Issue 7
Monday, 22 May 2017
Charles Darwin University
Dr Aurora Scheelings: bringing art to life. Photo: Julianne Osborne
Dr Aurora Scheelings: bringing art to life. Photo: Julianne Osborne

Film, digital media studies going gangbusters

By Andrew Hall

Film industry funding announced in the recent Northern Territory Government budget is a welcome commitment for Charles Darwin University’s screen and new media students.

Digital media lecturer and course coordinator Dr Aurora Scheelings, who is a member of the Screen Territory Industry Reference Group that consults with the government, said the commitment of $9 million would expand opportunities significantly for students who wished to live and work in the Territory.

“The funding has been allocated over the next four years and it shows the government’s confidence in our industry growing, which – in turn – creates opportunities for our graduates as the Territory occupies a unique place in the Australian film and related industries landscape,” Dr Scheelings said.

“We don’t currently have a large pool of local freelance crews, which is great for our students because I receive requests from production companies all over Australia and overseas asking if our people, whether they be undergraduate or in our VET courses, have certain skill sets for paid work ... and often they do.

“This networking often leads to students’ entry into the industry.”

Serendipitous to the funding announcement, in 2018 CDU will offer a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Screen and New Media Production.

“We are expanding the screen production component in the new degree structure because we recognise that skills in this area are desirable in our region, in addition to the design elements that are already incorporated into our courses,” Dr Scheelings said.

In recent times, New Media Design students have been involved in community engagement projects including two short films for the Darwin Aviation Museum, which are part of the museum’s permanent display.

“They have also made a number of films for the NT Council on the Ageing, which will screen at the Darwin Italian Festival this year,” Dr Scheelings said.

“Where we can embed our students in industry and community engagement projects, we do, which gives them real world experience and, importantly, professional pathways.”