2011 Graduate Awards

BY SIMON SMITH

VCA award winning graduate filmmakers Luran Xiao (left) and Florence Holmes (right)

For nearly a decade, the NFSA has demonstrated its commitment to supporting Australia’s next generation of filmmaking talent by its ongoing sponsorship of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) School of Film and Television Graduate Screening Awards night.

At a packed cinema at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne, another frantic year of student film production officially concluded with exhausted but excited VCA graduates getting an opportunity to relax and celebrate their achievements. New Head of School David Price kept proceedings moving swiftly, following an initial address by the guest speaker, television comedian Shaun Micallef. Amongst some very funny digs at what potentially awaits graduating students preparing for life in the industry, Micallef humorously recalled his near-instantaneous rejection by the VCA selection panel upon his application for a place in the School’s editing course two decades earlier.

The NFSA had previously sponsored the award for the Best Masters By Coursework (Documentary), with Jacqui Lothian’s The Honourable Peter Garrett (2009) the most recent recipient. In 2010, Luran Xiao accepted the Best Graduate Diploma Production Animation gong for her thoughtful anti-smoking tale Cigar Right? This year, the NFSA offered the prize to the Most Outstanding Overall Undergraduate Student, won by Florence Holmes. Florence was delighted to accept the award, which acknowledged both her own graduate film Beauty and her work on other student films during the year, including editing Jonathan Leahy’s NORTHKIDS, the film which closed the Awards night screening, also winning the major award for the Best Production of 2011.

Florence Homes accepting her award from Shaun Micallef, ACMI Cinema 2, Melbourne, 7 Dec 2011

Florence Homes accepting her award from Shaun Micallef, ACMI Cinema 2, Melbourne, 7 Dec 2011

For emerging filmmakers producing high quality audiovisual output within often very limited personal financial resources, small cash prizes can go a long way towards assisting with current and future projects.'Winning the NFSA Best Graduate Diploma Production Animation last year means a lot to me. This is the first award Cigar Right? received and has been such a great starting point to encourage me to do better. The cash prize provided by the NFSA enabled me to attend the International Animation Day in Brisbane this October’, said Luran Xiao. Florence Holmes was equally effusive, stating that her prize money would 'go towards buying a desktop computer with a tower that I can use exclusively for editing. I’ll be working freelance initially and need to improve my home set-up.’

HDCam video masters of both winners’ films have been supplied to the NFSA, continuing an ongoing relationship with the VCA School of Film and Television to acquire and preserve past students’ productions, dating back to their earlier incarnation as a faculty at the Swinburne Institute of Technology.

The NFSA congratulates Luran and Florence for their awards and wishes the 2011 graduating students well in their future production endeavours.