Nextwave Youth Film Awards 2021

Presented by Southern Cross University, the Nextwave Youth Film Awards, hosted during SWIFF'21, awarded and lauded young filmmakers from across regional Australia, for an evening to remember. Find the winners, highlights and photo gallery below.

Awarding over $30,000 in prizes, seeing the big screen premiere of 22 incredible short films and hosting filmmakers travelling from across Australia for the red carpet event is part of what made the Nextwave Youth Film Awards a resounding success. With live music performance by Hannah Harlen, and hosted by MC Nick Hardcastle, NYFA was the result of over a year of hard work, creativity and storytelling from young regional filmmakers, with over 60 incredible entries made into the 2020 competition. 

The 22 finalist films were created throughout 2020, under the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 Global Pandemic – filmmakers responded creatively, with the festival seeing smaller teams making awesome films, unbelievable animations, and documentaries created by remote crews. 

Much of the success of the filmmaking process throughout 2020 can be attributed to an increased interest from young Australians in finding new hobbies, and seeking new avenues through which to have an outspoken voice. Assisting in fostering these pathways is a key goal of the Nextwave Regional Youth Film program, so whilst in previous years the Nextwave Team have travelled regional NSW teaching in school workshops, 2020 was the year to expand in the online education space.

Nextwave Online Workshops – built from an in person template crafted over 5 years – grew over the course of 2020, adapting from a planned micro course in beginner filmmaking, into an over 3-hour, ten part online program delving into the fundamentals of short film. From finding inspiration to finalising the edit and everything in between – including masterclasses from industry professionals on sound, camera operation and shot composition. 

After understanding the basics, filmmakers aged 10-25 were asked to reflect on the question ‘what’s next?’ in a short film under 5 minutes. Responses got creative! Interpreting the prompt to craft films than peak into perfect iso days, invented new worlds, made meta-fantasy commentary, alongside shocking thrillers, killer comedies, thoughtful video essays and many more completely unique stories.

With the Nextwave Youth Film Awards moved as part of SWIFF’s COVID-safe move from January to April, filmmakers travelled from across the state, and as far as Dubbo and Toowoomba to see the big screen premiere of their films on Sunday April 18th, and attended an Accelerator Workshop hosted by Nextwave alumni, filmmaker Mirco Guidon – connecting with new ideas and fellow finalists.

All Nextwave 2020 Competition Winners

Best Sound – Day Dreamer

Best Actor – I Don’t Want to Play Anymore

Best Script – Brain Storm

Best Editor – Rural Quest

Best Cinematography – Rural Quest

Best Director – The Switch

Young Regional Filmmaker – Remember the Waltzing, Matilda?

Young Regional Filmmaker Runner Up – Feeling Lost

SWIFF Commendation Award – The Perfect Day in Isolation , Devour

Best Film 10-14 – The Beach

Best Film 15-17 – Brain Storm

Best Film 18-25 – Come Downstairs

Best Primary School – Uki Public School

Best Secondary School – Woolgoolga High School

Peoples Choice Award – The Perfect Day in Isolation

Nextwave in 2021

Filmmakers aged 10-25 are now invited to produce a short film, under 5 minutes, that includes the years item ‘Pineapple’ – interpret creatively, get your script and your camera, and get filming!

The Nextwave Online program also returns in 2021, with online workshops that detail the full filmmaking process, from idea to edit, and everything in between.

Nextwave is also available as a screening package for regional communities to amplify youth voices with celebration screening events – find more information about screening the Nextwave Youth Film program via Film Outreach Australia here

Once again, congratulations to each and every filmmaker that got creative in 2020, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

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