Sydney College of the Arts launches weekend film masterclass

20 August, 2015 by Press Release

The University of Sydney’s contemporary art school, Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), has announced a weekend film masterclass program that will run for the first time in tandem with the Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) next month.



The inaugural two-day program, featuring some of the best local and international talent in independent filmmaking, will run at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney, during SUFF on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September.


Dr Stefan Popescu, SCA lecturer in screens arts and SUFF co-director, said: “The SUFF masterclasses will explore traditional elements of filmmaking, alongside current and emerging trends in cinematic arts.


“The program will be a fantastic sampler of the skills and tools that can be used to extend artistic boundaries in contemporary filmmaking, which we teach in the Master of Moving Image at SCA.


“It will stretch the imagination of participants and offer guidance on developing their project, so that filmmakers know exactly where their film is going well before the cameras start rolling,” he said.


Trends in drone cinematography, special effects and pyrotechnics, online distribution and crowd sourcing, are some of the topics of the masterclasses. Film directors, scriptwriters and film artists will share their personal stories and latest tips, tools and techniques of the trade.

International award-winning screenwriter and film veteran Marc Rosenberg, recognised for many successful films includingDecember BoysDingo and Elevator over the last 35 years, will run a scriptwriting class to help writers to develop a viable script.


Richard Sowada (ACMI), Neil Foley (Monster Pictures/Monster Fest) and Dean Francis (Filmmaker/Producer/Exhibitor ofDrown in 2015) will discuss new directions in film distribution and strategies to action before, during and after film production.

Brothers Tristan and Kiah Roache-Turner who released Wyrmwood last year will retrace the concept, production and distribution of their hit


Australian Zombie film, which reached number one on NetFlix in the US last month but is now one of the most pirated films of 2015.

Victoria Cocks, one of the creators of Wastelander Panda (2012) – an idea that started as a joke in a university lecture but went on to become a TV series on VOD platforms, DVD and the ABC in Australia – will reveal her story behind the project’s overnight viral success and how to build an audience online.


Emmy award-winning make-up artist Chad Atkinson will discuss his 20-year career as a special FX artist – from Los Angeles to Sydney. Atkinson will share ways of creating cheap but effective blood and gore, including his own recipe for imitation blood.


John Sanderson (One Take Wonders Australia) who has worked on several Australian TV shows including Blue Heelers,Good News WeekMad as Hell and Anzac Girls, will run a class on physical SFX and pyrotechnics. He will reveal the principles for creating wind, rain, fire, smoke, fog, water explosions, electrical effects and gun shots.


Independent filmmaker Kevin Khachan will talk about his latest tool – the drone – that he believes every filmmaker must have in their cinematographic arsenal. With the evolution of small, cheap, more powerful cameras and drones, all filmmakers can now capture the shots that once-upon-a-time were exclusive to the big Hollywood budgets.


Sydney film director Platon Theodoris, who has directed music videos and TV commercials in 10 countries and has earned two MTV Awards, will provide insight to writing, producing and directing his film Alvin's Harmonious World of Opposites (2015). Drawing on his TVC experience, he will discuss the struggle between personal creativity and commercial sensibilities and how filmmakers combine the two.


Event Details:
What: SUFF masterclasses
When: 19-20 September (12-8pm Sat; 1-5pm Sun – 90 minute classes)
Where: The Factory Theatre, 
105 Victoria Road, Marrickville
$16 adults and $14 concession (per class)
SUFF website

Media enquiries: Mandy Campbell, 0481 012 742,

Image: Magdalena Pacheco, House Taken Over, 2015. Graphic by Stefan Fähler.

About SUFF
Now in its 9th year, the annual festival of more than 100 provocative, avant-garde films transgresses the status quo and challenges traditional conventions of filmmaking. SUFF brings to the screen artistic features and shorts from local and international filmmakers, providing an avenue for exhibition, exposure and critical discussion – however controversial or challenging the content. Festival founders and co-directors Stefan Popescu and Katherine Berger launched SUFF in 2007. Almost a decade on, the festival has grown to become an important launching pad for local and international filmmakers.