Master/Apprentice round one graduate Anastasia Comelli with 1st AD mentor Brad Lanyon on set of 'First Day' season two. (Photo: Matt Byrne)

The South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC) and Mercury CX have launched a second round of the Master/Apprentice Mentorship Program, which pairs experienced heads of department with emerging crew members.

Last year’s inaugural edition saw more than 60 per cent of participants go on to secure paid crew work on major productions.

Among them is Anastasia Comelli, who since finishing the program under 1st assistant director (AD) mentor Brad Lanyon, has worked on See-Saw Films feature The Unknown Man, BBC One, HBO Max and Stan series The Tourist and season two of ABC and Hulu series First Day, which she wrapped earlier this month as 3rd AD.

“Master/Apprentice is a really special program, it allows a lot of emerging crew like myself to see where they want to be in film; there’s people that really take their time to teach you and they really want to see you do well,” she said.

“I was previously working in hospitality dreaming about working in film as an assistant director and now I finally am, with major credits under my belt.”

SAFC CEO Kate Croser said South Australia’s heads of department had wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity to develop new talent in their fields of expertise.

“In this industry, so much is learned ‘on the job’ and the practical experience gained in a production environment is important to enhance the outcomes of training and education pathways,” she said.

“Along with our Attachments scheme and Skilling SA training initiative currently underway with 50 up-and-coming crew, the Master/Apprentice program is just one of the many innovative ways the SAFC is supporting the creation of screen industry jobs for South Australians.”

Comelli’s mentor Lanyon said as well as being a valuable source of income during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program had been rewarding in other ways.

“By sharing my skills and experience and introducing my mentee to my screen industry networks, I’ve helped develop new South Australian crew talent to take the next steps in their career,” he said.

Applications for South Australian HODs to be mentors open today August 23 and close September 8 2021. Mentors will be paid a fee. Applications for mentees will open in September 2021.

The Master/Apprentice Mentorship Program round two will take place across October and November, 2021.

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