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Global recognition for Unitec student films

  • Boy & Bird
  • Mine
  • screen-arts-short-films

New Zealand's presence in the global film industry is extraordinary for a nation of our size. From the countless Oscars won by the Lord of The Rings in the mid 2000s to the talented John Gilbert who won Best Editor at the most recent event in LA, we are riding a wave of achievement.

Of course, these special moments are often years in the making. Industry success is all about building upon your core skills and knowledge. With a firm grounding and the confidence to pursue a career in film, there is no doubt that New Zealand will have more Oscar winners in the future. In fact, a couple might just come out of our Screen Arts department.

Unitec students making their own splash

In the final year of the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts, Screen Arts major students produce a short film. It's a department wide project, with students writing the scripts, designing the costumes, organising the shoots, directing, performing, producing and editing - a real taste of what happens in the industry. In fact, all student short films are screened at a special showing at Event Cinemas at St Lukes where students as well as their friends and family can see their hard work on the big screen.

This combination of skills, passions and artistic direction means the final product is something truly memorable. And this isn't just the opinion of our hard-working lecturers, many student short films have been recognised at film festivals on both sides of the Tasman.

Take 2014 Unitec Grad Film 'Mine', for example. Lead brilliantly by Moana Johnson, directed by Paloma Schneideman and written by Emilia Robinson, Mine was shortlisted for the New Zealand International Film Festival's Best short film programme. As well as this, it won an international award at the 2015 Asian Micro Film Festival.


Mine (Unitec Grad Film 2014) from Unitec PASA on Vimeo.

Mine continues to feature at film festivals.


Even years after its release, Mine was selected for the "Night of the Shorts" special showcase at FIFO 2017 Oceanian International Documentary Film Festival - considered for the "Best Oceanian Short" special audience award. The committee noted the "quality of the work on this film and the sensitivity of it".

The 2015 Unitec Grad Film 'Boy & Bird' has also received rave reviews as it hit the film festival circuit. This film was written by Tom Sal Dyton and features a wonderful cast including Kyle Bourke and Alan Drum Garcia, telling the poignant story of a child after his father has left.


Boy and Bird (Unitec Grad Film 2015) from Unitec PASA on Vimeo.

Boy & Bird is an emotional tale that resonates with audiences.


The production was runner-up for Best Film at the No Small Stories Film Festival in Australia and selected to screen at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival.

While all students involved in these productions have now graduated, these two short films and many others continue to inspire the next generation of Screen Arts students. So, if you want to enter the film industry in the years ahead, why is Unitec the place to be?

Incorporating skills across the spectrum

One of the main goals for our Creative Industries is to produce film graduates who are work-ready. While this includes the relevant skills and knowledge, it's also about the passion and experience of creating a film from start to finish. This is where we certainly stand out from the crowd.

The Unitec performing and screen arts pathway is fully-integrated. We have all the different elements of the industry on campus from acting and dance to costume and editing, ensuring that students can work together and understand their role in the industry.

If you would like to learn more about the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Screen Arts) course or any other study paths in this department, feel free to get in touch with our team today.