AFTRS announces the Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship

AFTRS Bachelor of Arts: Screen Production students.

AFTRS, Greg Basser’s Gentle Giant Media Group and the Onbass Fund today announced a new scholarship to support students to study at AFTRS.

The Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship will enable students who show great merit and who need financial assistance to study at AFTRS.

Valued at $22,500 for each recipient, the first scholarship will be awarded to a student commencing the Bachelor of Arts: Screen Production in 2020. Thereafter it will be awarded annually.

Basser launched the Gentle Giant Media Group after stepping down as CEO of the Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, with the aim of partnering with major US studios and independent producers, matching projects with creative and technical talent in Australia and co–producing for both film and TV.

The Onbass Fund established by Basser and his wife Kiera O’Neill supports education and youth focused not-for-profit entities and programs in Australia and the US, including the Onbass Fellowship for Australian graduates attending the American Film Institute’s AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. Cinematographer Meg White is the inaugural recipient.

“This scholarship furthers Kiera and my commitment to promote the Australian film industry and in particular assist in the development of Australian talent (both in front and behind the camera) for the global film and TV industries,” Basser tells IF.

“It allows gifted storytellers who may not be able to afford to study full time in Sydney the opportunity to do so and ties in well with the Screen Australia Onbass Fellowship at AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles – assisting young Australian talent to attend Australia’s premier film school as undergraduates and then sending Australian graduates to do their Masters at the #1 film school in the world.”

AFTRS acting CEO Georgie McClean said: “We’re committed to finding students from around the country, from different backgrounds and socio-economic circumstances, to ensure Australian screen stories are representative of the great diversity of our community. We are very grateful to Greg, Kiera and to the Gentle Giant Media Group and Onbass Fund for their generosity in helping AFTRS achieve this ambition.”

Basser served as production liaison for New Line and Warner Bros. on the James Wan-produced Mortal Kombat reboot, facilitating the collaboration with the South Australian Film Corporation and the SA Government to bring the project to the state.

“This is a very exciting step for the Australian film industry as it adds another Australian destination for Hollywood and other global film industries to produce films for the global marketplace,” he says.

Gentle Giant is also focused on China Australia co-productions such as The Whistleblower, which was filmed almost entirely in Victoria and is due for release in China, Australia and elsewhere later this year.

Basser was the Australian producer of the film and Gentle Giant Media Group through its affiliate Whistle Movie Productions was the Australian co-producer.

He is working on a number of Hollywood projects which will be produced in Australia with Australian filmmaking talent, to be announced in due course.