Stephen Osborne, 31, New York Film Academy Australia
Director/writer Stephen graduated from the New York Film Academy Australia (NYFA) on the Gold Coast with a Diploma of Screen and Media (Filmmaking) in 2017. His 2018 short film Roommate Wanted for the End of the World went on to win a swag of international festival awards, and the accolades and the cameras have just kept rolling. His first feature film, Strangeville, a sci-fi dramedy, came out in 2020 and he has just started shooting his second feature, a sci-fi thriller, in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Q. Where did your interest in filmmaking begin?
I guess I always liked movies. My fondest memories when I was growing up in Stanthorpe was movie night with my family on Friday nights. My parents would let us go into Video Ezy and give us $10, and we’d get five weekly movies or whatever. Twister was a film that really stood out to me. I was just craving to know how it was all done, the atmosphere, the sound design, the storytelling. And so I fell in love with film.
Q. Why did you choose to study at NYFA?
Growing up in a country town there was really no ability to be in the arts; no-one was talking about filmmaking possibilities or even the visual arts. So it took me a long time before I actually started studying film. I ended up moving to Toowoomba to study multimedia for a little bit but realised the university structure wasn’t for me. I went into catering for a little while. I went into retail work for about seven years. I had a friend who went to NYFA and he was just raving to me about living on the Gold Coast and the academy itself, how hands-on it was. He said, “Mate, you should really look into this.” So I quit my job and moved to the Coast to study filmmaking.
Q. What were the best aspects of your time studying on the Gold Coast?
At NYFA your intake becomes a kind of a family because not only do you film your own projects using your classmates as crew, but you work on their films as well. And the beautiful thing about it is, I’m still in contact with the majority of my classmates and the majority of them are actively working in film.
Q. Will you continue to work locally?
I have no urge to go anywhere else. The Gold Coast attracts so many creative, talented people. Why go anywhere else? Not only do you have the study opportunities here but you’ve got a city council that is very supportive of the film industry. The arts are big on the Gold Coast. I can’t rave enough about HOTA (Home of the Arts), which has free activities. And of course the Gold Coast Film Festival is a spectacular event and so supportive of locally made films.
Q. What would you say to someone thinking about studying film on the Gold Coast?
One reason to study in this neck of the woods is purely because the industry is here now. We’re booked out with productions. The universities have connections to a lot of the leading industry people coming to work here. They are coming into the classrooms and sharing their experiences and knowledge and wisdom. For example, when they were shooting Young Rock, we had the director, Jeffrey Walker, come in and do a masterclass. Also, for filmmakers, the Gold Coast not only has beautiful weather but beautiful locations – Mount Tamborine has some of the best rainforests you will ever see, there are the beaches, the city just down the road. Everything’s here.