Gabi Kaziukonyte

Students & Alumni. Film and Television Production.

Gabi graduated from our BA (Hons) Film and Television Production in 2020, and now works as Senior VFX Co-ordinator with Cambridge-based visual effects studio Vine FX.

What have you been doing since graduating from ARU?

I actually started with Vine while I was still at ARU. I did a two-week internship there. All I did was look through the assemblies of the projects that had been coming in and spotting any work that might come our way. Then after graduating and through lockdown I kept in touch with them, and they offered me a full time position as a Production Assistant.

I joined them in September 2020 and in February the following year was promoted to VFX Co-ordinator. Then I was promoted again in November 2022 to Senior VFX Co-ordinator. The difference now is that I have Junior Co-ordinators working alongside me who I manage, and they help me with the everyday tasks, which can include looking after the team in a more catch-up way or helping me to execute the schedule.

It's been incredible to move up that quickly in the company. I'm very, very lucky and very grateful for that, because I know that especially in the film industry you can get stuck in one role for a very long time.

Did you always know that you would go to university, and if not what changed your mind?
I'm not sure really. When I was younger, I didn't think that I would study film. I was always studying music since I was a very small child, and I chose to study film purely because I didn't want to study music anymore. I got to a level where it was really intense and really theory-based, and I wanted to keep it more as a hobby. So the next thing that popped into my head, because I was studying media studies at the time, was that I really loved making visual content, and I understood it. I thought that would be my next-best thing, because that can also involve music – there are musicals that are absolutely fantastic – so I thought one way or another I can use my music skills in that as well.

I don't know if I ever planned to go to university. Everyone's pushed to go to uni a little bit now, so I think I just took it because I didn't know what else I would do, but it ended up really well for me so I don't regret it.

Gabi Kaziukonyte and other people listening to a speaker

Is there one thing that inspired you to do what you do now?

I think, from a music perspective, you can always find something really interesting in every film. There’s a film called The Social Network – David Fincher, and he uses beats very well for his dialogue, and how his characters come across. I wrote about that film when I tried to get into ARU, because they ask you to write a short essay.

There's also Damien Chazelle, he's one of my favourite directors. He did Whiplash and La La Land. Damien Chazelle's great because he also comes from a music background. He studied music for a long time and then just wanted to make films, so he was a huge inspiration.

What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your education?

I really grew my confidence working on so many different projects because in our course we had to create a minimum of two projects per year and some of them would be by yourself, some of them would be within a team. And so I think working with different people every time or just by myself, it kind of made me work things out and grew my confidence to know that I actually know what I'm doing.

And that's exactly what I did in this job. I went in confident that I could learn and take that information from different people, and I could just try my best and see where I go.

Poster for Interrogation Room film showing man sitting at desk seen from behind.

Which aspects of the course most helped your career development and why?

It was the internship with VineFX I think, apart from learning the basics of filmmaking at ARU. Taking chances on small roles or contributing to small events seemed like it would be a waste of my time whilst I was studying, but following through with the connections I made is ultimately what got me my job at Vine FX. I also learned a lot about the production side of filmmaking and the role of a producer.

What was your favourite thing about studying in Cambridge, and what did you learn about the city that you didn’t know before?

I obviously visited Cambridge before as a tourist because Cambridge is a hotspot for it, but when I moved here, I learned a lot, and I'm still learning about Cambridge actually. I feel it changes so quickly.

My favourite thing? I'm not sure. There's a lot of local small businesses that are just absolutely fantastic in Cambridge. There's loads of workshops you can attend. There's loads of people you can get involved, especially on our course. In the third year when you do your major project you have to have a crowdfunder, and get a budget for it, so I myself tried to get small businesses involved with feeding the team even, small things like that. Through that you learn a lot about the city you live in. Some of them were so happy to help.

So it really feels like a micro version of London, because it's big enough to get lost in but it's also small enough for you to make really great connections and be involved in a lot of things. It's also relatively close to London, which is obviously a huge hotspot for the film industry, but I wouldn't like to live in London personally.

Gabi looking into a fish eye lens

What projects have you been involved with at Vine FX, and what are you currently working on?

When I started we did a project called Soulmates, that was on Amazon Prime. Then when I started the full-time job we did The Serpent for BBC, and War of the Worlds for Disney+. We also did The Tourist and SAS Rogue Heroes for BBC, and we're now working on The Witcher season three for Netflix. So that's really exciting.

We also just did a talk for the third years of the course I attended at ARU, which was a weird experience for me because it was kind of nostalgic but being on the other side now it was very reassuring for me. I was sat on the other side of the room only three years ago, and now I'm here on the presenting side, which was really interesting and I really enjoyed that, and we've had good feedback from the students.

Vine FX Showreel 2022

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