The Australian Online Video Awards has launched!


Entries are now open for the Australian Online Video Awards (the OVAs). The national awards, presented by Open Channel and, aim to recognise the work of online video content makers in Australia.

Supported by Film Victoria, Screen Network, FilmInk and Pozible, the OVAs will showcase leading talent in the online space.

Significant career-making prizes are on offer, including a trip to YouTube’s Creator Space in Los Angeles to learn from the world leaders in online video production and marketing, supported by YouTube.

Patron for the awards, Jehan Ratnatunga, is an alumni of Open Channel and was then hired by YouTube’s LA team to head up strategic projects.

Jehan said “Today, Australian online video creators are drawing huge audiences – often on par with their film and television counterparts. The Australian Online Video Awards is a fantastic way to recognise them for their creative works.”

The award categories are:

Best one-off Comedy

Best Comedy Series

Best one-off Drama

Best Drama Series

Best Factual Series

Best Channel

Best Animation

Best Music Video

Best Performance

Best Direction

Best Writing

Best Collaboration

Innovation Award

Best Overall

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 14 October at Docklands Studios, Melbourne, in a celebration showcasing the winners work in a fun and interactive way.

Open Channel’s Executive Director Marc Gracie said “For the past few years Open Channel has responded to the emerging Victorian screen sector with courses and programs that grow creativity and skills using online distribution models. Finding an audience online and testing your creative instincts can be immediate, fruitful and help develop solid professional screen careers. These awards allow us to evangelize the net as the predominant screen development tool.”

The entry and judging process will be coordinated by, a website launched by Founder Simon Britton to provide screen content creators with a platform to develop audiences for their work.

“At, we’ve been helping content makers connect with audiences for the last five years. In that time, we’ve seen a massive increase in the quality and quantity of online episodic video. Everyone entering the OVAs will have a special opportunity to have their work viewed by a panel of industry leaders. The OVAs will make a huge difference to industry awareness of the great work being done by Australian content creators,” Mr Britton said.

The awards celebration will take place as part of Open Channel’s ‘Generation Next’ conference.

Key dates: Entries open Monday 7 July

Entries close Friday 15 August

Finalists announced Monday 15 September

Winners announced Tuesday 14 October


The OVAs is on Twitter @OVAsAust

and on Facebook

For interviews or more information please contact David Read, Hot Ticket PR, 0402 099 222

Directing Actors Masterclass July



Are you an emerging Director looking to develop your craft in working with Actors? We are running a three day intensive course with Director Alkinos Tsilimidos, on his unique process of working with actors that will help you develop your preparation and communication skills as you workshop your script with a professional cast.

You will learn how to:

  • Analyse a script
  • Cast and audition
  • Elicit performance
  • Find your directing style
  • Collaborate with actors
  • Work with casting Directors
  • Conduct auditions
  • Conduct rehearsals and block through on set
  • Create the right atmosphere on set
  • Affect performance in the edit

Acclaimed independent director, writer and producer Alkinos Tsilimidos has been critically acclaimed for his six feature films, has directed many of Australia’s finest screen actors and is rightly considered one of Australia’s most important contemporary directors. He is widely known as ‘the actor’s director’ for his ability to deliver striking performances of raw emotional intensity and for his uncompromising approach to telling stories of social relevance with honesty and integrity.

This is an intensely collaborative workshop where you will receive constructive criticism from the facilitator, from professional actors and your classmates.

The course is by selection and prior experience in Directing is recommended. There are only 8 places available, so get in quick!

“I’ve learned more from this short course than I have from an entire year at film school” – Amy, participant in Directing Actors 

Past actors have included:

John Brumpton (The Loved Ones, Red Hill, Dance me to my Song, Underbelly)

Brendan Cowell ( I Love You Too, The Slap, Howszat! Kerry Packer’s War)

Samuel Johnson (Secret Life of Us, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, Underbelly)

Laura Gordon (Bed of Roses, Saw V, Em 4 Jay)

Sarah Hallam (Rush, City Homicide, Blind Company)

Georgia Bolton (Tangle, Knowing, Noise)

Daniel Frederiksen (Summer Coda, Stingers, Blue Heelers, Ghost Rider)

Wendy Bos (Hawke, McLeod’s Daughters)

Ashley Zukerman (Rush, The Slap, Lowdown, The Pacific)

“You can talk all you like about the theories of directing, but to be given the space, the teaching and the actors who can help realise what works and what doesn’t in live situations, is the best way to learn.” – Marcella, participant in Directing Actors

More information can be found here

workshop participant directing actors

Workshop participant directing a scene




Samuel Johnson




Sarah Hallam and Brendan Cowell performing a tense scene.

Indigenous Students Making Headlines

Walking the talk by Aretha Briggs at SIFF

Open Channel Graduate Aretha Briggs’ Film “Walking the talk” will screen at SIFF on Friday 23rd May at 2.30pm (Free) in Ballarat followed by a conversation with filmmaker Aretha and Neil Boyack.

In Walking the talk (Aus, 2014) 14 mins/exempt Aretha Briggs explores the survival and fostering of the Yorta Yorta language, people and her grandmother in this touching debut. Neil Boyack takes part in discussion with Aretha after the screening.

SIFF stands for “Survival, Inspiration, Endurance” and the 2014 Film Festival runs 21 – 23 May at the Mechanics Institute (location: 117 Stuart Street, Ballarat) (Click here for festival program)

Yarnin’ Initiative in Latrobe Valley Express

Young Indigenous Koorie Filmmakers have recorded film interviews with community elders in an initiative covered by the Latrobe Valley Express.

Learning skills through planning, shooting and editing their documentaries, the students work also benefits future generations through the preservation of historical real life stories.


“What began as a conversation between Open Channel tutor Rebecca McLean and respected northern Victorian ‘multi-clan’ elder Bobby Nicholls in 2011, the yarnin’ initiative has continued to attract community support and funding to allow the continued archiving of Koorie elder stories across the state.

“This came about from a fear the community was losing some of their elders, and so often their stories were going with them because a lot of their stories would go untold,” Ms McLean said.

“While there’s a lot of well known land rights activists out there, it’s often the people that you don’t ever hear about who are the quiet achievers.”

Kicking off in Shepparton in 2012, the initiative has since staged filming in Koorie communities in Warrnambool and Swan Hill before heading to Morwell this year.

“Everywhere you go the stories are different, which is one of the focuses of yarnin’, to capture the diversity of Koorie communities which have all had their own histories of struggle.”

The Kurnai students are currently undergoing the laborious task of editing their footage, ahead of a planned community presentation in the coming months.

“The kids are now clicking on to those connections and who they are; it all falls into place and then they want to know more as to how they are connected to the world, which gives a sense of identity for them,” Ms McLean said”

Read the full article here or download the pdf: Sharin’ a great yarn or two | Latrobe Valley Express

See our Yarnin’ page here

Scene Writing and Screen Business & Finance courses launched

Scene Writing with David Rapsey

Screenwriters can join our Scriptshop course group for 63 hours of advanced Scene Writing tuition.

David Rapsey

David Rapsey










Held over 10 Fridays in late June – September 2014, this course is a fantastic opportunity to learn from a master of the art!

Interested? More details here.

Establishing a Screen Business & Financing Plan

As many filmmakers are aware, a strong project is unlikely to be realised unless finances are in place.

Ros Walker

Ros Walker








In ‘Establishing a Screen Business & Financing Plan”, industry insider Ros Walker will assist participants in navigating the business side of film and TV.

Held over 6 Thursdays May – June 2014, this course also allows participants to study alongside our Open Channel Scriptshop 2014 students.

Interested? More details here

For information on the wide range of courses running at Open Channel, see our Courses page!

Raw Nerve 2014 Finalists Announced!


Open Channel are pleased to announce the Finalists for this year’s Raw Nerve Production Initiative!




FRANCIS RULE (Writer/Director) and ANDREA DISTEFANO (Producer)


JAY ADSHEAD (Writer / Director) and LYNNETTE LAI SUET LYNN (Producer)



Congratulations to these three teams for making it through and thank you to everyone who applied.




Only a few places remaining in Open Channel’s introductory filmmaking Certificate course.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.38.35 AM

Want to learn how to make, or improve your short films, internet videos or short documentaries? Make your first film with us!

There are only a few places remaining in Open Channel’s leading filmmaking course for beginners, the Certificate III in Media (filmmaking). Click this link to download a PDF information kit and to Apply Today!

Our recent graduates from this course are studying at film schools like the VCA, winning awards, or working on productions such as feature film Cut Snake, and television series House Husbands, INXS: Never Tear us Apart, Fat Tony & Co, Time of our Lives and Dance Academy.

Not only will you receive professional training in every aspect of filmmaking from leading industry filmmakers (including producing, writing, directing, camera, lighting, sound and editing) taught from our facilities at Melbourne’s Docklands Studios,  you will also be integrating with Open Channel’s professional development programs like pitching competitions and conferences for early filmmakers.

The course is the most affordable entry level filmmaking course in Victoria (*only $3,650 for eligible applicants, $730 with a health care card) and you can complete your whole course in under 4 months. The course is also eligible for Austudy income support while you study.

Open Channel – Your Pathway to the Screen Industry.

(03) 8327 2016


Raw Nerve 2013 Cast and Crew Screening a Great Success!

Congratulations to the Raw Nerve Filmmakers of 2013! Kino_Cinema

The Cast & Crew Screening was held on Sunday 9th March at the Kino Cinema in Melbourne with lots of Industry VIP’s in attendance.

All of the films were well received and the occasion presented lots of laughs and a good time had by all, including at the networking drinks that followed.

Thanks again to the filmmakers, Screen Australia, Film Victoria and the Kino Cinema.

If you would like a chance to see your film at next year’s screening, there’s still time to enter Raw Nerve 2014!

Entries close on Monday 17th March.


Did you take pictures at the Screening on 9th March? If so, we’d love to post them here. Please email


Indian Film Festival Melbourne – Western Union Short Film Competition


Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 2.37.12 PM



The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne’s Western Union Short Film Competition is now open for entries.

Films of any genre are welcome, in any medium, as long as you keep it under 10 minutes.

The theme this year is ‘ Hope’ and prizes are super – one filmmaker from India wins a trip to Melbourne for IFFM 2014; and one filmmaker from Australia wins a trip to Mumbai.

Entries close 15 March.


The first round of Raw Nerve Films to receive a broadcast outcome through ABC2 will screen at 9.20pm on Friday, 4th April.

This screening date coincides with Open Channel’s announcement of the 2014 Victorian Raw Nerve Finalists, who we are pleased to announce will also have their completed films broadcast on ABC2 in early 2015.


The 2013 Victorian finalists were:

SMALL – Summer DeRoche (Director) & Christian White (Writer)
DINNER FOR THREE – Tegan Higginbotham (Writer), Dylan Watson (Writer), Joel Kohn (Writer / Director) & Tom Davies (Producer)
LUNCH DATE – Ian Hillman (Writer / Producer) & David Willing (Writer / Director)


Applications Close: 5.00pm, Monday 17 March 2014
Finalist Announcement Date: Friday 4th April 2014 (via OpenLine)
Production Commences: Mid June 2014
Guidelines and more information: click here

Open Channel Trains Emerging Filmmakers Out Of Victoria’s Production Centre, Docklands Studios Melbourne

Docklands Studio -article-420x0Six months into its new home at Docklands Studios Melbourne, screen resource organisation OPEN CHANNEL is investing in creative and technical skills development for the State’s film, television and digital media industries.

Stage one of Open Channel’s new $350,000 facility comprising training room and edit facilities was funded through the Australian Government, and launched last August. Open Channel also receives organisational support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria to run an annual program of filmmaker initiatives including production funding, pitching competitions and conferences for its members.

Executive Director Marc Gracie notes that the 40-year old organisation is constantly evolving to meet the needs of industry, saying “40 years ago the ethos of Open Channel was about access to production equipment which was out of the reach of most people. Today, the tools to make content are in the hands of everyone, but what is needed are the skills to make the most of those tools. Some people will be looking to make better content for the web, others will be looking to develop those skills into a professional career. For those seeking a career we also offer industry-led training by leading practitioners, and also offer our production initiatives to help people take that next important step”.

Being based at the Docklands Studios Melbourne, Open Channel is able to place training in the heart of industry. Says Gracie, “We ran two successful conferences in 2013 in childrens entertainment and reality television, attracting over 500 attendees. We produced series for ABC2 and NITV. We have been actively placing graduates on productions, such as INXS: Never Tear Us Apart (mini series which will air on Channel Seven in 2014), House Husbands Season (which will air on Channel Nine in 2014), and Tony Ayres new feature film Cut Snake. The next major production shooting out of the studios will be fantasy film The Moon and the Sun. The film starring Pierce Brosnan, Fan Bing Bing and Bill Nighy is based on a novel from Vonda McIntyre and tells a story of King Louis XIV of France capturing a mermaid to steal its life force.

Open Channel’s 2014 training program includes full qualifications in documentary, drama or webseries filmmaking, intensive feature film and television series script development, and a range of short courses for people who want specific filmmaking skills such as camera, sound or editing. Qualification courses receive support from the Australian and Victorian Government, and are Austudy eligible.

The digital revolution has meant that unlike any time in history, the barriers to developing, making and distributing screen content across a variety of platforms have never been easier, and Open Channel is committed to building Victoria’s bold and innovative screen industries into the future.