TAFE NSW rises to meet film industry boom

TAFE NSW is training the behind-the-scenes film and television superstars of the future, in response to a huge surge in demand for film production services in NSW. 

Australia has always had a reputation for producing world-class film crews. However, the impact of COVID-19, coupled with an injection of funds into the sector by the NSW Government, has made NSW an even more attractive place to produce films. TAFE NSW is in a unique position to support the thriving industry and has a reputation for developing the skills of some of the finest film and television broadcast talent in Australia. 

Award-winning cinematographer and alumni Mark Bliss ACK (Czech Society of Cinematographers) recently had his experience with TAFE NSW come full circle, shooting indie hit “Standing Up for Sunny” at the same TAFE NSW campus where he studied cinematography 30 years ago.

“I have been interested in cinema since I was a child, but the film industry is notoriously difficult to break into for an outsider without any contacts,” Mr Bliss said.

After emigrating from Czechoslovakia in the late 1980s Mr Bliss said his ultimate goal was to study film and get a job in the industry.

“Growing up in communist Czechoslovakia, I would attend every film screening I could, but getting into film school was totally out of the question as I didn’t fit the political profile. I arrived in Australia in 1988 and two years later succeeded in the entrance exams to gain a place in a film course at TAFE NSW.”

Trained by some of the best in the business including legendary cinematographer Terry Byrne ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) and industry heavyweight Annabelle Sheehan, Mark Bliss completed the (then called) Advanced Certificate in Film Production Techniques specialising in cinematography at TAFE NSW St Leonards.

“The skills I learnt and the network of professionals I was exposed to meant I was able to enter the film industry much more quickly than I had ever imagined,” Mr Bliss said.

These days, students get the skills to enter the film and television industry in Australia by completing the Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (Film and Television Production).

Head Teacher of Film and Television Lutfi Hady said TAFE NSW is prepared to meet the challenge to deliver skilled workers to fill the multitude of new positions cropping up in the Australian film industry.

“This is a great time for “Hollywood Downunder” and our film and television teachers are all highly experienced experts in their fields and have the connections to help our students break into the industry,” Mr Hady said.

“It’s testament to the calibre of our hands-on, industry-led training that so many TAFE NSW graduates have gone on to have such illustrious careers.”

Mr Bliss says studying film at TAFE NSW was a dream come true and the lessons he learnt there have stayed with him all these years.

“The practical skills I learned at TAFE NSW allowed me to go into the world of filmmaking confident in my skills and capabilities.  

“The work ethic imparted to us by Terry Byrne was indispensable and helped me especially during the early years. There isn’t a day on set where I don’t remember the lessons that Terry taught us.”

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