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Swinburne Online student project selected for New York film festival

Swinburne Online media studies student Ciara Hehir has had her music video officially selected out of over 400 submissions for the 2015 Winter Film Awards Indie Film Festival (WFA) in New York.

Ciara said the clip, which focusses on Sydney based band Nova & The Experience’s song “Shipwrecked”, was created as a project for her online degree.

“I had to create a film as part of my Communication (Media Studies) degree and had an idea about doing a music video.

“I jumped on to Triple J Unearthed and found the band on there and sent them an email with a pitch based on what I envisaged for the song. They agreed and I went to work both directing and producing the video.”

To create a world fitting for ‘Shipwrecked’, Ciara was inspired by ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, and the lost boys of ‘Hook’ to bring the lyrics to life through childhood adventure and wonderment.

Given it was a project for her degree, Ciara said the music video was created on an extremely low budget and she called in many favours in order to put the piece together.

“There was a pretty fast turnaround for the project as the study period is only three months long. I hadn’t organised something on this scale, so it was great experience contacting national parks and pulling together favours from friends and learning as I go.

“I live in Sydney near a make-up college so I was able to get help from students studying there. In the end it was really about students helping students as I had a very low budget of around $700.”

In November, the music clip was awarded “Best Cinematography Music Video” for 2014 Australian Independent Music video Awards (IMVA).

Ciara, who graduates from Swinburne in April, says she hopes the exposure will line up more freelancing work for her, but for the most part she is excited to see her work acknowledged. 

“It’s bizarre, I looked at the other clips at the WFA and I am very honoured to be amongst them.

“I don’t know how it all came together. I basically had minimal crew members and a low budget but if you want to make something happen you can.

“I’m just so glad I got the opportunity to do the project, it gave me a great sense of seeing a project from the very beginning to the very end – and I’m so proud that it has turned out the way that it has.”

The music video will screen February 25 at the WFA opening night and run throughout the duration of the three day festival.