Budding filmmakers from around Australia are being encouraged to enter their work in the Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA), the only competition of its kind for high school students in the country.
Entries close on October 7 for the awards, now in their 20th year, which have uncovered some of Australia's best young talent, including last year's overall winner, Thomas Evans, who has accumulated a staggering 15 million views on his YouTube channel for his ‘Adventures of Lego Minecraft’ series.
The Brisbane local, whose prize included a full scholarship to study Film and Television at Bond University on the Gold Coast, said entering the awards had been life changing.
His animations Against the Sky and The Walk were among the 18 short films recognised from 170 entries from across Australia, and took out the top gong in a number of categories including Overall Winner, Best Sound, Best Cinematography and Best Experimental Film.
"I'm trying to get as much experience as I can through networking and working on other short films while I’m at Bond. The experience I’ve gained already in my first semester has been invaluable and I look forward to practicing more writing, live action filmmaking, and different types of animation while I’m here," said Thomas.
"I'm also working on a new series of Lego Minecraft-related shorts, using official sets the Lego company sent based on the videos that I entered into BUFTA.
"I'm experimenting with introducing dialogue and telling a larger scale story with more complex animation; I’m already putting a lot of what I’ve observed from my studies into practice."
Thomas said his best advice for young students dreaming of a career in film and television was to 'make something and enter' BUFTA.
"The problem a lot of creative people run into is that they won’t settle for one idea and they’ll keep doubting which direction they want to go in. Ideas are all well and good, but I’ve found that they’re not especially important – what’s important is that you stick to one, even if it’s simple, and just make something out of it. Every time I make something new, I have to keep reminding myself that," he said.
"Deadlines are important and BUFTA provides a great opportunity for this. There is a fantastic reward up for grabs, and a hard due date to go with it. Keep that deadline in mind and finish your film in time for it. Whether you win or not isn’t necessarily important, it’s just an extra incentive, a possible bonus reward at the very end. Now you can show your film to people, and once you’ve pressed the ‘submit’ button, the sense of accomplishment should be worth the work on its own."
Bond University Director of Film and Television Associate Professor Dr Michael Sergi encouraged any young students thinking about a career in film and television to enter the awards.
"BUFTA is a great platform to showcase, and receive national recognition, for your work," he said.
"With the standard of entries high, it is also a good opportunity to challenge yourself.
"The films that have taken out awards in recent years have been so impressive that we've really had to stand back and appreciate the fact they have been produced by students who are still in high school.
"We are looking forward to seeing more amazing short films this year."
Students can enter films into a number of categories including animation, comedy, documentary, drama, experimental and music video.
The best Overall Filmmaker will receive a full scholarship to study a Bachelor of Film and Television at Bond University, with a range of other prizes including subject scholarships and Videopro vouchers awarded to category winners.
For further information on this year's BUFTA, visit www.bufta.com.au