In a time where the entertainment industry is suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Swinburne graduates are producing screen content around the world that is being recognised and praised.
Dr Vincent Giarrusso is a lecturer in Film and Television at Swinburne and says that entertainment is ‘one of the toughest industries on Earth’.
‘Not only do our film and television graduates have to fight for scant jobs in the industry, they have to apply for diminishing opportunities for funding in the film and television sector,’ he says.
Despite the challenging environment, Swinburne graduates of the Bachelor of Film and Television have recorded a number of successes in recent months, including winning prizes and working on impressive projects.
Success on the festival circuit
One 2010 graduate who has achieved great success is writer and director Jason Raftopoulos, who has secured international funding and will begin production on his new feature film, Voices in Deep, in Greece.
The film tells the story of a tragedy at sea, which connects the lives of an Australian humanitarian and two orphaned refugees as they fight for survival in the Greek capital Athens.
Many Swinburne graduates have premiered films and won prizes at film festivals this year, including San Francisco’s Frameline film festival, Byron Bay Underground Film Festival, Nantucket Film Festival, WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, Flickerfest, Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and St Kilda Festival.
In May, Ez Eldin Deng, a South Sudanese film and music video director, producer and writer who graduated in 2013 opened his 40-day exhibition ‘A Journey Back in Memory’ at Sunshine Art Spaces Gallery in Victoria. Presented during Refugee Week, the images explore the tension that exists for traditional belief systems that exist within Western culture.
Getting a foot in the door
Beginning projects and ‘getting a foot in the door’ can be the most challenging part of the industry according to Dr Giarrusso.
2012 graduate, Jay Morrissey of Hot Dad Productions, has overcome this and received funding from Screen Australia for a new seven-part comedy web series. The Emu War, inspired by the almost unbelievable true story of when Australia declared war on the emu population in 1932. Once completed, it will be available on YouTube.
Graduate from the 2019 cohort, AP Pobjoy has been selected for one of two Victorian Screen Development Internships, which aim to overcome traditional barriers to entering the industry and fast-track career progression by giving interns exposure to various parts of the film process from Film Victoria, the ABC and Fremantle or Princess Pictures.
‘I am thrilled to be a part of an internship that will not only excel my goals of being inside the development space but will also support my identity too. I can't wait to start and help get the stories that matter to me out there and learn from some of the best,’ AP says.
Two 2017 Swinburne graduates are also behind the scenes of Network 10’s third season of the hit comedy ‘How to Stay Married’: Costume Supervisor Joshua Galbraith and Costume Buyer Clayton Waddell.
Despite the pandemic and the difficulties many are facing, ‘Swinburne Film and Television graduates are finding their way and punching above their weight in the screen industries,’ Dr Giarrusso says. ‘Pandemic? What pandemic?’