It’s ‘lights, camera, action!’ for entrants into the Independent Schools Victoria’s Student Film Festival

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The entry deadline for the Independent Schools Victoria’s Student Film Festival is fast approaching, but there’s still time for budding film-makers from all schools in Victoria – independent, government and Catholic – to submit their own short films.

The festival celebrates learning across the curriculum through the exciting and dynamic medium of short film and invites students to investigate ideas, tell stories, document learning in any area of study and then express the complexity of their thinking through a range of genres and creative, technical approaches.

Sharing personal perspectives

“The student film festival is an established highlight of the events Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) holds under the auspices of its Arts Learning Festival, which we’ve hosted for students from all school sectors – independent, government and Catholic – since 2017,” says Michelle Green, chief executive of Independent Schools Victoria. “The film festival has been a popular part of the Arts Learning Festival since 2019.”

In that time, says Ms Green, it has attracted “more than 230 entries from students in all year levels – from early years to year 12”.

Entries for this year close on 1 September and we’re confident of drawing a similar number of entries as earlier years,” she told The Bursar. “The film festival showcases students’ creative and technical skills, and the dedication of their teachers.”

Through digital media, students can share personal perspectives and integrate these unique insights as they explore diverse and sometimes challenging issues.

Arts learning is integral

“The film festival, our annual Student Poetry Competition, and the broader Arts Learning Festival, all reflect ISV’s commitment to the fundamental importance of the arts in a well-rounded education,” Ms Green says.

Film submissions are invited from all year levels of both primary and secondary school and can be created by individual filmmakers or as collaborative class projects.

All films will be viewed by a selection panel to shortlist entries for screening in term four.

The People’s Choice voting will commence on Wednesday, 4 October. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, 8 November for each category, including People’s Choice awards. Prizes and certificates will be sent to each school.

Dive into film

For students thinking about giving this year’s film festival a go, Firbank Grammar School teacher David De Meena recommends diving in headfirst.

“Be passionate about film,” he says. “Not only making it, but watching it, critiquing it, engaging with it and talking about it with others.”

This is the advice teachers from Al Taqwa College, Firbank Grammar School and Huntingtower School had to share:

Looking for inspiration? The winners from last year’s festival are available to watch on the festival website.

What are the year level categories?

  • Year 12
  • Year 11
  • Middle years: seven – 10
  • Junior years: three – six
  • Early years: Prep – year two

What is the recommended length?

Five minutes.

Longer films may be accepted but may need to be edited for screening if shortlisted.

What is the deadline for entries?

Entries close on Friday 1 September 2023.

For more information, including rules about adhering to important copyright guidelines regarding use of music, as well as the technical specifications required, visit the Arts Learning Festival website.
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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]