(L-R): AFTRS CEO Neil Peplow, Lester Bostock, AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz and David White.
Indigenous media pioneer Lester Bostock and Academy Award winning sound designer David White have been awarded honorary degrees (Doctor of Arts) from AFTRS.
Previous honorary degree recipients include Darren Dale, Phillip Noyce, George Miller, Baz Luhrmann, John Edwards and Jan Chapman.
Bostock, commonly known as ‘Uncle Lester’, is a filmmaker, mentor, advocate and Bundjalung Elder. He was one of the founding members of Black Theatre in the 1970s and helped to form Radio Redfern, now Koori Radio, in the 80s. He was the first Aboriginal presenter on SBS Radio and was part of the first Aboriginal program team on SBS Television with Rhoda Roberts.
His experience as an associate producer on Lousy Little Sixpence (1983) resulted in him pushing for film and television training for Indigenous people. He has written policies and protocols on filming in Aborigianl communities and for Indigenous Employment.
In the 90s, Uncle Lester ran accelerated training workshops at AFTRS in television. His legacy has helped to pave the way fo the AFTRS Indigenous Unit.
Bostock has received numerous awards for community service over the years including a Centenary Medal, the NSW Law and Justice Foundation Award for Aboriginal Justice and in 2010 was the NAIDOC Elder of the Year.
AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz said Bostock’s training programs have been instrumental in the increase in Indigenous drama production among emerging filmmakers.
“His guidance and tenacity over the years has contributed greatly to the number of extraordinarily talented Indigenous filmmakers in the industry today,” she said.
White, whose career spans some 30 years, was the first Australian to be nominated and win the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road. White has worked on productions including Farscape, The Railway Man, Happy Feet 2 and Snow Monkey.
The sound designer, editor and mixer was a BA student at AFTRS in the early 1980s, but never received a certificate as he was too busy working on other students’ projects. After studying he co-founded Counterpoint Sound with AFTRS peers.
“David White’s commitment to AFTRS is reflected in the fact that he has taught courses, mentored and hired its graduates and is currently advising on the development of an innovation research project involving binaural technology. He is an inspiration and advocate for sound editing in Australia,” said Schultz.
“Lester and David are two exceptional recipients of the AFTRS’ Honorary Degree and take their rightful place amongst their peers who have been similarly recognised.”