Each year, the Bond University Film & Television Awards (BUFTA), hosted by the University’s Faculty of Society & Design, is a magnet for incredible young talent from all over Australia. With upwards of 100 entries received each year, the competition is undoubtedly fierce – and this year, Indiana Allen of Perth’s Iona Presentation College took home the top prize. As well as the honour of being BUFTA 2022’s Best Overall Filmmaker, Indiana received a full scholarship to study the Bachelor of Film and Television (CRICOS 063066E) here at Bond.
Now in her first semester, Indiana is settling into life as a Bondy and as part of the University’s tightknit community. We sat down with the scholarship winner and aspiring filmmaker to learn all about her BUFTA journey, the inspiration behind her celebrated short film Scars, and what she’s excited about experiencing at Bond.
How did you hear about the Bond University Film & Television Awards, and why did you decide to enter the competition?
I heard about BUFTA through the media department at my school. I also knew of past students who had entered the competition, and it seemed like such an exciting opportunity to showcase my film. My media teacher encouraged me and the other students in my media class to enter our films into BUFTA.
What inspired you to pursue film and television?
Ever since I was young, I’ve had a love for making films. My favourite thing about filmmaking is definitely telling a story that sticks with people – I think film is such a powerful way of evoking emotion. Studying media in high school also really inspired me to pursue film and television outside of school. Watching other short films that students have created has been so motivating and has given me plenty of inspiration that has taken my passion and love for filmmaking to a whole new level.
What was the inspiration behind your winning film Scars?
I always knew I wanted to create a film that would connect with people on a personal level. Although Scars is a sad story showing pain and grief, I think what is special is that it also highlights the importance of friendship, something that people can universally relate to. I also wanted to create a sense of hope for people who may have lost someone close to them, by showing that strong bonds can’t be broken. This is an important message for people who are struggling with grief to hear, which is why I decided to create Scars.
How long did Scars take to make from start to finish?
The pre-production phase of my film was definitely the longest part of the process. I spent a lot of time working on the script and developing the character, as well as the overall concept of the film. I worked on those aspects for roughly three months before I started production. Then, I shot the entire film over a two-day period, and post-production lasted somewhere between two and three months. It was a very hectic experience, but an exciting film to make.
What challenges did you encounter producing the film? How did you overcome them?
Working with a green screen was a big challenge for me, as I hadn’t done anything quite like it before. I had to make sure I watched the footage back extra carefully after filming a scene with the green screen to make sure I was producing the most authentic and high-quality result. Another challenge was filming the car crash scene. I really wanted to execute this well, so I spent quite a lot of time finessing it. I improvised and changed up the scene a lot throughout the two days of filming. It really helped to watch a few car crash scenes from different films and gain some inspiration from them before I produced mine.
What was the most rewarding part of the BUFTA experience?
Meeting industry professionals and current film and television students was so rewarding. Having the opportunity to watch all of the other films in different genres created by students from all over Australia was very inspiring. I also loved the events that took place during the day, such as the campus tour, and of course, the BUFTA Gala event itself.
What is the most important thing you learned from the BUFTA competition and process?
I learned to have a bit more faith in my film, and to expect the unexpected – you never know what might happen! I also learnt that it is important not to compare your film to someone else’s. It can be tempting to do so, especially when it’s a competition, but ultimately, focusing on your own work and not overthinking is a lesson that I have taken from the BUFTA experience.
What is your favourite film genre and why?
Recently I have started to watch a lot more science fiction and dystopian fiction. As an aspiring filmmaker, dystopian films are very exciting to learn about. I also love filming with green screens, which is why I enjoy watching science fiction and films with a lot of CGI and special effects. On the other hand, I also love comedy and the feel-good aspect of sitcoms.
What is your ultimate career goal?
I know I want to do something in the film industry, as that is where my passion lies. I would love to be a screenwriter and possibly even a director in the future.
Do you have any advice for future BUFTA entrants?
My biggest piece of advice would be to trust your creative instinct, always. What’s really exciting about making a film is the level of creative control you have over every choice you make. Don’t be afraid to change your film along the way. Showing your film to your family and friends and getting feedback is also really helpful, as it’s always good to have another perspective and opinion.
What are you most looking forward to about studying at Bond University?
I am so excited about studying at Bond University as it is such a warm and inclusive place. At BUFTA I met some lovely people, and Bond seems like such a close community. I can’t wait for the opportunities that I know the University is going to provide for me. I am so excited and grateful that I’m going to be studying my dream degree and that I get to do what I love.