Drora Machlev - Israel - 2006
"I check out APA website from time to time. It's great to see the new students' projects and remember our days in APA with a great sense of nostalgia. 'Love is a Stranger' was accepted into the CAN2007 Leicester Internatonal Short Film Festival and will be screened at city locations over the next 12 months."
Mikel Kew and Lachlan Thompson - Australia - 2005
Mikel and Lachlan have set up a Production company together - Film Cartel - which is going very well. Mikel says "It's getting to the stage where we are going to need some contract crew to work on jobs that we don't have time to do. We are working hard towards our goals and are 100% committed to making it to the top level of the industry". We're sure you will, guys.
Mikel also said some nice things about APA so I thought I would include them as well !
"Thank you for all your efforts in training us. The practical experience APA provided has benefited us greatly. This is reflected in how much more professional our work style is compared to a lot of other 'real world' crews that we have been working with. It's clear that your training style is miles above a lot of the other training that is out there." Mikel
Kevin Croll - South Africa - 2004
"Since I last contacted you I have been given a permanent position at the ABC as Programme Maker/Broadcast Operator. It's a great place to work and to meet with other programme makers and Producers." Kevin
Adam Watkins - England - 2004
As well as a few words , Adam sent us a copy of 'Jonah's Quids' - a beautiful story of adolescent emotions and a wonderful example of character driven drama.
"It was a rewarding experience and as I expected I found what I learned at APA helped so much in the preparation and on the set, and obviously it's no coincidence that many of the people I felt comfortable working with were people who had gone through APA as well. I knew I could get on with these people, but the key thing is that I knew that they would be diligent, hardworking and willing to go the extra mile - which amounts to so much when you're doing things on this scale." Adam
John Gewargis - Australia - 2006
"We shot a pilot for a lifestyle programme out in Orange. Andrew, Riyad and Minori all worked on the production. We are in the final week of post. My Co Producer Gary and I have done some radio interviews and we also featured on the front page of the Central Western Daily - quite exciting ! " John
John has also worked on Magical Scarecrows with Barry Crocker.
Jeffri Rahim - Malaysia - 2005
"When I first got back to Malaysia I started out as a production assistant and then in-house casting direction for a production house making TVCs. In November I went freelance as a Casting Director and have also started line producing and am enjoying myself very much. I have had a chance to practice my camera skills as I was hired as cameraman for the "making of" video for a feature film. " Jeffri Rahim
Thomas Wittman - Germany - 2001
"Just wanted to drop a quick line to keep you updated. After my first Aussie (horror) feature film with Alex Herget, I finally shot my first German feature for cinema release - a gangster comedy. We were shooting Super 35mm - very nice. Although 30 shooting days for 120 minutes were really tough, director and producer seemed very happy...."
Simon Sliphorst - The Netherlands - 2006
It was great to hear from Simon that he is busy with all sorts of projects and enjoying his life in the industry and also finding time to work with other APA graduates, Anna and Aernout.
"I'm working as Executive Producer for a production company producing 2 doco type short films and also doing about 3 days a week camera and editing for national television. Next week I'm shooting 2 days for a video clip. The company I work for does a lot of small studio work which involves VO recording and sound mixing and green screen recordings. So it's really busy but so much fun.
I'm in contact with Anna who is attending our National Film Academy and did the sound mix on her short film for the 48 hour film project which was very exciting. Aernout often helps me out with some camera work which is great.
'Innuendo' will be screening in New York, LA and Las Vegas. Here is some feedback the selection panel gave us:
Congratulations! We are delighted that your film 'Innuendo' has been officially selected for exhibition in the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival 2007. The selection panel has given your work overall 'VERY WELL DONE' reviews. Shot on 16mm, professional looking production overall, with good cinematography, editing, production design etc. Content: has a story which hooks you in with good performances especially by the lead who is believable and engaging."
Adam Watkins and Matteo Servente - U.K. and Italy - 2004
Courtesy of Martin we learn that Adam and Matteo are meeting in Cannes this week for the screening of Jonah's Quids there. So if you missed it in London you have another chance now.
Zeke Lawless - Ireland - 2004
Zeke sent us an email at the beginning of the year giving us a run down on the productions he had worked on in 2006 and the beginning of 2007 in both production and camera assistant areas. Quite a variety covering both TV and film, The Clinic, Gently's Last Case, Northanger Abbey and Becoming Jane to name just a few.
Martin Heffels - The Netherlands - 2002
Martin emailed to say the Screening of Jonah's Quids was very successful. Reading between the lines we think he's quite sad the production is over and the crew now disbursed to various parts of the world.
Lyndall Kretschmar - Australia - 2005
Lyn sent us this photo with Kriss Angel at the Mindfreak production office quite a while ago, called into APA to say 'Hi' to everyone and promised to send us an update of work and life in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, but we're still waiting ............
Anyway from what she said it was great, but very hard work - and that you have to get used to constant deadlines as an editor. She had just enough time to enjoy what LV had to offer but was glad they moved to LA after 3 months.
Hope I summed that up OK, Lyn, if not feel free to send me a revised text !!!
Anna van Keimpema - Holland - 2005
"My course is going very well. Until Christmas we are talking about documentary which is a different mindset for me, nevertheless very interesting. We've gone straight into making some short documentaries, and it's funny that they have a different style of working than APA has. Not all the students learn the technical bits at the same time and therefore there is not the same film language on the set. I'm sure this will come, but for the moment my fellow students lean on my knowledge and experience while shooting. That's kind of cool considering I'm learning for directing and directors in Holland are not technical at all !! Already I can feel the step ahead that APA has given me and it gives me a peaceful mind now I can focus on the more creative styles and things like that."
(We are now podcasting Anna's final film, '90 degrees Downhill' )
Kalyan Alluri - India - 2005
"I am working as a 2nd assistant cameraman for a feature in our regional language. Things learned at APA helped me a lot. Lots of things to learn in this feature. We're using Arri 434 35mm camera. How is APA going on? I miss you all. Take care. Cheers Kalyan."
Kevin Bauer - USA - 2005
"I start my new job tomorrow at Photo Sonics. I'm a pre technician so I service all the cameras and lenses and train camera assistants on how to use the gear if they don't already know and I also go out on set and assist productions if they need help with a camera. I chose this job mainly because you get to build contacts and eventually get work on the field. I feel pretty happy about it. LA is a really bizarre city."
Roberto Grossman - Colombia - 2004
"I've been working at a production company in Miami for a year now. I started helping out in every area of production and after a couple of months became a full time editor. Now I'm in the process of becoming an inhouse producer as well as editor and also getting some freelance work editing pieces for TV programmes. It's been a crazy year, a lot of work and good experience. I hope everything is well down under."
Nick Levey - Australia - 2003
"Just a quick note to let you guys know that I picked up a Gong at the Kodak awards. I also picked up a bronze in Kinsale, Ireland, for my Mtv job. Hope all is well at APA."
Matthew Chuang - Australia - 2002
If you're thinking, 'My gosh, Matt's changed', he hasn't really as the photo is from "Braille" a feature he is directing at the moment.
"At the present moment I'm directling a feature with Luke Graham, Joe Capelo and Alex Kesselaar. Here is a screen grab.
Also one of my short films has been selected into the top 3 finalists for the SOYA Moving Pictures category. The judge is none other than Phillip Noyce and he gave me some very encouraging comments:
'Mr. Chuang's filmmaking is imaginative, original, resourceful and witty. His simple, to the point, gimmick in 'Dear John' combined with his obvious knowledge and passion for film and film making showcase his talent perfectly. His style seems to be inspired by two different directors like Spike Jonze and Quentin Tarantino, but he manages to keep it personal.' "
Jordan Maddocks - Australia - 2001
Jordan has popped into APA on a number of occasions and today I contacted him regarding Daniel's forthcoming shoot here in Sydney and at last received a few words together with a great photo.
"The past few years I have been clapper loading on numerous TVC's for Aussie and foreign DOP's and did some extra days loading on Superman Returns. I have attached a photo of my travels on a shoot for 'Getaway' on Lord Howe Island earlier this year as a helicopter camera mount technician. This position has taken me all over Australia, and also up to Indonesia on 3 occasions."
Salomon Simhon - Colombia - 2005
"At the momento I've been freelancing and doing a great job. I've just finished working with one of the best production companies in Colombia called Labanda Films doing a music video. I've also finished directing another short film called 'The Red Room", Greetings to everyone. Cheers."
(We are now podcasting Sal's graduation film, 'Smile')
Brent Holgate - Australia - 2004
"While I found APA frustrating and heartbreaking at times it definitely prepared me for a life of obstacles in the film industry. APA was an invaluable experience and taught me, not only life lessons, but the knowledge and skills I needed to make a successful film. I have since found that if you immerse yourself and successfully complete the two year course and still have a great desire to make films, then you are in the right industry.
Since my leaving 'Below you Falling' has been selected in the Mudgee Film Festival, Snowyfest Film Festival and Down Under Film Festival to positive reviews. I wrote and directed my second film, 'The Car Park', which was selected for the National Under 25 division at the Canberra Film Festival. My brother and I won a script funding competition and completed the film which will screen at the National Museum of Australia. " Brent
You can see a trailer of Brent's graduation film 'Below You Falling' in our video gallery and the film itself is also being podcast.
Jonathan (Jonty) Berman - South Africa/Belgium - 2000
"Getting work as a DOP slowly but steadily. I am off to shoot in the Czech Republic soon for Pilsner Urquell, while things in S.A. are hotting up for me with a Chevrolet commercial at the end of this week.
I was watching some of the video trailers and I thought "The Four of Us" looks great. Casting is very good with great characters and faces. The cinematography is also great, very bizarre and very French ..."
Jonty's DOP graduation film, "The Open Window" is now being podcast.
Jakob Marky - Sweden - 2002
"Well things are really great in Sweden and directing is coming along really nicely. I am in the final stages of editing a 30 minutes comedy show for SVT (biggest national network) and I just finished two other commercials."
You can see the trailer of Jakob's graduation film, Appearances in the Video Gallery and the full programme is now being podcast.
Zeke Lawless - Ireland - 2004
Zeke was always a person of few words (writing that is) so it was great to get a few lines from him:
"Sorry I haven't dropped you a line since forever, anyway I'm good and haven't stopped working all year and I start a new feature next week. This year I've been mainly working in production, but I just came off a Christmas special where I was on the camera crew and I also did a TV movie last year where I was camera, too. I worked in Cannes last year when I got back from Australia and really since I got back with the connections I made I haven't stopped. Thanks for everything."
You can see the trailer of Zeke's graduation film "For Love or Money" in the Video Gallery.
Lyndall Kretschmar - Australia - 2005
Lyn left Sydney at the beginning of March to work in Las Vegas in the editing department of Mindfreak on a 6 month contract. There was silence until we heard from her in June ........
"I've been in Vegas for 3 months now. I left at the beginning of March and work has been non stop mental since then. I'm working on the Criss Angel: Mindfreak Season 2 TV series - fun fun - well not at the moment! More like a ton of deadlines.
Vegas is in a realm of its own. My first time to the US and its Vegas to start with - I've landed in crazy town! It's really quite fun though. The post team are really cool - very nice people as are the production team.
Found out last night they're moving post production to LA - should be exciting........"
We are looking forward to hearing about life in LA, hopefully before Lyn returns to Australia and in the meantime Graeme let us know that an episode of Mindfreak Season 2 screened on Australian TV last Tuesday in the 11.00 p.m. time slot on Channel 9...........
Matteo Servente - Italy - 2005
Matteo has been in touch with the lastest festival news for "Dammi il La".
"After winning the Fargo Film Festival, "Dammi il La" also won best narrative short at the Memphis International Film Fest and got the audience award at the Sarasota Film Fest. The selection process is turning out being pretty successful: we had screenings in Newport Beach (California), New Orleans, Rome and we're selected for a few good fests in Hollywood (FAIF Film Fest and Hollyshorts), South Africa (Innibos) and Croatia (Dubrovnik). Hopefully more to come ........"
Aline Varre - Norway - 2004
We heard from Aline ....
"I have pursued my dream in film production working as production assistant on TV commercials made for countries in Europe and Russia, so far ..........Loving it."
Nick Levey - Australia - 2003
Nick contacted us back in December - how time flies ! - to let us know that a comedy brand campaign, "Budgie Smugglers", he wrote for MTV had been picked up by a number of countries and would be run in 2006. We heard from him again this week :
"Just a quick note to let you guys know that the MTV job that I wrote won best international film at the Midsummer Awards in England and is a finalist in two categories of this year's Kodak Gongs Awards."
Robert Tench - Australia - 2000
A while ago I spoke with Robert who went straight from APA to work for Panavision and later Camera Collectives. He then went freelance and his first position was as a camera attachment working with DOP Dean Semler for the U.S production, 'Elf". Since then he has worked as clapper loader on many TV commercials and truck clapper loader on 'Little Fish" and also B camera unit set camera, working with DOP Danny Rulhman.
Thomas Elliott - Australia - 2000
"I have not made contact since I last saw you guys in 2000, but I have been a little on the busy side. Just wanted to say thanks for everything. The background I got in practical film making from APA has really helped me go places. Brief update on what's being going on since I left. Did a BA in film and television production - it looks nice on my wall. Made some useful industry contacts and started freelancing as a camera operator and then as a DOP working on commercials in Melbourne and then overseas. Started my own production company on my return to Australia making ads which is going well. Wrote a feature film, Terminal Bliss, and shot it with an awesome small crew. It's been off to a few festivals. I've started work on another feature, this time a comedy. "
Rose Hall - U.S.A. - 2003
"I've got trips to Prague, India and the IFP New York Film Market over the next year or so. I'm now back in Seattle completing a script. Over the next couple of weeks I am signing agreements to become co-owner, board member and VP of Production for Impact Media. This is an exciting new step in my career and I look forward to the challenges it will bring. I've learned a tremendous amount in the industry, but APA truly set a solid foundation on which I could build everything I learned.
Hope everyone is doing well. I do check back on occasion to see what everyone is up to, so keep sending in your updates."
Anna van Keimpema - Holland - 2005
Congratulations to Anna who applied for a place at NFTA - Netherlands Film and Television Academy, (which is their equivalent of AFTRS), submitting '90 Degrees Downhill' and who was one of the six directors to be offered a place out of 500 applicants. She will now immerse herself in directing for four years working towards her ultimate goal of directing feature films.
"Having gone to APA gave me the tremendous advantage that I have a more technical background and heaps of set experience. So I know what's possible, what's easy and what's not. Also I know what other departments include and how to communicate with them. Therefore I want to thank you for a great time and learning it the proper way."
Erick Lundqvist - Sweden - 2005
Erick is currently working as focus puller on Jakob Marky's shoot in Sweden. We are looking forward to hearing about the experience once the shoot is over.
Jakob Marky - Sweden - 2002
Jakob Marky sent us this photo and the following news last month. "I just got a call from my producer and he told me that SVT (the largest network in Sweden) has given the go ahead to my 30 minute comedy. The production will start February 23rd and wrap June 1st. The show is one out of 8 segments where SVT has gathered the 8 most promising directors in Sweden and given them 30 minutes each to use as they see best. I am so happy and things are finally starting to roll in. To the top, thanks for giving me the legs to reach up to the dinner table.
I was this happy when I got this great news!"
Jakob Marky - Sweden - 2002
Jakob has been in touch again, but still no mention of what happened in Spain and Russia!
"Well, still negotiating for the pilot, but now also working in front of the camera as critic for Sweden's largest film review show, premieres 15th September. Well, here is a little bit newer photo. Hope you are well. Send my best to Ian. " Jakob Marky, Writer/Director and now CELEBRITY !!!!
Amira Mashhour - Egypt - 2005
Amira Mashhour left a little early this year to return home to Egypt to work as 2nd AD on a 35mm feature film 'Aganista' being shot in Alexandria.We have heard that she is enjoying her new career immensely, but guys she is missing you, too and wishes she could be with you for the big Screening Night next week.
An update from Amira. She is now working as a 1st AD and finding life very rewarding!
Salomon Simhon - Colombia - 2005
Sal has also been in touch. He writes "Smile got accepted into a film festival in Los Angeles called Golden Star Short Fest. And the best part is they fly me over there to present Smile and introduce me to different agents and producers!"
Adam Watkins - U.K. - 2004
Adam's 30 second commercial 'Golf' featuring John Smith beer was entered into the prestigious Commercial Film Producers of Europe competition which took place in June this year at Cannes, France. We were notified that 'Golf' was one of the finalists and Adam was invited to attend the awards ceremony. All the crew were notified and one of his camera operators, Matteo, now back in Italy, was able to join him. To his delight he came second in the new film school section. There follows his account of events.
“The ceremony was in the Carlton Hotel, the most attractive of the hotels on La Croisette. It was packed full of people. Our category was second to last. I was really interested in finding out what the other contenders were like in the two film school categories and they were all very good. There is no doubt that all the other nominees had by far larger budgets than ours, and in our non-European category, the other short listed spots were all from the US. They were often high on graphics and special effects, so you can imagine as I was watching them, I really didn't think ours would get a look in. Without detracting from it, it does look demonstrably 'cheaper' than the others - but I'm glad to say the judges clearly looked beyond just the surface of the ads which was really nice. I was truly gobsmacked when it ended up getting second place. I got a certificate to prove it ! It seemed to go down quite well with the audience, though I don't remember that well as I was quite nervous seeing it in that situation.
Matteo and I went to the reception afterwards and a guy came up to me who turned out to be one of the jury members who really liked the ad and its comedy element. I'd appreciate it if you'd pass on my thanks to all the cast and crew. I was really pleased for the school that this happened, as it highlights the value of a really good crew which we had on this and the fact that although we didn't have anywhere near the budget of the other short listed ads, the simplicity came through and proved popular.”
Eirik Bull-Hansen - Norway - 2004
“Well, I'm heading a production company now called Cry Wolf Productions. We're five members. Two directors (me and Maria from England), Thomas, the camera guy, our head of business Eduardo and Raymond Bergseng, who you might know.
We're currently working on two music videos for a record label here in Oslo and we're going into TV commercials and then, if everything works out, on to bigger projects, a film called 'The Hunter' is planned for spring, 2006.
It is really going full steam ahead here and I couldn't have done this without the year at APA so thanks for that.”
Ichiko Oe - Japan - 2004
Ichiko Oe has been very busy working six days a week as camera assistant in Tokyo, Japan.
Kenji Sakai - Japan - 2004
"I am proud of being one of Adam's shoot team of APA film school (Golf). Now I do a sort of producing business at Digital Site Corporation in Japain acquiring U.S. DVD licences and feature films and also making Japanese feature films as well. I miss APA days and you and Ian. I can tell that is the best days in my life. I hope someday to come around Sydney and APA. I learned a lot from you."
Matteo Servente - Italy - 2004
“Adam told me about this Cannes opportunity and, of course, I was more than happy to jump on board. Very excited about it. Things are really crazy for me at the moment. I'll be moving to London as after lots of thinking I felt that it could be the right place for me and I'm extremely motivated. I'm also in the pre production of a short film that is supposed to be shot in mid September in Italy. I figured out the budget and now I'm starting the fund raising process. The most important thing I'm learning is how hard it is to attract possible sponsors! I really believe in this project. I had the idea of it, then Sarah wrote a beautiful screenplay from it. As far as the crew goes, Adam will be the 1st AD, Martin already agreed on working on it and he got me in touch with another former APA German student, Thomas, who could possibly be the DOP. I'll try and involve some other APA people. I'm in touch with some people at APA so I am constantly updated about APA life.” June, 2005
“I have actually raised funds for the short film to be shot here in Italy at the end of September and some former APA people will be joining the crew. Really exciting! There's so much work to do, though .... but isn't it what we're looking for? So I keep working! You'll get soon further updates about this project. As Adam already told you, Cannes was a really nice experience. The award was a very pleasant surprise other than a chance to acknowledge his work and APA support. So many of the other commercials were clearly shot with huge budgets, which, I think, made Adam's shine even more.” July, 2005
Nicolas Bleuse - France - 2004
“I just wanted to thank you for sending me all the info on the festivals. I have been working on them. It's good to think that a part of APA goes on even after the course finishes. Hope you and Ian are doing well with the new batch. Take care. I'm off to a bourbon party !”
The above was written while Nick was still in Australia. He left in a hurry - rumour has it for a job in France - so come in Nick and let us know all about it.
You can see the trailer of Nic's graduation film, WalkDontWalk in the Video Gallery.
Robin Whitten - U.K. - 2004
“Wilde's Cards was well received at the Commonwealth Film Festival - it came third in the best short film in the northwest competition. I plan to send an email to all who worked on it to let them know. I'm planning on making another short film sometime soon - the buzz of the festival has motivated me to do another practical project. I did tell you that I got the editing job didn't I? If not, I got it and it's going well.” May, 2005
Robin wrote us the following testimonial.
APA International Film School is perfect for people interested in gaining or furthering their practical film making skills. The emphasis is very strongly placed on hands on learning and the course offers thousands of hours on set - working directly with film and television equipment. Do not expect a course that delves deeply into complex film theory - it is up to the student to make use of the opportunities the school offers in order to produce the best possible work. I graduated in 2004 and I am now working as an editor for an In-flight entertainment company and my diploma film has already been shown in festivals in England and Australia.
“I still appreciate the festival updates although I haven't applied to any recently - I've been working really hard at work. We're producing a 12 part documentary for BBC world at the moment which I am co-editing with another person. It's good stuff and great for the CV! “ July, 2005
You can see the trailer of Robin's graduation film, Wilde's Cards in the Video Gallery and it is now being podcast.
Simon Muriel - U.K. - 2004
The idea for the ad Golf came from Simon !
“Adam and I are very much in touch back in London - a friend for life I'm sure - so he mentioned that he had been to Cannes. Well done all. As for my situation, following Ian's advice and treating job hunting as a job in itself, I finally landed a contract with the BBC. I'm currently an Associate Producer on “Honey We're Killing the Kids. Loving the work. Self shoot on the Sony Z1, interviewing, location fixing etc. as one of a 2 person crew on location, so a little different from much of the APA experience. Very glad to have all that training under the belt though. It comes in useful in the most unexpected situations. So that's my update for the records. Many thanks once again for a really inspiring and informative year. Many fond memories. I've said it before, but I don't doubt I owe my professionalism to the APA ethos. Hope the P8s are going well. I'd love to see the results of all that hard work sometime.”
Cory Scott - Canada - 2003
“Since I have left I have been doing quite a mixed bag of things. I landed a contract working with a touring theatre group in New Zealand doing some lighting and stage set up. That was an amazing experience touring with a Russian ballet group and as well with a cirque du solie type show. As far as movie work goes I am just now settling in Vancouver and making a go of things. Myself and another friend have a very small film company and are making some short films and entering them in festivals. Trying to build up the resume some more and hook into some big sets here in BC A good friend of mine in Toronto, Erin Young, produced the documentary 'Hardwood' that was nominated at the Oscars .. a good contact.”
Diana Thomas - U.S.A. - 2003
“I wanted to let you know that I got an apprenticeship with an Emmy award winning Director/Editor. He already has me editing documentary programs to air on television. Thanks to all of the work I did in media management and capturing I can trouble shoot problems. It's a crazy industry, but once you have a goal everything follows suit.”
Juan Baquero - Colombia - 2003
We heard fron Juan Baquero, another Colombian graduate, to say he is now working for Colombian TV channels directing and producing.
You can see the trailer of Juan's graduation film, The Four of Us in the Video Gallery.
Nick Levey - Australia - 2003
Nick popped into APA the other day so I took the opportunity of finding out what he is up to. He is working with the Creative team of the advertising company, The Works, designing both media and film campaigns. He showed me copies of the BBC Motion Gallery print campaign he had designed which is being sold worldwide. He's also been working on projects for Jim Bean, Mental Health, Konica Minolta, Apple and I believe Tiger Beer is next.
Pawel (Tyler) Sendyka - Poland - 2003
“I have a really busy time. I just finished working for about five months for Channel 7 in Queensland as News Editor and Cameraman. Right now I'm in Poland. I got involved with a Society of the Creators and Managers of Arts and I'm helping them to shoot a short film. By the end of the year I will be back in Australia most probably, at which point I may be doing some interesting things Anyway I will contact you then most probably as I might want to employ some of your students or graduates for the projects. I haven't become a 2nd Spielberg yet. But I'm still working on it. This year my book will be published here in Poland.”
Raymond Bergseng - Norway - 2003
A shot of Ray who has teamed up with Eirik Bull-Hansen (2004) and is a part of Cry Wolf Productions back in Norway.
Rose Bradley-Christofferson - U.S.A. - 2003
“I just wanted to say “Hi” to everyone and let you know where I got to after APA. I am the Unit Production Manager on a feature film. I started in mid-June (04). It's been very exciting and more work than I've ever done in my life. The film is called GPS The Movie. ím working with great people from all over the US. It is so interesting when you see the difference between student and professional shoots. If you thought student productions difficult - let me tell you !
Thanks Ian and Carole! I didn't realize how much I learned until I really had to put it to good use.
So, I hope everyone is well. I look forward to bumping into you in the “industry”. I hope you guys are making great films. Best of luck!”
Jakob Marky - Sweden - 2002
Jakob wrote to us in March, 2004
“I just saw a travelling show that screened a lot of Sydney and I got nostalgic. I would just like to thank you for the training, although I questioned it a lot during the time at the Academy, I now know why. Being on time, being ready and having the knowledge to take over when the chance is given. I have just met with the producers of my up coming short. Thomas Wittmann will DOP. Besides that I am working at an ad company as a freelance director and storyboarding a fair bit.”
He was contacted regarding this new section and sent the following few lines. He has promised a fuller version as soon as he has time.
“Work is well, I am negotiating with a production company for the rights to direct a pilot of Swedish comedy but, as always things are never sure. APA at Cannes is an amazing turnout, congrats! “
Jeff Freeman - U.S.A. - 2002
“Things are going quite well with me, quite well indeed. I am living in Los Angeles and producing a feature film right now. It is a fairly low budget drama, US$1.3 million and is being shot on 35mm. I am also producing and directing a short film to be shot here and I'm polishing a screenplay for a short that I am going to shoot in Sydney sometime next summer. When I get closer to time, I'll be contacting everyone I know to get actors, locations, crew etc., Maybe it will work out that I can use some APA students on the production. I'll definitely keep in touch.”
Martin Heffels - The Netherlands - 2002
Another great source of information is Martin. He is part of the APA team shooting a short in Italy and news of this production is posted on our production Diary page.
Martin has the following news of APA graduates. "Cody is very busy. He is in Atlanta, USA at the moment where he is line-producing a project for school-television in Japan. He finished the rewriting of his feature script, so we are going to kick-off that ball as well again. And in October a novel of him will be released which is going to be published via mobile-phones (some kind of new project for Japan, and quite successful up to now. In December I will meet him in Tokyo to shoot a short film. Kenji will be involved in that one as well. Kenji stills works as translator for a post production related company. Mayuko is going from one job to another as she can't find what she wants. I spoke with Ichiko the other day. She is having a job as camera-assistant and is quite happy about it. Matt Chuang told me the India job with Luke Graham is still going ahead. Joe Capelo is also part of the team. They are talking about the distribution etc. and the advance team will go there in October. Michelle is still working on her African documentary and busy writing a script."
Matt Jacobson - Australia/UK - 2002
“There's a chance I might be heading off to Beirut to work with Kamal on a few projects later in the year. He's doing very well out there. Nothing is set in stone, however. Will keep you updated on any developments.”
You can see the trailer of Matt's graduation film, Synergy in the Video Gallery.
Tim Delmastro - Australia - 2002
“I can't thank the Academy enough for the education and experience that it has given me: and thank you and Ian for the years of work that you have put into it to make it what it is today.
For the past 2 years I have been working at a production company called NextGen Studios as a production assistant and recently I was promoted to Production Manager. The company specialises in the marketing of video games e.g. commercials, promos, trailers for them and we also average 5-6 US features a month DVD chaptering/encodingt/authoring. We also work on various other projects such as medium/high end TV commercials. Over the last 2 years I have been sent to Los Angeles half a dozen times and I am scheduled to go to Tokyo in September.
I still own a Betacam SP camera and have since purchased a DVCAM DSR-500 so I also get freelance camera gigs on an average of one a week.”
Brent Ferguson - Australia - 2001
“I am still at Sky Channel watching horses run around, but I have made it to the position of Senior Vision switcher. I have been doing some training of vision switchers and I have also been doing some directing shifts over the past 5 months covering freelance shifts and full time directors when they are on leave. I have also picked up some freelance switching shifts on the USA series of Hi5 that is being produced in the Global TV studios at North Ryde. I started that 2 weeks ago and so far I am having a lot of fun with it and it is working in great with my full time Sky work.”
David Karacic - Australia - 2001
A photo of director of 'Beautiful Night', David, in action as a camera operator whilst studying at APA.
Marianne Alla - France/Australia - 2001
"It's nice to hear from you and the school! I am recently back in Sydney after 3 years in France where I was managing a short film festival in Paris. It was a wonderful experience and our festival was very popular. I was actually getting homesick of Australia and decided to come back!! so now I am here in Sydney and I have just started a not-for-profit organisation which will implement film events in the country. Sydney is our main target. It's very fresh and new, but the company is up and running and it's another very exciting adventure.
I have not worked on film sets for a while now, but I did quite a lot of production work in France the first year I was there. I worked on three short films and one feature film."
Michael Karacic - Australia - 2001
I spoke with Michael on the 'phone and he told me that David had written and directed a short 26 minute film called 'It's a Beautiful Night' which was shot on 35mm film. Michael was sound. It was an all APA crew and Thomas flew over from Germany to be the DOP. At the present time it has been accepted into two Canadian film festivals, the Winnipeg International Film Festival and the ReelHeART Film Festival in Toronto.
Thomas Wittmann - Germany - 2001
“My film 'Spoonman' didn't win in Cannes unfortunately, but we ran on a lot of high profile festivals in the US and Europe and we won best film at Sydney Flickerfest, 2004, a very rewarding win, after all, it is the biggest Short Film Festival in Australia. Settling down in Germany was hard. At the moment I am doing quite well though and I hope that this won't change too soon. I am mainly doing corporate films (for AUDI, BMW...) at the moment, but I am waiting to get more work in the commercial sector. And obviously I am still dreaming of my first feature film project and I won't give up on that dream, that's for sure. Congratulations to the 20th anniversary!”
Em and Company - Australia - 2000
Em also had news of Kate Hilliard and I hope we will be able to contact her later in the year. She's getting married this month in Melbourne - congratulations Kate - so it will be a little while. It would appear that Kate got an attachment through Film Victoria on 'Walking on Water' and has been with the same group of production staff for many jobs. Just lately she has been working on Red Sun (Superman) as an assistant production co-ordinator. Sonja Heller of the same year worked for some time on Farscape and All Saints.
Photo shows Em, Lara, Jo, Kate, Sonja (in front) in 2000
Emlyn Crockett - Australia - 2000
Em has sent us her news and also that of some of her fellow graduates with whom she has kept in touch over the years."About 6 months after graduating I worked as a volunteer assistant on many short films and got to know a lot of people and gradually broaden my experience. Thanks to Sean Radburn I got my first job with Baz Luhrmann's Bazmark Inc. as accounts assistant! I suppose this happened for a reason - due to my experience there I got a job on the Matrix sequels. 14 months of accounts - I almost went crazy. However it was an incredible experience. I was able to visit set regularly, go to the screenings, become aware of exactly how different departments co-operate and become familiar with a Sydney crew that move from job to job - it really is like a small family. After that I went back to Bazmark and worked as a general assistant whenever they had the need for me. I left late 2003 to become a ship's videographer and editor and also a senior in the photo team. A lot of work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. However I learned an enormous amount about camera ops and editing and saw a lot of the world. I returned to Australia early 2005 and worked on Adam's film. He was director, Alistair camera, Lara PM and Simon and I were sound so it was a big APA reunion. One of the actors was in 2000's 'Black Box"
Em is now working as an SFX coordinator in Alexandria, Sydney and thoroughly enjoying it.
Jeremy Wilmot - Australia - 2000
“Congratulations on 20 years. That's fantastic! I've been Producer/Engineer at David & John Recordings for almost 5 years. Now I am responsible, amongst other things, for the creative and technical production of radio commercials, TV commercials and corporate videos. I regularly do radio commercials for Channel 9 and mix promos for World Movies. A large part of my job is recording Voice Over talent and Sydney has some really outstanding voice artists. On some occasions I am consulted about casting voice talent and that's a lot of fun too. I find my job very rewarding. I work with friendly, talented people. And I get told a lot of the time by clients, 'have fun with it' and that means they want me to make it fun. So I try my best.” Jeremy and his wife, Victoria are the proud parents of Sofia who was born around the beginning of this year.
Jonathan (Jonty) Berman - South Africa - 2000
Jonty has kept in touch with us over the years and wrote us the following testimonial.
“The solid technical base that I received while studying at APA has given me the confidence to work around the globe in both film and television, no matter what the format, what the budget or what the medium.”.
“I am still living in Belgium and have a contract with a company here as a gaffer producing a series similar to E.R. I am also part of a lighting crew who work on all major commercials and video clips in Belgium” March, 2003.
“I had a very busy June shooting a TV programme. Mainly doing advertisements in lighting, but no feature films this year.” August, 2004.
“Just finished a reality show called Star Academy, working as a kind of DOP as I was head of images quality, video correction and lighting. Also did a bit of camera work. Daniel and myself are trying to get a project together to be shot in India.” June, 2005
On a personal note Jonty married Eve who he met in Sydney and they had a baby boy, Noah earlier this year.
Otello Ottavi - Italy - 2000
We heard from Otello about 6 months after he graduated. He seems to have changed email address, but we hope we will hear from him again.
“I hope everything is going good with the Academy. I just wanted to let you know that I have just finished my first job as a Director Second AD and I have to say thank you for all your teachings. Well even if, as you know, I had some problems doing everything right and some other problem understanding all what you tried to teach me, working on the set the difference in between me and other beginners was clear. I have to admit that what made the difference was your teachings, the importance you gave to discipline, well really everything you said. Anyway, thanks again.”
Philip Charles - Australia - 2000
"This is Philip Charles writing from the 99/00 diploma class. I just happened to stumble across the APA website and found the notice board page and your 20th Anniversary efforts to track down former students. Posting the whereabouts of ex-students is a fantastic and it is wonderful to read about the success of other graduates.
I just though I'd update you as to my movements of late. In 2003/4 I worked as a clapper loader on Fireflies, an ABC drama series, but it was axed after low ratings in its first season. The film industry in Sydney has been very quiet in 2005 and as a result I found myself without an agent when the company folded in June. Nevertheless in the coming weeks I am camera assisting on a feature called 'Guests', being lensed by iRobot's Simon Duggan. As a back up source of income I am currently starting my own high definition production company. I still and will always have ambitions to direct, but those plans are yet to come to fruition.
Paul Hoskins is currently in the USA running an audio visual department at a spring break school camp. He will then travel and end up in London to work. He previously worked on production in Sydney including the Matrix in the SPX dept.
Congrats on 20 years. Please give Ian and Chris my best."
Daniel Schmutzer - Austria - 1998
Out of all our graduates I think we have heard from Daniel most regularly. I have managed to find correspondence dating back to 2001. While he was with us there seemed to be nothing Daniel couldn't manage to acquire for the productions on which he worked. He doesn't seem to have changed - just has much bigger budgets !!!
“Well it is definite that you gave me a good education at APA. My company just bought me some great fancy car and I am getting calls from other production companies offering me jobs. Well, just wanna let you know that I am happy and I am doing well! One day I will come back to see you all.” July, 2001
Daniel joined Partizan, Paris in 2003 and worked on big budget commercials. The company won 14 Lions at Cannes and 7 in 2004. Daniel has now returned to Vienna and started his own production company. Amongst other things he is thinking about undertaking his first documentary. He has asked Jonty to work with him on this.
When I contacted him this year he gave us the following testimonial.
“After working for about 1.5 years in a production company as production assistant I got the chance to study film with APA. Being there I got to understand all processes that are involved in film production. Having had the chance to experience the production world before entering the Academy, it was great for me to learn and understand why my former executive producer decided this or that way while I was working for him. After I left the Academy I knew that I was ready to enter the production world again, but this time I was much better prepared as I had a deep understanding and overall knowledge of the most important areas that a future executive producer needs to have.”
Michael Poulos - Australia - 1997
I spoke with Michael last week and would you believe, can't find the piece of paper on which I jotted down notes on what he has been up to, but I think I can remember most of it. Michael has been working for TVSN for nearly seven years and is now an Executive Producer there. He appears to have the 7 year itch as he and his wife will be moving to England in the autumn and plan to live there for a couple of years. I have suggested he looks up all our pommie graduates !
Stuart Waller - Australia - 1997
Stuart commenced working with Guntis Sics as a sound attachment and worked as sound assistant/boom on Australian feature films such as Passion, James, Tulip, South Pacific and Moulin Rouge and later as sound recordist on TV series such as Water Rats, Young Lions and McLeods Daughters. He did some work on All Saints and is now sound recordist on the second series of Foxtel's 'Love My Way'. Stuart and his wife Tara had a baby boy, Zac, this month. Congratulations!!.
Nino Tamburri - Australia - 1996
“Well a lot has happened since those film school days. I started doing some running work straight away after APA and then entered the camera department in 1997, on an attachment with Andrew Lesnie. Since then I was a loader up until 2001 working on everything from big American shows like the Matrix and Mission Impossible to local and overseas commercials. Currently I am a focus puller and occasional camera operator and working primarily on TV commercials. I have travelled working in every state of Australia and some overseas countries. I mainly work with local DOPs and there are a lot of offshore companies shooting in Australia currently, (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, U.K.) which keeps me very busy. I work about 4 days a week on average. I also shoot stills for productions and other clients. I occasionally see Simon Williams and Rodrigo around.”
Rodrigo Vidal-Dawson - Australia - 1996
Rodrigo sent me a short email with news of himself and few of his other classmates.
“Nino and Simon are in the same boat as I in camera crews, Johnny K is a very well known Unit Manager and I believe Felix is in unit as well - more feature orientated.”
Colin Kerr - Australia - 1985
I had a quick word the other week with Colin Kerr, 1985 graduate who joined the ABC on finishing his course with APA and was lucky enough to be selected for the last of the ABC's trainee programmes and spent 3 years in the various departments. At the end of his training he chose News and has had a rewarding career as Chief Cameraman for News and Current Affairs. He had a surprise meeting with one of his classmates, Jasmin, who won Tropfest with her film when he was assigned to cover the Tropfest winner some years ago.