Students create must-see kids TV with industry mentors

Griffith Film School student Lachlan Macfarlane on set.

Talented creatives from Griffith Film School are pairing up with industry mentors from around the globe to create innovative content for kids.

The Kidscreen Next Wave Mentoring Program connects university animation and film students with mentors from the world’s biggest production houses, studios and streaming services, including the likes of Nickelodeon to Netflix, Apple to Aardman Animations and Brisbane’s own Ludo Studio.

Preparing graduates for career in the film industry

LiveLab creative director Richard Fabb

Richard Fabb is creative director of Griffith Film School’s commercial production arm, LiveLab, and said the mentoring program would help graduating students bridge the gap between university and a career in the screen industry.

“This program offers students at GFS an exceptionally rare chance to work with some of the biggest names in children’s content,” he said.

“We have an existing relationship with Kidscreen’s parent company, Brunico, which has offered generous support to our students in the past at the Asian Animation Summit.

“We’re delighted that Kidscreen invited us to participate in this new initiative, alongside some of the most prestigious film schools in the world.

“It demonstrates our growing international reputation, and the students being mentored may well follow in the footsteps of GFS alumni who have produced shows like Bluey or feature films like The Wishmas Tree.”

A dream come true

Griffith Film School student Lily Mitchell

Griffith Film School student Lily Mitchell is one of the final year students involved in the mentoring program. She is working with Aardman Animations Managing Director Sean Clarke – part of the team behind the beloved British series Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep.

“My mum is from the UK, and my aunt used to send us tapes of English kids TV series – my favourite was always Wallace & Gromit,” she said.

“The fact I’m getting the chance to work with the head of the studio is a dream come true. It’s a big deal for my family – we’re all huge fans.”

Making connections

Lily Mitchell during her broadcasting internship at the Commonwealth Games

Lily has a degenerative eye condition that impairs her sight – but has seized every opportunity that has come her way during her time at Griffith Film School. She interned with NEP Broadcasting during the Commonwealth Games and joined a study exchange to Cambodia.

“I’m made so many connections through Griffith, and especially LiveLab,” she said.

“Most of our lecturers have industry experience and everyone is great about helping line up work experience, giving us access to gear and introducing us to their network of contacts.”

A talented runner who represented Queensland and NSW at para-athletics events, Lily had hoped to represent Australia in the 100m and 200m at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“I have low-vision, which can be a challenge, but it’s never held me back,” she said.

The young filmmaker is keen to create content for kids with a disability.

“I want to help kids going through the same things I did, and I think you can educate and entertain at the same time,” she said.

Hands-on industry experience

Lachlan Macfarlane on set.

Lachlan Macfarlane is being mentored byLudo Studio co-founder and director Charlie Aspinwall – from the creative team behind Bluey.

“It’s been amazing – we’ve had our first meeting and Charlie has given me great advice on projects that I want to pitch,” he said.

“GFS does a great job bringing us these kinds of opportunities and making sure we get this kind of hands-on experience.

“It allows young filmmakers to get their foot in the door, and it makes a career in the industry feel more achievable.”

Creating must-see children’s television

Lachlan said he had been encouraged by the number of production companies in Brisbane creating award-winning content for children.

“There has been a boom in children’s entertainment right here in Brisbane,” he said.

“I think the response to shows like Bluey are challenging the idea that kids content has to play second fiddle to shows produced for adults.”

Nurturing the next generation of storytellers

Kidscreen VP and Publisher Jocelyn Christie

Kidscreen Publisher Jocelyn Christie said the mentoring program filled a gap, with many internships and film festivals cancelled because of COVID-19.

“We are hoping this program will fill that gap and keep our industry well supplied with fresh new talent,” she said.

“We could not be more grateful to our mentors for generously sharing their time and wisdom to help us meet that goal.”