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Learn the essentials of filmmaking at Nextwave Online


Sharlene King
29 July 2020
Mirco Guidon behind the scenes
On the set with director and cinematographer Mirco Guidon (credit: Mirco Guidon).

Screenwave International Film Festival (SWIFF) and Southern Cross University have partnered to take SWIFF’s Nextwave regional youth film development program to all budding filmmakers across Australia - from Coffs Harbour to Karratha.

Called Nextwave Online, the new national online film education portal educates young regional Australians with basic filmmaking skills over a series of ten 20-minute episodes hosted at

Access to Nextwave Online is available to individuals wanting to learn filmmaking, school teachers wanting to engage their students with digital media, and councils wanting to bring new filmmaking skills to their community. A 12-month subscription service is available for purchase for individuals, schools and councils. Young people in NSW eligible for the NSW Creative Kids voucher program can access the program for free through the use of their voucher.

Through the ongoing strategic partnership with Southern Cross University, SWIFF will be launching the Film for the Future program which will provide fully-subsidised access to a number of young people in regional Australia. First Nations students are a key focus for the Film for the Future Program, providing new opportunities to learn filmmaking skills to tell their stories, whilst providing insight into the educational pathways required to pursue film studies at a tertiary level.

With access to filmmaking technology skyrocketing in recent years, understanding the nuts and bolts of how to use that technology is the aim of this Nextwave regional youth film education program.

Mr Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement) at Southern Cross, said the University was excited to sign a new three-year partnership with SWIFF to bring Nextwave Online to students in their homes or in the classroom.

“This series of short courses will foster and support the creativity of young Australians, giving them the tools to tell their own stories from all corners of this vast continent,” said Mr Roche.

“We hope some may take that experience further and study film and digital media at university as they pursue a career in the creative industries. We look forward to Nextwave Online uncovering the next Baz Luhrmann, Warwick Thornton, Rachel Perkins or Rachel Griffiths.”

Director and cinematographer Mirco Guidon, a 2015 and 2016 Nextwave Youth Film Awards winner and Southern Cross University media graduate, said the short course was a fantastic initiative.

“As a young person who’s interested in filmmaking the best thing you can do is just get out there and shoot. Shoot something with your friends and then show it to people,” said Mirco. “Going through the process of creating over and over again you’ll find that you see the world a certain way and maybe you’ll enjoy doing it enough to pursue it as a career.”

Mirco said there was no singular path to follow in developing a career as a filmmaker.

“I made short films, submitting them to local festivals including Nextwave (called Rec Ya Shorts at the time), watched countless hours of YouTube tutorials and at the same time studied Media at Southern Cross Uni which gave me a strong theoretical foundation. It’s a constant process of learning, but it started with just getting started. With getting out there and shooting.”

The 2020 Nextwave short film competition closes for entries on September 21, with all competition guidelines available on the website. The best short films will be screened at the Nextwave Youth Film Awards in Coffs Harbour next January during the 2021 Screenwave International Film Festival.

Kate Howat, Co-Director of the Screenwave International Film Festival said" “Our vision is for young regional people across the country to have filmmaking skills to help them in their careers and in their lives. Thanks to Southern Cross University for supporting that vision.”



Nextwave is the largest youth film development program in regional Australia, consisting of an in-person workshop tour, the Nextwave short film competition, the Nextwave Youth Film Awards held every January, and the Nextwave Youth Week Film Festival which travels to over 20 regional communities each April.

Due to COVID-19, the Coffs Harbour-based film festival team have elected to launch a new national online film education portal, called Nextwave Online, in partnership with Southern Cross University.

The Nextwave short film competition is open for submissions to all young Australians aged 10 to 25 living in a regional, rural, or remote community. The best short films will screen at the Nextwave Youth Film Awards as part of the Screenwave International Film Festival in Coffs Harbour next January.