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Big-screen break for high school film enthusiasts

Budding filmmakers looking for their big break are invited to follow in the footsteps of Ben Griggs, who has launched an international career after winning Australia's only dedicated high school film competition.

Entries are now open to Year 11 and 12 students across the country for the Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA) - a renowned platform for aspiring young filmmakers to showcase their work.

Ben, 20, said being awarded Best Overall Filmmaker at BUFTA in 2013 had greatly helped him kick-start his career.

His comedic film, 'Nutcase', was one of just 52 short films from around the world to be shown at the prestigious New York Shorts International Film Festival in the United States in May.

"I didn’t expect Nutcase to be accepted, because the New York Shorts is such a prestigious event, so to have it screened during the festival was very exciting," said Ben.

Ben will graduate from Bond University next semester, after being awarded a full-scholarship to study film and television as part of his prize for taking home BUFTA's Overall Filmmaker award.

His career is already moving ahead in leaps and bounds, with Ben establishing his own production company this year following a successful internship at a well-respected post-production company in Brisbane. 

He said winning BUFTA had paved the way for a career in film.

"My high school teacher entered my film in BUFTA and I'm so lucky that she did as the competition has proven to be an invaluable opportunity in opening many doors for me," he said.

"As a high school student, it is a fantastic chance to showcase your work on the big screen and meet other young filmmakers who share your passion.

"Starting my career with a scholarship to study film and television at Bond not only helped to improve my filmmaking skills, but taught me hands-on professionalism and how the film industry truly works, so when I’ve had opportunities to work on industry productions I’ve always felt confident and well-prepared."

Bond University Director of Film and Television, Dr Michael Sergi, said BUFTA celebrated new talent from around Australia and provided a unique platform for aspiring filmmakers to chase their ambition and make it a reality.

Dr Sergi said there was no limit to the aspirations or imagination of entrants, with six categories including animation, comedy, documentary, music video, experimental and drama. 

"For more than 20 years BUFTA has been unearthing creative young filmmakers, and giving them fantastic opportunities to start their career by showcasing their work to a broad and enthusiastic audience,” said Dr Sergi.

"There are so many talented young filmmakers coming through high schools right across Australia, and we want to do everything we can to inspire and motivate this next generation of talent to pursue a career in film and television."

Entries for BUFTA are now open to all Year 11 and 12 students and will close on 30 September, with the Gala Awards evening taking place on 25 November.

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