History and Film Personal Statement Example

My interest in history has always been closely linked with a passion for storytelling. A childhood obsession with stories about knights and pirates has grown into enthusiasm for cultural history and the origins and impacts of historical narratives.

Studying History, Art and German Literature as my core subjects in sixth form was instrumental to my decision to study History and Film. Both the historical contextualisation of art and the analysis of visual storytelling connect these three fields and my interest in these intersections helped me excel in all three of my core subjects. For the past three years, this enjoyment of an interdisciplinary approach to History has also shown itself in my creative work.

In 2017, I created a short film exploring the ancient history of Palmyra and submitted this film to the European Competition, where it was awarded the best work in the media category. This inspired me to take part in a Film Academy summer course with Oxford Royale Academy, where I learned much about the basics of film production. That the understanding of different shots and uses of perspective that this experience helped me acquire has been incredibly helpful not only in relation to film but also in literary analysis and the examination of propaganda.

Being part of a British university environment was also valuable, as I had decided early on that I wanted to study in the UK. I was taught history with a somewhat strict focus on Germany and would like to expand my perspective. I grew up speaking English and I have a history of preferring to complete writing assignments in English because I find it pleasant to write in. This preference also influenced my choice to write in English when I began to write a biographical play about the life of the gay Hollywood actor and interior designer Billy Haines.

I was later given the opportunity to direct my sixth form drama course in a full-length production of this play, which gave me the opportunity to develop valuable leadership skills, and a chance to take an active part in the reimagination of history through a lens of visual media. This play, together with a 30-page paper on my process and influences, makes up my Extraordinary Learning Achievement in the Abitur. I tried to take artistic inspiration from the episodic nature of Todd Haynes' film Velvet Goldmine and the precise dialogue I admire in Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories.

These works have influenced me because they utilise historical narratives transformatively to communicate LGBT* history. I believe the telling of queer historical narratives to be of great societal importance and queer history personally interests me. Reading works such as Graham Robb's Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century had me developing a strong interest in queer history predating the beginning of the 20th century. I am also interested in women's history and the way perceptions of gender change over time, specifically in relation to the development of capitalism.

Researching for a paper in which I theorise how Poland's salt mining success in the 15th century may have delayed the Polish witch hunts to the 17th century, introduced me to related texts. Subsequently, I currently am very interested in researching Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, whose complex relationships and lives as pirates also exist at an intersection of queerness, gender and capitalism. Studying history and film is a natural choice for me in terms of my capabilities and interests but also in terms of the work I want to do. I hope to further my research skills and gain the opportunity to work closer with primary sources. I look forward to being able to gain competences in film analysis and production that enable me to make creative, forward-thinking and well-grounded contributions to visual culture and the historical narratives that inform societies.

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Author's Comments

I'm an international student. I applied to Bangor, Aberdeen, UEA, St Andrew and Glasgow with this statement and have had unconditional offers from Bangor and Aberdeen, a conditional offer from St Andrews and a negative from UEA (related to really bad coursework in maths). Still waiting to hear from Glasgow.


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