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Weta Supports Full Scholarship for ICT Graduate School

One of the world’s leading visual effects studios, Weta Digital, and Wellington ICT Graduate School have launched a new scholarship. Designed to encourage New Zealand’s best animation and visual effects talent into the School’s Master of Design Technology programme, students will be able to fast forward their career into the burgeoning visual effects industry.

The scholarship, which is open to all those applying to join the programme, covers the full tuition for the award winner for the duration of their study.

Weta Digital Human Resources Manager Brendan Keys said the scholarship is an extension of an enduring relationship between the company and the school and is intended to highlight the programme and boost applications from those interested in pursuing visual effects as a career.

“We are committed to encouraging Kiwis into the visual effects industry as it is a dynamic field which offers not only work opportunities on major screen projects with the likes of Weta Digital, but also a global career path that can and has taken talented Kiwis all over the world.

“One of the big challenges we face is finding crew who are industry-ready, and this programme is aimed at graduates who have identified design and technology as an area of interest and wish to take the next step with focused, hands on study in this area.”

The Master of Design Technology, delivered by Victoria University, will enter its third year in 2019. The programme is offered by the Wellington ICT Graduate School and is based at the Miramar Creative Centre in the heart of Wellington’s screen industry. It is intended to ready graduates for careers in the visual effects and design technology fields delivered by staff with more than 50 years of experience in the film industry. Backed by support from Weta Digital crew through guest lectures, critique and mentoring, the programme produces industry leaders.

The MDT is headed by Programme Director Raqi Syed, Senior Lecturer at Victoria University. Recently named by the Los Angeles Times as one of 100 Industry professionals who can help fix Hollywood’s Diversity Problem, Raqi was the Senior Technical Director with Weta Digital on Avatar, The Planet of the Apes films, and The Hobbit Trilogy. She also served as a lighting artist for Disney on some of their feature animations and is a leading component in New Zealand’s VR community. Her focus is to foster the relationship between digital technology and ‘narrativity’ installing in her students a real digital cinematography ethos.
The programme enables the students to take part in real-world projects and industry practicums learning such skills as modelling, compositing, 3D animation, motion graphics and rendering.

Lynda Turner, Director of the Wellington ICT Graduate School, is excited that one of the world’s leading and most innovative visual effects studios is lending their support to offer this full scholarship.

“MDT is a dynamic programme that not only creates industry professionals ready and able to work on industry projects, but creative digital cinematographers in their own right. This programme is about creating digital and designed-focused leaders who are able to contribute to and develop their own innovative projects, benefiting the industry and region as a whole.”

The Weta Digital Scholarship covers one year of free tuition towards the Master of Design Technology and is open to all domestic applicants.

The winner will be selected based on the portfolio quality as judged by representatives from Weta Digital and the ICT Graduate School. The School is also supporting the new Weta Digital scholarship with two partial scholarships for the second and third placed applicants.

Applications close on Thursday the 22nd of February 2019.

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