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Meet the Toowoomba student who took out BUFTA 2023

Hundreds of high school students from all around Australia, and the world threw their hats in the ring for the 2023 Bond University Film & Television Awards. But it was a teenager from Toowoomba Grammar School who took out the top prize a full scholarship to study a Bachelor of Film and Television (CRICOS 063066E) at Bond University in 2024.

Three weeks on from claiming both the Comedy and Documentary categories as well as Best Overall Filmmaker, we caught up with Benjamin Rosenberg to ask about his passion for film, and what lies ahead. 

BUFTA Winner Benjamin Rosenberg on stage with his trophy.
BUFTA Winner Benjamin Rosenberg on stage with his trophy.

How did you hear about BUFTA, and why did you enter the competition?

I heard about the competition three years ago as one of my friends from year 12 was entering the competition. From there, I learned about the incredible awards and opportunities given out by BUFTA. I’ve only heard good things about Bond, especially their film and television course, so I planned to submit something for the chance to be a part of the BUFTA ceremony.


What was the most rewarding experience you gained from your BUFTA journey?

One of the most rewarding experiences was seeing the Bond students organise and execute the filming of the night. I thought the live filming was excellent and inspiring for me as I am keen to be a part of the behind-the-scenes of BUFTA next year. I also loved watching the other films submitted, as they were all super impressive and were a testament to the things that you can do with a film despite a small budget. Along with this, making my parents proud was (and always will be) a rewarding experience.  

What is your favourite film genre and why?

My favourite film genre would have to be a mix of comedy, horror, sci-fi, and documentary. It’s difficult to choose just one, given the infinite storytelling capabilities of all four genres. The aesthetics and unique styles within these genres have significantly influenced me and the kind of films that I aspire to create or help create in the future.

How long did each of your films Golden Hour and Mitchell take to make from start to finish? Was one more time-consuming than the other, and why?

My documentary Mitchell took around an entire semester last year to create, as Mitchell and I both went in without having a clear plan or structure for the end product. The creation of the short happened organically as I followed Mitchell around, focusing on his abilities and his optimistic view on life. Interviews happened later as we had grown closer as friends, making the interview process more relaxed and informal (which I believe was a huge positive).

Golden Hour, on the other hand, had a clear plan and structure from the beginning. Filming and editing happened concurrently as it sped up the entire process. We only shot for half an hour on Wednesdays and Sundays each week, as that was the only time when everyone was available. The time slot was small as I wanted to shoot the entire project during sunset, which was 4:30 to 5 pm. I would rehearse with the actors on weekends and at lunchtime so that we wouldn’t waste time filming in the afternoon. Other scenes, like the UFO interior scene, were shot in my parent’s garage and the carpark scene was shot late at night. This project took 10 weeks to create as the crew and I had to balance schoolwork and other extracurricular activities.

Watch Benjamin's winning Comedy short film — Golden Hour

What is your ultimate career goal?

My ultimate goal in life is to become a writer/director of feature films. Due to the technological advances in cameras and equipment, this dream has become more accessible to me and many other aspiring filmmakers. We live in exciting and challenging times, and I think it’s the best time, more than ever, to share stories and messages through the medium of film and television.


Do you have any advice/tips and tricks for future BUFTA entrants?

I think it is a good idea to submit more than one film in different categories/genres. This allows judges to see your range as a filmmaker. Also, make what you want to make, don’t overthink it — just be yourself. Make sure to plan ahead regarding what you want to submit to BUFTA (I had set out to create two specific short films at the beginning of the year). Whatever you make will be worthwhile, as learning experiences come naturally when creating art. Try to experiment, and don’t set an incredibly high standard for yourself — no film is completely perfect. Embrace imperfections instead of avoiding them — viewing them as a positive can often make your film more unique and charming.


What are you most looking forward to about starting at Bond University?

I’m very much looking forward to being around like-minded people who are also passionate about filmmaking. I'm keen to get formal training in each aspect of filmmaking as I’ve never had film and television as a subject beforehand. Also, to help out in any way I can on other people’s projects and develop my own student films with the incredible equipment and resources provided by Bond.

Watch Benjamin's winning Documentary short film — Mitchell

What inspired you to pursue film and television?

I distinctly remember my brother showing me the behind-the-scenes DVD of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy when I was 10 years old. Ever since realising films were created through a team of artists and creatives, I’ve wanted to be a part of it in some way. I think the combination of sound and visuals is the best form in which to teach and share stories with an audience. The number of techniques, styles, and potential found within filmmaking is endless, which I find super exciting.


Can you share your inspiration for Golden Hour and Mitchell?

The main inspiration for Golden Hour was old 50’s sci-fi films and TV shows, such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and the original Twilight Zone television series. I was also inspired by Robert Eggars and his film The Lighthouse and Jordan Peele’s Nope. All films and shows I love dearly that I think will inspire me forever. For Mitchell, I was inspired by films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Aftersun and Chris Nolan’s Memento.

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