AFTRS has stepped up its focus on production with Master of Screen Arts students creating screen stories across all platforms, including feature films.
For the first time, two micro-budget features are to be directed by Masters directing students Kyle Hedrick and Tom Wilson.
As part of the MSA remit for students to find innovative ways to fund their projects and to connect to audience at a time of profound change in distribution and audience habits, both Hedrick and Wilson are crowd funding for their features, via the Australian Cultural Fund crowd-funding platform.
Rowan Woods, Head of Directing at AFTRS, said: “AFTRS Masters graduates now think beyond the calling card short to storytelling on all platforms. From web-series to TV pilots, micro features, VR and interactive storytelling, aimed at production companies, networks, film distributors and the internet fan base. Screen stories that make a difference.”
Kyle Hedrick’s Into The Waves is a feature drama about two brothers who hitchhike across Tasmania to get to their mother’s funeral. Kyle wrote the screenplay and will direct. Cinematographer Burak Oguz Saguner and producer Michael Knott are AFTRS alumni.
Tom Wilson’s The Greenhouse is a queer magic realist drama that documents the tale of Beth Tweedy-Bell, who has discovered a tunnel into the past. Beth uses the past to revisit memories of her outrageous siblings and idiosyncratic gay Mums, but soon the past reveals a more sinister agenda and the family must fight their way out before it swallows them whole. The Greenhouse is a story about alternative families, taking risks and once-in-a-lifetime love. Tom is writer/director and he is working with cinematographer Daniel Bolt, an AFTRS graduate.
Nell Greenwood, Course Leader Masters at AFTRS said: “This is a really exciting step forwards that allows our Masters students to test both their entrepreneurial skill and their craft in making engaging long form stories.
Our recent post-graduate screenwriting students have had real success in the market with long form projects developed in the MA, and now we are offering our other disciplines the same opportunity to test and realise their ideas across features, television drama, web series and interactive projects.”
Masters screenwriting graduate, James Raue’s feature film, Psychoanalysis, which he directed from the script he wrote while at AFTRS, has been selected to screen at multiple international and Australian film festivals, including the New York Independent Film Festival and the Silver Spring International Film Festival. The film has won six film festival awards in the US, Australia and Canada.
Another AFTRS screenwriting graduate Becca Johnstone (Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting 2014) is also achieving success. The TV drama pilot she developed while at AFTRS, Bayou, won the inaugural Australian Writers Guild ‘What Happens Next’ prize, was optioned by Muse Entertainment, along with Cornerstone Pictures, and is currently being packaged with Gersh for the US market.