By Carmel Robinson

Thirteen recent graduates from the WA Screen Academy have received a strong boost to start their career after being selected to either direct or crew on the 26 episodes of the new Channel 7 children’s series Trapped.

The series is currently shooting in Broome and is produced by Bruce Best of Northway Productions, whose relationship with WA Screen Academy (WASA) associate director, Andrew Lewis, bought him into contact with the graduates. Best previously worked with Lewis on Ocean Star.

Best selected WASA graduates Ben Young, Sam Barrett, Claire Marshall and Paul Komadina to each direct 5 or 6 episodes. Other important roles in production have been taken on by Ivan Davidov (editor), Dayne Blundell-Camden (first assistant director) and Ben Pascoe (camera and editing assistant).

Students from WASA have the unique advantage of working the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and the School of Communications and Arts on the Mount Lawley Campus of Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth.

WASA director John Rapsey told Inside Film the style of teaching at the academy focused on developing the narrative skills of the directors and writers, in order for them to be “industry-ready” across a range of formats and genres.

“We really put an emphasis on narrative drama at the Screen Academy when the directors are making short films, rather than experimental projects. They collaborate with WAAPA students to make these films, and as a result our graduates have real skills with directing actors in strong stories. We also insist that our writers write strong roles for the acting students,” he said.

He added that Best is strongly committed to the idea of developing new talent and nurturing them through the process of directing.

“Bruce is a veteran of the industry and is pretty strongly committed to the idea of developing new talent and really nurture them through the process of directing. He believes they are good enough to make such a big leap forward.”

In addition to Best’s directorial choices, ECU Masters graduate of the scriptwriting program, Tracey Defty-Rashid, is the script producer of Trapped and writer of several episodes. ECU film and video graduate Kathryn Dart is script supervisor and in charge of continuity.

Ceiwen Langley, who started off doing a professional placement with the script department, was later hired as the script editing assistant and Screen Academy graduates Lucinda Marty and Ben Young have written episodes for the series.

WAAPA graduates Sandy Mitchell and Jonelle Holman are handling the wardrobe.

Rapsey added, “We are extremely proud of these talented graduates who have gained a foothold in broadcast television so early in their careers.”

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