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David Puttnam

Screen legends provide a platform for young filmmakers

Screen legends provide a platform for young filmmakers

05 March, 2019

Source: Griffith Film School News

Screen legends provide a platform for young filmmakers

Oscar-winning film producer Lord David Puttnam and the late, great ABC cameraman John Bean are the driving force behind two scholarships for aspiring filmmakers at Griffith.

Griffith Film School graduates Dan Hodgson and Shay-Lee Smith will get the opportunity to hone their craft alongside the country’s top camera crews after winning the ABC John Bean ACS Memorial Scholarship.

Fellow graduate Chris Saurdal received the inaugural Lord Puttnam Scholarship for Producers, which will allow him to learn from the best and gain entry into the global film industry with fully-funded trips to the prestigious South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival and Cannes Film Festival.

All three filmmakers will embark on a Master of Screen Production at Griffith Film School, partially funded by the scholarships.

A fitting tribute

The John Bean Memorial Scholarship for Cinematography was established in memory of Griffith University alumnus and ABC cameraman John Bean, who died in a helicopter accident in 2011.

The scholarship provides a meaningful partnership between the ABC and Griffith that enhances the local industry and helps the next generation of cinematographers find new and exciting ways of telling stories through film.

It includes an intensive 6-week internship with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is designed to support the ongoing study of a talented postgraduate student in the field of cinematography.

Head of Griffith Film School, Professor Herman Van Eyken

Head of Griffith Film School, Professor Herman Van Eyken, said the scholarship was a fitting tribute to John Bean, one of the ABC’s most respected camera operators.

“John dedicated considerable time over many years encouraging students to pursue excellence in cinematography.

It is fitting that our students will have the opportunity to work closely alongside John’s colleagues to further her passion and professionalism behind the camera,” he said.

Griffith Film School Head of Cinematography Erika Addis said the scholarship would help the budding filmmakers build a body of work that would help launch their professional careers.

“Like so many artistic pursuits, cinematography demands total dedication and years of practice,” she said.

“Winning the scholarship means that Dan and Shay-Lee can focus all their energies on their studies and take up more shooting opportunities while completing the Masters degree.

Developing the next generation of filmmakers

Dan Hodgson said the scholarship would provide an opportunity to further develop his technical skills and establish a network of industry mentors.

A student filmmaker holding camera in the middle of desert like road

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop my craft by surrounding myself with the right teachers, peers and mentors,” he said.

Dan graduated from the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production in 2016, and is keen to use the scholarship to pursue a career as a documentary filmmaker.

“Since graduating, I’ve have discovered how difficult it can be to stay on a niche pathway like documentary filmmaking,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of corporate work and music videos, but nowhere near as many documentaries as I had hoped.

“I believe this scholarship will help me build a bridge to where I want to go, and I’m ready to give it 110%.”

Students prepping camera to go on a shoulderFellow Bachelor of Film and Screen Production graduate Shay-Lee Smith said she was overwhelmed to have won the scholarship.

“My long-term goal is to shoot long-form drama, but I’m keen to try and everything – web series, music videos, short films,” she said.

“The course will give me the chance to develop my show reel and explore different styles and formats.”

Shay-Lee said she was also pleased that the industry was opening up to young female cinematographers.

“Cinematography has traditionally been a bit of a boys club and there aren’t many female cinematographers in Brisbane, so I’d love to be part of a new wave of filmmakers.”

Oscar-winner nurtures next generation of producers

Griffith Film School graduate Chris Saurdal won the inaugural Lord Puttnam Scholarship for Producers.Griffith Film School graduate Chris Saurdal a winner of the Inaugural Lord Puttnam Scholarship for Producers.

Oscar-winning producer Lord David Puttnam CBE, has a long-standing relationship with Griffith Film School. He regularly visits GFS to deliver lectures and masterclasses on everything from movies and money, the use of sound and music and the evolving role of the author and producer.

Chris, who moved from Norway to attend Griffith Film School, said the scholarship would enable him to undertake further study, and pursue his dream of becoming a feature film producer.

“The scholarship was announced at one of Lord Puttnam’s masterclasses, and it came as a big surprise,” he said.

“This has had a huge impact on my life – doing the Masters will help me get a foot in the door of an industry that is hard to break in to.”

Chris said he was keen to emulate producers like Lord Puttnam.

“Producing is my passion – I love working with the creatives and making sure their vision becomes a reality.”

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