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Inaugural Winner Robin Laing WiFaT Scholarship


Inaugural Winner for Robin Laing / Women in Film and Television (Wellington) Scholarship

Women in Film and Television (Wellington) is pleased to announce the recipient of the first Robin Laing/Women in Film and Television (Wellington) Scholarship.

Robin Laing, along with the Honourable Steve Maharey, will attend a ceremony to be held at The Film School in Newtown, on Thursday 12th February, to present the award to Alexandra Bishop.

Alexandra Bishop enrolled as a student at The Film School in July 2003 and is expecting to graduate this year. She has worked in Paris as a bilingual journalist and for hi-tech company Tebaldo, where she combined her language and design skills to create ways to use the latest digital options to achieve seamless interaction between large corporations and their potential clients. She has also worked as a language tutor and as an assistant at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

She sees these experiences as a factor that will help her make a unique contribution to the New Zealand screen production industry, particularly in an increasingly globally connected world.

“I firmly believe that in the future my international outlook is what will distinguish me as a valuable participant in the New Zealand industry. I wish to be a part of this industry and participate in projects that concern the New Zealand community.”

Although Alexandra expects to have to go back overseas in order to make contacts and to gain experience with adequately funded films, she looks forward to working in the New Zealand screen industries, especially if it becomes easier to work on projects in this country with larger budgets than have been possible than in the past.

Alexandra’s personal preferences in movies run to European and independent fiction films. “I enjoy the different feeling that these film-makers are able to communicate to an audience.” Her favourite directors include Akira Kurasawa, John Waters, and Gaylene Preston.

From 2004 on, the Scholarship will provide support for one woman each year. Applications will be accepted annually each January from women who have enrolled at The Film School in Newtown. The deciding factor will be the applicants’ demonstration of the potential to take a significant place in the screen production industries.

The Scholarship is named in honour of Robin Laing, who among other things is a founding member of WIFT in New Zealand, chair of The Film School’s Trustees, and a role model for young film-makers as the producer of films such as Mr Wrong, Bread and Roses, War Stories, and Perfect Strangers.

“I was really pleased to see the high standard of the applications for the scholarship,” Robin says. “It showed that there is a great future for women in this industry, with young women aptly demonstrating the type of creativity, flair and resourcefulness that they will need to be successful.”

Women in Film and Television is an organisation that aims to recognise and support women in the film and television industries, and to provide an informal network for members to help each other in their careers. WIFT (Wellington) has recently expanded its coverage to include a student membership category. It also sponsors events that are open to the general public.

Alexandra expects to use the $1000 from the scholarship to defray expenses during her last two terms at The Film School. She says that she’ll be able “to focus on the demands of school without having to seek part-time employment.” She has also won a one-year full membership in Women in Film and Television, to commence after she graduates.


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