Univ Dates: 2008-2011
Degree: BA Physics
Degree Level: Undergraduate
Occupation: Filmmaker, Twice Cut Films
Biography: While at Univ Oliver was a First VIII rower and President of UCBC. In his second year he did an internship in Global Markets at Deutsche Bank. After the nine week programme, where Oliver was exposed to several areas of the business, he was offered a place on the graduate scheme after graduation. On the graduate programme Oliver was given training in all aspects of financial markets. He then underwent four one month long rotations with different teams around the bank. He settled in the commodities credit group, a team that structured complex debt transactions and managed the bank’s credit exposure to its commodities counterparties. After two years, he moved to the Rokos Family Office, where he was a key member of a small team supporting Chris Rokos, the world renowned global macro trader. This role involved building models for financial risk management and robust systems in preparation for a hedge fund launch (which took place in November 2015).
Since March 2015, Oliver has aimed to apply the skills learned from working in finance to film production (leaving finance fully in June 2015). He founded Twice Cut Films with Drew Gepp (Worcester, 2006), and has produced two short films to date: Ferried, written by Drew and about loneliness in older people, made with the support of Age UK and Silver Line and funded, in part, through a partnership with Vauxhall Cars which Oliver secured; and Symptoms, about a doctor’s final practical exam, which was nominated for Best British Narrative Short at Leeds International Film Festival and has been selected to screen at many more. Oliver is producing two further short films in 2016 and is developing a slate of feature-length films with Drew.
Did you have any particular expectations before coming to Univ?
I knew that everyone would be smart and I thought it would be fun, but hard work. I knew people that had been to Oxford but not really contemporaries or people I knew well, so I was coming in without many real preconceptions. Of course you see Oxford presented in the media, on TV, but I knew to take that with a pinch of salt, because that tends to show what people want to see rather than the deeper reality.
Did anyone in particular inspire you during your time at Univ?
There wasn’t really any one person, it was more the whole ethos of College that inspired me; everyone was just so smart and wanting to push people forward and I really enjoyed that momentum.
Did you know what you wanted to do after Univ?
When I was in first year Tom Burkin was in the third year doing Physics and was in the Boat Club and he had secured a job at Deutsche Bank. I had always wondered what it would be like to work in finance and so, speaking to him, he suggested I apply for summer internships in my second year, which I did, but in a different area to Tom. He offered me a job after my graduation and that’s how I ended up in finance; in a way I suppose it was more of an accident than a plan based on any kind of judgement.
But after four years in finance I realised I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would and I decided to move in to film. I’m totally unqualified but I met Drew Gepp who had been at Worcester College and we just got talking and decided to make this short film. One thing led to another and it has all snowballed from there.
Do you have a fondest memory from Univ?
Any time during Summer VIIIs or Torpids; any rowing memory really. Possibly the last one though where we got bumped by Wolfson College right on the line – I knew it was probably the last time I would ever row, but still a great memory. Of course Boat Blub is always a great way of keeping alumni in touch too. I’d absolutely encourage anyone coming to Univ to get involved.
How important do you think the Young Univ Gallery is?
It’s really good because the careers you might be most exposed to at university won’t be for everyone; it’s great to show that there are other possible paths out there. Just hearing what other people have done is important and Univ has been very good at bringing people back; this is a really good way of opening it up and showing those available paths.