Unreal talent from emerging ākonga

Unreal talent from emerging ākonga

There are plenty of opportunities for NMIT CGI students to showcase their skills as they work together entering festivals.
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Neil Benson (centre front) with NMIT CGI staff and students on location as they shoot their short film for entry in several festivals.

If they are not working on feature films(external link), such as Northspur, Neil Benson’s students are playing around with cutting-edge technology or just getting out in the bush. It’s all in a day’s work for these Bachelor of Computer Generated Imagery(external link) ākonga (students).

Learners often hear about a competition or festival and their entry sparks an exciting journey. This year, a mixture of year 1 to 3 students are creating an animation with Unreal Engine – an application used to make the game Fortnite and Disney's The Mandalorian series.

Last year, the students were finalists, and their short film was screened at Hoyts in Christchurch for the 48-hour film competition.

Neil Benson, CGI tutor, accommodates their enthusiasm and grades their work where applicable.

“The goal is to get them connected with the industry and its people,” he says.

One such opportunity was the class entry in both the world’s largest short film festival, My RØDE Reel, based in Australia, and in our own Top of the South Film Festival.

The three-minute-long film, (on location pictured) featured a large CGI robot playing hide and seek. Viewers initially believe a girl is being chased, adding an element of suspense.

The film was selected for the Gold Reel, where only the most prestigious entries are selected.

The Bachelor of Computer Generated Imagery(external link) programme focuses on using the same software as professionals and connecting with the industry.

Neil is amazed at the student’s talent and is keen to provide a platform for their skills to be seen.

“Let’s just show them [industry] what we can do,” he says.

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