News & Media




“Ben’s great break”

Budding filmmakers looking for their big break are invited to follow in the footsteps of Ben Griggs, who has launched an international career after winning Australia’s only dedicated high school film competition. Entries are now open to Year 11 and 12 students for the Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA), a renowned platform for aspiring young filmmakers to showcase their work.

Ben, 20, said being awarded Best Overall Filmmaker at BUFTA in 2013 had greatly helped him kickstart his career. His comedic film Nutcase was one of just 52 short films from around the world to be shown at the New York Shorts International Film Festival in the US in May. “I didn’t expect Nutcase to be accepted because the New York Shorts is such a prestigious event, so to have it screened during the festival was very exciting,” Ben added.

Ben will graduate from Bond University next semester, after being awarded a full scholarship to study film and television as part of his prize for taking home BUFTA’s Overall Filmmaker award. His career is moving ahead rapidly with Ben creating his own production company this year following an internship at a post-production company in Brisbane. He said winning BUFTA had paved the way for a career in film. “My high school teacher entered my film in BUFTA and I’m so lucky that she did as the competition has proven to be an invaluable opportunity in opening many doors for me,” he said. “As a high school student, it is a fantastic chance to showcase your work on the big screen and meet other young filmmakers who share your passion. “Starting my career with a scholarship to study film and television at Bond not only helped to improve my filmmaking skills, but taught me hands-on professionalism and how the film industry truly works. It means when I’ve had opportunities to work on industry productions I’ve always felt confident and well-prepared.”




“Mako Mermaids creator returns to Gold Coast to film new children’s TV series about fairies and elves”

The man behind international hit children’s TV series Mako Mermaids and H20 Just Add Water, Jonathan M. Shiff, will begin filming a new tale, The Bureau of Magical Things, on the Gold Coast today.

The 20-part series, to be filmed in a purpose-built studio at Arundel and on location on the Coast and in Brisbane through to December, is expected to create more than 200 cast and crew jobs and inject more than $8.5 million into the local economy.

The backbone of the local film and TV industry before Disney and Marvel began making blockbuster movies on the Coast, world renowned producer Shiff has helped uncover Hollywood stars including Liam Hemsworth and Margot Robbie (The Elephant Princess).

Shiff said he was delighted to be filming on the Coast again.

“It is fantastic to be bringing back another local high-quality children’s series which showcases the enormous talent and beautiful locations of southeast Queensland,” he said.

“Most importantly, it is vital to bring Australian children their own stories at a time when Australian kids’ TV is so under threat.’

The Bureau of Magical Things boasts an all-Queensland cast including Coast actors Mia Milnes and Rainbow Wedell, playing ‘gorgeous’ fairies, and real-life siblings Elizabeth and Julian Cullen, who play brother and sister elves.




“Emily virtually always on go”

It has been a rocketship ride for Emily Tate, the daughter of Mayor Tom and wife Ruth, since she graduated from Bond University’s Film and Television School in 2015. Since then she has worked with fellow Gold Coaster Margot Robbie on Suicide Squad as a stunt production assistant. That was followed by work on Ghost in the Shell, a sci-fi drama starring Scarlett Johansson.

However, what has really grabbed Emily’s interest is a VR (Virtual Reality) film she worked on with fellow Bond graduate Harrison Norris. “It was Harrison’s idea. He pitched it to the Suicide Squad producers to do a VR shoot with a special head-mounted camera which he devised to give viewers a sense of what it was like to actually be in the film. “It ended up being shown at the Cannes Film Festival, which was wonderful.




“Gold Coast movie stunt veteran Guy Norris’ son Harrison leads VR project success on Suicide Squad”

An aspiring young Gold Coast film director is riding high, thanks to a big break while working on Hollywood blockbuster, Suicide Squad. 

Bond University Bachelor of Film and Television graduate, Harrison Norris spent most of last year in Toronto, working on the set of the film which stars Margot Robbie and Will Smith.

The 20-year-old, then just 19, started as part of the stunt pre-production crew, roped in by his father Guy who was the movie’s action unit director.

The budget was almost a $1 million and has resulted in what Mr Horwitz said was a cutting edge VR experience. But when highly-regarded co-producer Andy Horwitz, whose credits include American Hustle, realised Norris Junior had a passion for virtual reality, he put him in charge of running a side project to help promote the film.

The Suicide Squad VR experience which lets users experience scenes from the perspective of Robbie, Smith or other lead characters, was simultaneously released with the movie last month and has been sold to Samsung which offers it for use via its Samsung VR app.

Mr Horwitz, speaking from Los Angeles, said the movie-making experience of Norris Junior outstripped his age and the Suicide Squad VR project had become “the Harrison show”.

“He’s ahead of where most people are doing with VR right now,” he said.

Norris Junior roped in fellow Bond University graduate and classmate Emily Tate to help research and develop a head-mounted VR camera — called the Mobius — which was worn by Robbie and Smith for the project.

Now Norris Junior has formed a company called PROXi Cinematic VR which specialises in creating VR content and has work contracted so far with big movie studios Warners Brothers, Paramount and DreamWorks.




“BUFTA: Canberra filmmaker wins best direction, best screenwriting awards”

An aspiring filmmaker from Canberra has taken out two gongs at a film and television awards ceremony recognising young and emerging talent in Australia.

Mike Ridley, 18, won best direction for his films Alternate and A Moment’s Grace and best screenwriting for A Moment’s Grace at the Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA) at the weekend.

The Canberra Grammar School student said he was honoured his work was recognised as award-worthy.

I’m pretty stoked,” he said on Tuesday.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting to win those ones [categories]. It’s really satisfying and I’m just really happy and overwhelmed I suppose.

“It was pretty amazing going up and accepting the awards.”

Mr Ridley said winning the awards further cemented his aspirations of pursuing a career in filmmaking.

Alternate tells the story of a boy who lives two alternate lives– one is a nerd and the other a social party-goer. One day their worlds collide and they meet.

A Moment’s Grace explores the story of a teenager who kills his best friend through drink-driving.

Mr Ridley said his love of filmmaking first began when his father taught him how to make stop-motion animation using clay figures.

He made his first film when he was about 12 years old.

The awards at the weekend were presented by Oscar-winning Australian “clayographer” Adam Elliott, best known for his animation film Harvie Krumpet.

Thomas Evans from Corinda State High School in Queensland won the overall best film maker award.

Bond University director of film and television Associate Professor Michael Sergi said the 19th annual BUFTA had been one of the biggest and most successful yet.

“More students are becoming aware of it and realising that BUFTA is a great opportunity for them to kickstart their career in film and television,” he said in a statement.




The BUFTA 2011 Category Award Winner for Animation, Sam Alderson of Elwood Secondary College in Victoria, was interview by Matt (Parko) Parkinson on ABC774 in Victoria for his success in creating the surreal film “Pluto” .

Inspired by a number of songs “Pluto” is the story of a woman traveling through space when she gets sent a confusing SOS message and follows co-ordinates to a planet to investigate. Upon arrival she is captured by two robots with identical heads to her, she is then taken to an enormous palace filled with hundreds of these robots with their mysteries headless leader. She passes out and awakes to find herself back out in the desert planet and is shortly confronted by an enormous slug-like creature that towers above her. Just in time she is saved by the sender of the SOS message. He helps her find her ship, and shows her the beauty of the universe, nebulae, love. However she is shocked to find out the truth about him.

Sam’s career aspirations extend well beyond his category title win and his ultimate ambition is to pursue a career in making films for animation, music and television.

Well done Sam!




“Matthew is Our Top Talent”

ADELAIDE Year 12 student Matthew Thorne scooped the pool at the Bond University Film and Television Awards on Friday.

The Pembroke student, 18, who already has his own production company, took out three prizes including Best Drama, Best Music Video and the major award for Best Overall Filmmaker.

This secures Matthew a full scholarship to study film and TV at Bond University valued at $91,680. It’s understood that he’s the first SA contestant to win the overall prize at the prestigious awards, which is the nation’s most significant short film competition for secondary students.

Expect to hear a lot more from this young filmmaker.




“Local Filmmaker Shoots for The Stars”

ADELAIDE Year 12 student Matthew Thorne is a believer in starting out young.

The Pembroke student, 18, already has his own production company, is an accomplished singer, and now has his work on a national stage.

Matthew is a finalist in the Bond University Film and Television Awards – the nation’s most significant short film competition for secondary students.

He was named in three categories – best drama, best music video and the Dean’s Choice Award.

“The BUFTAs are a fantastic opportunity for kids my age to get their films out there,” Matthew said.

The winners will be announced on the Gold Coast today. If selected as the best overall filmmaker, Matthew will receive a scholarship to study film and television at Queensland’s Bond University.



BUFTA entrant and eventual category winner, Jordan Geizer, uploaded his film “Raindrop” to Youtube and received such a massive number of hits that he was featured on Channel 7 News.

Congratulations go to Jordan, who won an encouragement award at the 2011 BUFTAs for his music video “Raindrop” that featured a beautiful piano solo sung by Emily Bristow.

Here is Jordan’s category award winning clip on Youtube, which gained a mammoth 100,000 hits within days of its release!



“Buffs Bond at BUFTAs”

Director of Film and Television at Bond University Michael Sergi, past winner Jake Brown and actor and film awards presenter Paul Bishop will be at the film awards ceremony on November 25 at Bond University’s Princeton Room.

MOVIE buffs and couch potatoes everywhere will be excited to hear the future of Australian film and television is in safe hands when it comes to finalists for the Bond University Film and Television Awards (BUFTA) for 2011.

The BUFTAs, which began in 1996, is an Australia-wide short film competition sponsored by Bond University, Videopro Business Centreand the Gold Coast City Council.

BUFTA is open to students in Years 11 and 12 and boasts a reputation as one of the most rewarding competitions in the Southern Hemisphere. Students are required to apply in one of six categories ranging from music video to comedy and are in the running to win one or more of the eight prizes.  The major prize winner will be awarded a full scholarship to study film and television at Bond University, valued at $90,000.

Matthew Thorne, 18, of PembrokeSchool in Adelaide said his film, Tubby, was based on the story of a classmate affected by cancer.  “Tubby came about after one of my close friends Maddy Smith, who had recently lost her grandfather to cancer, wrote a touching story about his passing for her English class,” he said.  “Ultimately, I created the film for her and for families dealing with cancer.”  Matthew’s film was recently selected for a Cancer Council Australia publicity campaign.

Matthew, who is the only finalist to have two entries chosen, is hoping his other entry Broken Thoughts will also have a chance.  It is a music video of hip-hop art-ist Clarence Culpe, with an onus on showcasing Adelaide’s scenery as well as the artist himself.

“My love of making film is born from a deep-seated passion for the arts, which has been cultivated by my family and school life,” he said.  Matthew is a creative director who loves the opportunity film-making gives him “to ask for change and to question our accepted reality”.

Past winners of BUFTA Jake Brown and Julie Sam-Yue agreed that the story was the most important aspect in making a film.  “Don’t be a cliche. Blood, guns, death, destruction, crashing is lame,” Jake said.  “Tell a different story. Tell one that has never been told before.  The judges aren’t looking for the prettiest frames, they’re looking  for the best story.”