Top Tips: Vital Lessons To Learn From The Judging Panel

Top Tips: Vital Lessons To Learn From The Judging Panel

Hey Filmmakers,

Curious to know a little more about those judges we announced a few newsletters back?

Well, here’s the low-down, from film recommendations, how they got started in the filmmaking biz, to what lessons you can take away and use to improve your own movie making!

You’ve got just over a month until your films are due, so we hope this serves as some inspiration to get you excited to start, continue or finish your short film! Remember that the team here are more than happy to watch a draft cut and give you some feedback, you can reply to this email with any questions!

Judging Panel

Sascha Ettinger-Epstein is an award winning documentarian with an eye for realism. 


We’re excited to have a documentary filmmaker on the panel, especially since this year we will have a documentary prize! We think the lesson you can take away from Sascha’s films is to keep a really open mind while making your film (documentary or narrative!). Some of Sascha’s most exciting films happened because she met someone completely unique whilst working on other projects! 

Take this skill away and remember to listen to any ideas that your friends might bring to you about your film. Always be on the lookout for things that will bring new spark to your short film.

Soda_Jerk are a two person art collective who use editing to blur the lines of film and art.


Soda_Jerk make crazy cool art films. Check out The Was, an almost 14 minute music video they made in collaboration with Aussie band The Avalanches. Your editing might not be at that level yet, but they’ve turned an interest in mash-ups into a full on dedication that has seen them exhibit their feature film Terror Nullius (pictured above) in countries, festivals and galleries all over the world. 

We think the lesson to learn from Soda_Jerk is that hard work pays off, and even more than that, it pays off to be the weirdest and way-out creative in the room. Never shy away from an idea that you think other people will judge you for- just have fun!

Mark Grentell is a director and writer behind Aussie comedy hits like The Merger.


Mark Grentell’s two films, Backyard Ashes and The Merger, are critically acclaimed comedies, and both were shot near Mark’s hometown, in Wagga Wagga! We love this quote from Mark about how he felt when he saw the theatre production of The Merger (which he adapted for the film):

“It was a story about country football and about a regional town of Bodgy Creek. I grew up in Uranquinty which is a population of 700 people and I lived opposite a wheat silo my whole life. I think your subconscious permeates your creativity, and when Damian was telling the stories of ‘The Merger’ I could just connect with the imagery. Cinematically I knew what Bodgy Creek looked like with never having seen it before … It just connected with me instantly.” (IF Magazine)

Nextwave Youth Film Festival is a competition exclusively for Regional Australians like you, and we hope you see that as something to be proud of! Wherever you live is completely unique, from the people to the scenery, so celebrate that in your film! Utilise the landscape around you, just like Mark, and draw inspiration and meaning from where you live. 

We hope you’ve found something to inspire you from our Judging Panel- remember they all started where you are now! 

Happy Filmmaking, and good luck- we’re in countdown mode till September 23rd!

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