They pitched, wrote, shot, edited and screened a short film in just a week – a challenge that put their skills to the test.
Every year, Griffith Film School partners with the festival to run the Vision Splendid Film Institute – a two-week program of film projects, workshops and masterclasses.
This year, the diverse group included filmmakers, animators, actors and songwriters.
Among them was a Griffith Film School alumnus Jacquelynn Auger, who returned this year for a special bootcamp.
His 15-minute film, The break, won the audience award at the festival, and spent time collaborating with and mentoring students.
âThis was my third trip to Winton for the film festival, and it absolutely changed my life,â she said.
âI went back this year to shoot a short film and was asked to be a mentor for the current students.
âI could see they were very inspired to have a recent graduate there to bounce things off and turn to support.
âFor me, the whole experience sparked a passion for teaching.
Jacquelynn said the trip forged a network of creative collaborators.
“The best part about Winton is the relationships you build – from the Koa alumni who hang out with us, to all the amazing locals and students you work with to get your projects across the finish line,” said she declared.
“A big part of any film education is the connections you make – I certainly wouldn’t be the person or the filmmaker I am today without these trips.”
Cole Forfang Phan, a composition student at the Queensland Conservatorium, wants to pursue film composition after graduation.
âWorking with college filmmakers and seeing the professional process really opened my eyes,â he said.
âWhen it came to the music for the movies, we were on such tight deadlines, I had to develop new ways of working.
“It really pushed us out of our comfort zones – I ended up doing sound design that I had never tried before.”
âAt Griffith we have a film school and a theater program, so it makes sense to join forces,â she said.
âThe film students were so easy going and taught me so much about the technical side of filmmaking.
“I feel like my eyes have been opened to a whole new world, and a world that allows me to do my job better as an actor.”
âYou have to be talented to be in this industry, but it’s also about building a network.
âI made some wonderful relationships and friendships on this trip – people offered to shoot my show reel and roles in their graduation films.
“It gave us a taste of this professional environment and was a stepping stone between academia and industry.”
Lawrence Greene is a mature student at Griffith Film School who said the trip gave him a new perspective on filmmaking.
âWinton is the kind of pressure cooker environment that seems to be built to force people to learn more about themselves,â he said.
âYou can never achieve something perfect in a week. But if things had turned out better, I wouldn’t have learned so much.
âIt taught me to trust my own decisions and gave me the confidence to take on film projects outside of college.
“It made me realize that film school is not about what you can do, it’s about what you can learn.”
Mr. Burgess said the immersive outback experience is transformative for emerging creatives.
“It’s about finding an authentic creative voice, building relationships and building the confidence to give it a go,” he said.