A still from Manuel Mota's 2012 Advanced Diploma Thesis film, Authentic.

The Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media: it’s never too late to return to Sydney Film School

A still from Manuel Mota's 2012 Advanced Diploma Thesis film, Authentic.

A still from Manuel Mota’s 2012 Advanced Diploma Thesis film, Authentic.

Thinking of coming back to Sydney Film School after time away? You are not alone. Whether it’s a simple gap year or a return after a four year absence, we have the perfect avenue for a Diploma graduate to return to the SFS fold: the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media.

We pride ourselves on the Advanced Diploma course, which was introduced as a means for students to deepen their knowledge of film theory and develop a specialisation beyond the fundaments of filmmaking instilled through the standard Diploma course. Many aspiring producers, production designers, editors, producers, cinematographers and sound designers have honed their crafts in the Advanced Diploma course since its inception. A key component of the Advanced Diploma is its industry work placement, an inroads to further professional work in your field of choice.

The Advanced Diploma course is special, but it does not have to be undertaken immediately following the Diploma. Over the weekend we spoke to Quais Waseeq, who is currently in the last stages of the February 2014 Advanced Diploma intake and is due to graduate at the Sydney Film School Festival on the 9th of December.

Quais graduated from the Diploma course in 2012, and took a year away from education. He spent the first half of 2012 traveling and working in non-film jobs. In the second half of the year he got back to work on some short films and a music video. He helped out on many of 2013’s slate of AD thesis films and, in November, he worked as a camera assistant on SFS teacher Louise Wadley’s feature All About E.

Quais had always planned to do another course after completing his Diploma, but he felt that he needed to take a year off. The Advanced Diploma course offered Quais the opportunity to focus on cinematography, and his extensive work with AD students in 2013 served only to cement his desire to re-enrol at Sydney Film School.

The good news is that the Advanced Diploma course is working out nicely for Quais: he is constantly busy as a DP or camera assistant and is spending much of his time on set, “which I find a lot of fun”. Paul Black’s editing classes and Ben Ferris’ thesis class have been particular boons – ultimately, Quais has enjoyed the Advanced Diploma course.

Quais plans to find industry work as a camera assistant and work with experienced DPs, while doing DP work on short films. Quais also intends on developing and directing some of the scripts that he has written, but “the main focus is getting more experience on bigger projects and more industry connections.”

We also spoke to Jackson Fraser, who returned to do the AD course in 2013 after graduating from the Diploma in 2008. Jackson spoke warmly of Sydney Film School, saying that he came back after going on to a tertiary institution, where he felt that the work was too academic, that they were “teaching [me] to be a teacher.” Sydney Film School, he says, emphasises practical work, and he felt like he was getting things done.

After a sojourn to America, the land of his birth, Jackson has just returned to Australia and is keen to get working – and has already reconnected with some of his former SFS comrades in arms.

Sydney Film School values its community and welcomes anyone who wishes to study with us. If you’d like to learn more about the Advanced Diploma, come to the Advanced Diploma Information Night on Thursday, November 13. At 6pm for a 6:30 start, it will be a relaxed and informal evening where Kathryn Milliss, our Director of Education, and Ben Ferris, our Artistic Director, will walk you through the course and answer any questions that you may have.

The Advanced Diploma is not just for people who have completed the Diploma of Screen & Media at Sydney Film School. If you have a friend with industry experience or filmmaking know-how, bring them along to the Info Night and they may discover that they, too, can fine-tune their own skill set in the 2015 intake. We look forward to seeing you again, both this week and next year!


First round applications for the Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (CUF60107) close Friday November 21.

Please click here for more info on the course and details on how to apply.

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