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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Vancea pursues passion for film

Published: November 8, 2012
Section: Features

Originally from Romania, Paul Vancea ’14 is representative of the diverse multitude of students at Brandeis University, having arrived in the United States six years ago. His family had the ability to come to the United States because they won the visa lottery. In Romania, different families can apply every year to become an American delegate. Each year a few families are interviewed and chosen for the opportunity to be a delegate. Criteria for selection is based upon family situation and motivations behind the move to America.

Vancea is currently majoring in business, economics and film. He chose to major in business and economics because before coming to Brandeis he was incapable of understanding business. Vancea feels that with economics he is “learning a concrete set of skills.” Majors like sociology interest him as well, but do not entail the same concrete skills economics requires.

After a JBS course called Script to Screen, which he took two summers ago, he became interested in film. Vancea prefers to watch non-fiction films, some of which are adaptations from biographies and autobiographies.

When Vancea first arrived on campus, he got involved in Brandeis Television and the program afternoon enrichment, which brings local middle school students to Brandeis. During his first year, he also started Brandeis Health and Fitness club with some of his friends. This current semester, Vancea has cut back on his involvement in clubs due to his current work in film. In addition to his film work, Vancea has two jobs on campus. He worked at Ollies for two years and he began working this year at the Getz Media lab in the library.

His job at Getz media lab involves working with the Experiential Learning groups, designing promotional videos. Working alongside EL fellows to determine their goals for the project, Vancea has also created videos for DCL.

Currently, Vancea is in the process of communicating with Damon Lee from Hollywood to discuss a contract for YouTube videos. Vancea first met Damon Lee last year when he visited a film class on campus, and they have has since been in contact. The premise behind the series is centered on faith. Vancea explains, “It is about a girl who is religious, she reads the bible and goes to church but she is a stripper.”

When discussing his future plans for applying his film and business major, Vancea stated, “I feel like I can do so much with business and film but I always go toward film so I want to spend the summer in Hollywood and see what I like best and either be a producer or an independent filmmaker.”

When asked about the possibility of returning to Romania as a filmmaker, he said, “I would like to go back to Romania if I have a project that interests me, because I have not been back in six years, but only if I have a project that interests me.”

Vancea expressed his excitement about being in the United States, stating, “There are so many opportunities here. When I went to school in Romania, I wouldn’t know what I wanted to do but after college there would be a big blank. Here I still don’t know what I want to do but there isn’t a blank after college. The fact that I go here for basically free because I have almost a full scholarship is really amazing.”

In terms of internships, Vancea expressed his desire to alternate between film, economics or business internships every summer. Last summer he interned at the Albright Stonebridge Group in Washington, D.C. during the months of June and July. Vancea described the experience as “incredible because all the interns had access to the important parts of the company, the chair was down the hall from me and I was able to meet so many new people. It was beginning to get funny because it was like I said we are going on a second date.”

“They did not let you pay, asked things about you and got to know each other. By the end of the summer I came out with a stack of 16 business cards and I still keep in touch with them, some I am friends with on Facebook,” he added.

This coming summer, Vancea is hoping to be put in a position where he can choose between attending a good financial institution or pursuing his passions in Hollywood. Last summer, Vancea began a documentary about Eli Segal, for whom the Segal Citizen Leadership Program is named after, which funded his summer internship.

His favorite part of making movies is coming up with the idea and collecting a group of people to make it happen. Despite his confession that he does not adore the filming process itself, he does enjoy the editing process: “I like the beginning, middle and end.”