Bus Stop Films creatives join ‘Neighbours’ Training Program

Charlotte Best and Rhys Ballis.

Two participants from Bus Stop Films’ employment program will get to hone their skills on Ramsay Street after being selected for the Neighbours training initiative.

Rhys Ballis and Charlotte Best will take part in learning opportunities at Fremantle’s Forest Hill studios, where docusoap has been produced since it first launched in 1985, while observing filming on location around Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The pair have both been involved in the production of short films, and will work closely with the Neighbours’ team on all facets of the filming process over the coming months.

Ballis described being chosen for the program as a “dream come true”.

“I am absolutely thrilled and thankful for this incredible opportunity to be a part of the Neighbours crew through Bus Stop Films,” he said.

“Not to mention that it’s pretty cool working on a show that my mum grew up watching. Being part of this inclusive and diverse community makes me proud as I can showcase my abilities and build meaningful connections for my future career.”

Best was similarly appreciative, noting she had “felt so supported by Bus Stop Films” during her journey as a young adult in the film and television industry.

“I’m very thankful to have this opportunity to work and train in the industry with such an iconic Australian program and hope I can make the industry proud.”

An initiative of Fremantle and VicScreen, Neighbours training was expanded when the long-running series commenced filming again in April.

‘Neighbours’ cast members Ryan Moloney, Jackie Woodburne and Alan Fletcher.

It is now the largest training enterprise for a single production in Australia, providing fully paid opportunities across above and below-the-line production specialties, including directing, writing, production, postproduction, and on-set crew positions.

Neighbours’ series producer Andrew Thompson said the production was pleased to be able to work with Bus Stop Employment, a team within the inclusive filmmaking organisation Bus Stop Films that worked with deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse people to help them achieve employment goals within the screen industry.

“This is a proud collaboration between Bus Stop Films, VicScreen, and Fremantle,” he said.

“It’s an important education tool that we are confident will lead to more opportunities for training and ongoing employment for people with disabilities in an industry that strives for inclusiveness.

“We are delighted to welcome Rhys and Charlotte and look forward to their input in the new chapter of Neighbours.

Bus Stop Employment general manager Sarah Jane Johnson, who worked with the team to identify roles, prepare candidates for interviews, and support the onboarding process, said assisting candidates like Ballis and Best was what made her job so rewarding.

“The Fremantle and Neighbours team have shown ground-breaking leadership in inclusive recruiting, and I look forward to working with other productions keen to jump on board the bus,” she said.

Neighbours will premiere on Monday, September 18 at 4:30pm on 10 And 6:30pm on 10 Peach And 10 Play. It will launch on Prime Video Australia & New Zealand on September 25.