From day one of the course we took the cameras out and started filming.
I graduated from Auckland University with a BA degree in Film and Television Studies and no idea how to actually operate a camera. I could bore you all to death with the film theory I learnt but what use is that on a film set. I looked at different film schools around Auckland but the New Zealand Film Academy caught my eye because of how hands on its classes are. I’d had enough theory, I wanted to get my hands on a camera. From day one of the course we took the cameras out and started filming. I realised quickly that it doesn’t matter how many books you read or how many films you watch, if you want to work on a film set you need hands on knowledge of the equipment. The New Zealand Film Academy gave me that knowledge. Over the 16 weeks I trained there I learnt how to operate a camera, use a boom and sound mixer, set up lighting for different scenarios, pitch and write a script, budget and schedule a shoot, and many other valuable skills that I will carry with me for my entire career. I am now heading off to Canada to join the film industry there and I go with a confidence I never had before I went to the Film Academy. My 16 weeks there were an incredible experience and I look forward to adding to the skills I’ve gained.
The contacts made and lessons learnt at the NZFA were invaluable!
I attended the NZFA back in 2009 as an international student (May-Oct). Coming all the way from Wales to New Zealand was a daunting but exciting experience – I knew no one! But I had the privilege to meet and work with some great people, fellow students and tutors alike. Having had some minor roles in film back in the UK, the NZFA caught my attention as a hands-on, intensive and practical course that was also conveniently short. It fulfilled my expectations and more. From the get go I was immersed in the fundamentals of filmmaking and had a camera in my hand in the first week. All the tutors were experienced professionals taking time out to teach and I was encouraged to write, something I had never done and now I am writing more than ever! Furthermore I stayed here in NZ and work here too! As well as working for a film and lighting company I work freelance as and have had the privileged and experience of working on feature films, music videos and Television. The contacts made and lessons learnt at the NZFA were invaluable!
Little did I know, that a few short months later I would be… directing a music video for a leading New Zealand artist…
In late 2009 I was having a crisis of faith. I had been telling myself, and everyone I knew, back in Canada that I was going to be a filmmaker. My only problem was that I was making no progress. I had no connections, no motivation, and maybe most important no skills. I was on the verge of giving up when Life gave me a swift kick in the pants. I decided to uproot myself and move half way around the world to do this short 16-week film course in New Zealand that I found online. I thought, “Hey this is a short course where I get to try my hand at every aspect of the film process. If it turns out it’s not for me, well I haven’t wasted years of my life. On the other hand if I like it then I’ve got a head start on everyone else.” Little did I know, that a few short months later I would be using my new found skills and motivation to be directing a music video for a leading New Zealand artist with two of the tutors from the Academy on my crew. Not so bad for someone two months out of film school. With the help of the tutors, who themselves are actual industry professionals, the New Zealand Film Academy gave me a solid foundation to begin my long, arduous, but exciting climb up the back of the colossus that is the film industry.
With my experience and hard work I managed to get a job as a director’s assistant… straight after graduating from the NZFA.
The course at NZFA was a good start for me to learn about the New Zealand way of working in the film industry. I already knew film is what I wanted to do, and back in Germany I had already worked on a successful TV show in several positions before coming over to Auckland. With my experience and hard work I managed to get a job as a director’s assistant on two TV movies, straight after graduating from the NZFA. Throughout my young career I’ve been working as a runner, PA, directors assistant, script/continuity supervisor, production coordinator, in art department and casting.
Alistair van Hattum
From day one I was learning stuff I hadn’t even thought about.
Before studying at NZFA I hadn’t any real experience in film making or the industry. But I knew I wanted to tell stories through films and work in the industry. I entered the class not knowing any more than the extreme basics of media at school. From day one I was learning stuff I hadn’t even thought about. I found having real professionals from the industry come in and teach great. By the end of the course I had gained an extreme amount of knowledge, from writing, lighting, producing, editing, camera work and much more and all from being taught and then physically doing this stuff. It was a full on experience of physical film making as we did everything from ideas and writing to the final excecution of the film. I also learnt what to do and where to go after the course had finished to get work in the industry. I have found it an extreme advantage that I know what I learnt from the course, and to be able to put my name to films I have made has helped to get people to consider me and to get work.
The tutors guide you through every step of the way while giving you great control, freedom and creativity
This course is ideal for those who want to get into the film industry but have no specific field in mind perhaps. It’s a practical and hands on course and is great if you are wanting to understand and learn the art of filmmaking. I took this course back in 2006 and after I finished I’ve made my way up to become a freelance artist and have been working at Weta Digital, Rising Sun Pictures, Park Road Post Production, Digi Post and Sauce. The course will kick start your career with great understandings of the whole production pipeline/filmmaking from start to finish and the rest is all up to you whatever field you want to get into. The tutors guide you through every step of the way while giving you great control, freedom and creativity during the course. I still use what I have learned on this course everyday. It is a hard industry to get into and you really have to work hard if you want work in this industry but once you are in it the reward is huge and you will never regret. All the best for future students.
You meet some amazing talented people in film and tv production, and it feels like an honour to be on set each time.
I had wanted to do film forever, but had already done a degree and post grad diploma so didn’t want to dedicate 2 more years to study. The New Zealand Film Academy was the perfect option for me as it was a concentrated time, it focused on getting its students in to the industry and supported this happening. You get to learn with people from all around the world, gaining wonderful insights in to different cultures and values, as well as different perspectives that help with your approach to film making. The tutors and guest speakers are all industry professionals, so you are learning from the best. After completing I was lucky enough to work as a runner/unit on some amazing short films (one that has recently won an award for best short film at the Berlin Festival),feature films, music videos, tv advertisements and tv productions. It can be long hours and hard work – but not once has it ever felt like it. You meet some amazing talented people in film and tv production, and it feels like an honour to be on set each time. If it wasn’t for the NZ Film Academy I probably would never have lived my dream, and recommend it to everyone.
A must for any aspiring filmmaker.
The NZFA course I would recommend to anyone looking to pursue a career in the industry purely because of the course’s pragmatism. The realities of the NZ industry are spelt out early on, but tools and solutions to breaking in to the industry also are given to you. The contact base I’ve acquired learning from real film people working in the real film industry is one no amount of money could have ever bought, also the reputation I take onto set having graduated from the NZFA puts employers minds at rest, as they know I come prepared and ready to work. A must for any aspiring filmmaker.
The course has given me the drive and skills to contribute at all levels of film production
I would absolutely recommend the school and its courses. As a student, you have access to amazing resources and a great group of educators. The direct interactions with highly skilled industry professionals, who make learning both exciting and accessible, while helping you discover your filmmaking potential [has been] invaluable to my career. Since completing my course I feel confident in my own abilities and have no hesitation working with others. The course has given me the drive and skills to contribute at all levels of film production. Since completing my [6 week] course I have been involved with three very successful short films.
much better than the other longer, more expensive courses I attended in the past.
I found the NZ Film Academy Course to be an excellent overview of the film making industry. The processes and connections they encouraged have become fantastic resource for my current film making and documentary productions. I took the course as a refresher after training at previous film-making institutes and teaching film and animation myself. I found that the course was perfect for this purpose and much better than the other longer, more expensive courses I attended in the past.
Especially as an international student the course can be very valuable
I was part of the NZFA during the 3 month Applied Film and TV Production program in 2007. Since then my career has developed quite a bit and the NZFA program as well, so my comments can be regarded as more in a general character. At the time I started the course I was very new to the whole industry only knowing bits and pieces from my times as a hobby filmmaker. Not surely knowing wether this would be an appropiate job, I took the chance to join this course. Since then I like to look back on my time at NZFA very positively since it helped me to clarify for myself what I want to do. The basic but widespread course allowed me to study further filmmaking schools with increased speed due to the fundamental knowledge I gained here. The small groups and the very friendly and dedicated teachers added to the positive experience. Especially as an international student the course can be very valuable since the approach to filmmaking is in good balance between theory and practical work. Also your personal suggestions or ideas where always taken into consideration. For sure there where some parts that could have been improved but it speaks for itself that after all the years I recall my time at the NZFA as a predominantly positive experience.