and by night it turn into a real-life theatre with concession stands and ticket booths.

The building has a seminar room, rehearsal spaces, changing rooms and green rooms. There's even a beautiful foyer where students meet up to discuss their group projects and people can wait for their movie to begin.

You’ll learn all the skills you need 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my modules over the past two years, but there are a few that have stood out. Last term, I took a cinematography module where I got the opportunity to work with other students on a short film. This allowed me try different roles, such as writing and producing. The video below is the film we made, which I wrote and produced.

 This term, I’m taking part in a screenwriting module that will help me further build skills. The highlight of this module so far was when our lecturer invited an industry professional to talk to us about what it takes to write a screenplay. The expert was none other than screenwriter Rob Burnett, who wrote the Netflix movie The Fundamentals of Caring (Starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez). We could ask Burnett questions and he told us anecdotes of his time on set. It was crazy hearing him refer to Paul Rudd as casually as “Paul”. But the most surreal part was when he told us that Timothee Chalamet auditioned for the lead role years before his large commercial success.

Queen’s offered me exactly what I was looking for 

There were obvious practical reasons for my decision to go to Queen's; it was closer to home, cheaper and felt safer than London. But the main reason for my choice was because it allowed me to study exactly what I wanted, a mix of Theatre and Film.

My main goal was always to act on stage or on screen. My course has allowed me to practice my skills while broadening my horizons and learning about other aspects of the film and theatre sector. In doing so I found that I have a knack for writing and organising sets for short films. I’ve met amazing people interested in the same things as me and will always have these connections if I ever need help on a project.

Queen’s is an excellent school with a good reputation, high-end facilities and a good community. But most importantly to me, and maybe for you, it is an excellent place to study film studies.  

Mollie Egan-Crossan

Film and Theatre Making | Second Year | Donegal, Ireland

I spent most of my life in the beautiful, but small town of Lifford in Donegal. At the age of 12 I made the switch to Derry~Londonderry where I attended St. Mary’s College. I was always interested in the more creative subjects at school like MIA, Art and Design and Drama. I carried this on into my time at university by deciding to combine two of my passions into my degree. I am now the second-year course representative for Film and Theatre making and I’m an avid participant in the Queen’s Musical Theatre Society. I have even applied for the chance to study abroad - fingers crossed!


Find out more

School of Arts, English and Languages

Queen's Film Theatre

Art and Culture

Photo: Mollie Egan-Crossan
Mollie Egan-Crossan
BA, Film and Theatre Making