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Whitireia film school strengthens industry link with move to Avalon Studios

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Starting this year, students enrolled in the screen production programme at Whitireia, will be learning in the heart of the production industry with classes to be fully run out of Avalon Film and Television Studios in Lower Hutt.

The move will see students immersed in a professional, commercial screen production facility while they learn.

"This is a great opportunity for our budding filmmakers," says Whitireia screen programme tutor David Brechin-Smith, who teaches the course alongside Corey Le Vaillant and Mark Jackson - all industry professionals themselves. "Rubbing shoulders with screen industry professionals based at Avalon will also help them network ahead of looking for work once they qualify."

Whitireia students had been doing screen production project work at Avalon Studios for a number of years before the decision was taken last year to base the programme at the studio full time and bring the students closer to industry.

Waka Attewell, the notable New Zealand cinematographer and filmmaker who will be working alongside the students out of Avalon commented: "It doesn’t get better than starting your professional career when you walk in the door for your year of study - and that it is what it will pretty much be like for these students at the Avalon Studios!"

Whitireia offers a year-long New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production, a level 5 qualification.

Avalon Studios CEO Gary Watkins says: "We are excited to have the Whitireia screen production programme on our site. For an enthusiastic student, there is nothing like being in a creative, operational and professional environment where you can study in a working facility alongside accomplished practitioners to start your career.

"We know the programme delivered by Whitireia is a broad, practical and hands-on course for aspiring students. Having the programme associated with us fits into Wellington’s ‘UNESCO City of Film’ ethos of learning, diversity, sustainability and achievement. Education and opportunities are key to our industry’s success and future and we are delighted to be able to support this by having Whitireia students learn from and with us right here on site."

Mick Jays, Head of the School of Creative and Hospitality at Whitireia says: "We put our students at the centre of everything, and if we can offer them not only high quality teaching, but also pathways into the industry and ultimately employment, this move to sit right alongside the best in the region will be a fantastic opportunity for them."

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