Friday, May 9, 2008

Celebrating Young Talent

Junior RockIT Winners, Irksome Bliss

National Youth Week (NYW), the largest celebration of youth, had nearly 2500 high schools and 200 universities and TAFEs joining in the celebrations from April 5th to 13th.

With over 2,500 events and activities nationwide, NYW has a string of official supporters including Neighbours actor Matthew Werkmeister, and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, swimmer Stephanie Rice.

“It’s a time where we can highlight the positive contribution that young people make to their community. Because I think that we need to hear more positives about young people,” says the Minister for Youth, Linda Burney MP.

The joint Australian, State, and Territory Government initiative has been run annually since 2000.

The NSW Young Member of the National Planning Group, Rebecca Sowles, says the youth week launch and the five talent competitions are the two biggest initiatives of NYW.

“The national planning group has a young member from every state and territory. The big thing that they’re working on at the minute is the national launch for youth week: Video Hits is having a live to air at Martin Place,” she says.

People aged 12 to 25 have a chance to be involved. In NSW alone, the State Government provided over $25,000 to Councils to stage activities and events.

Five National Talent Competitions were held as the creative core of discovering and rewarding Australia’s youngest talent. 12 to 17 year olds applied for the junior division, while 18 to 25 year olds applied for the senior division, as either individuals or groups.

Judged by some of Australia’s most esteemed creative forces, the prospective winners will be announced on 23rd June. “It’s a big opportunity for young people to enter those competitions on a national level,” says Ms Sowles.

Ms Burney agrees, saying “As the Minister for Youth I take every opportunity to talk up young people – not talk them down – and promote their creativity, energy and ideas. Youth Week demonstrates this and more.”

RockIT entrants recorded an original composition, and DesignIT entrants created a digital static design based on the theme “make a move”. WriteIT required a 1,500 piece with the thematic concerns of improving mental health. ShootIT asked entrants for a two and a half minute film about young people being economically intelligent; and SnapIT entrants had to incorporate the theme of ‘action and adventure in the outdoors’ into their work.

Although winners receive a valued Industry Award, it’s not entirely up to the judges. Another four entries will be selected in each category for the People’s Choice Award, where the public will vote in May for their favourite.

But what exactly does this talent competition mean for young people? The winner’s of 2007 shared their thoughts.

As the SnapIT Senior winner, for her ‘Pavilion Scoring’ shot, Brenna Sharp uses her Nikon professional camera pack to take amazing shots: “you can do more when you have the right equipment!”

Media Student at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Elliot Heatwole, says “a career in the film industry has been my main motivation for many years and this motivation was a key factor for entering the competition”.

The ShootIT Senior winner uses the Canon video pack to shoot all of his current projects, allowing him to make the movies he wants without the “added technical difficulties of ageing equipment”.

“The accolade itself was (and still is) proving exceptionally valuable,” with the award being a major talking point and asset in interviews for various universities, says Mr Heatwole.

Similarly, Andrew Babington enjoys photography and visual arts, but it’s his passion for film that made him ShootIT Junior winner for his piece, ‘The Last Day’. After he completes his HSC in a few months, Andrew will be attending the Australian Film Television and Radio School to be trained as a feature director.

Of his style, Andrew says “working with emotion and strong sense of music is essential to my style”. Twelve films have been shot so far on the $5,000 Sony High Definition camera that he won, and he’s utilising it for all HSC work.

Irksome Bliss has been composing music since 2006. The high school friends won both the industry and people’s choice award for RockIT Junior. The accolade has no doubt added to the prestige the band has garnered lately, with upcoming gigs at the Gaelic Club and Come Together Festival: “we always jump at opportunities to go in competitions and get more exposure”.

The prestige complimenting the award certainly benefited Jason Morey, the SnapIT Junior winner, being accepted into Art School without an interview.

Yet sometimes it’s the reassurance that’s necessary. Kunal Sharma, the WriteIT Senior winner for ‘Some Asian-Pacific Chronicles,’ says “it has given me a great degree of confidence and reassured me of my writing style…the competition has given my work quite a bit of exposure and I’m very grateful for that.”

Robi Stalder submitted his entry for the inspiring theme in DesignIT Senior: “receiving this award really encouraged me to take my passion for illustration and myself as a designer more seriously.

Though Mr Babington says, “I don’t think the competition really furthers or teaches anything; it only encourages people to get experience on their own part by actually going and making their art. Myself, it gave me a lot of media exposure in June last year, which was extremely helpful”.

Mr Stalder agrees, believing that “promoting the individuals behind these achievements rather than simply awarding them may be more beneficial”.

The week still remains as “a great opportunity for young people to showcase their talents and raise awareness of issues that affect them,” says the Minister for Youth.

One in five young people in Australia experience depression, and Beyond Blue CEO Leonie Young says over 60 percent don’t get the professional help they need.

It is for this very reason that Beyond Blue have decided to collaborate with the national initiative, as a sponsor. Ms Young says it is a fantastic opportunity for “young people to get together, have fun and find out about where help is available in their communities.”

Photos: Irksome Bliss, Linda Burney MP, Robi Stalder - [all provided directly from parties themselves]


Annette Lin said...

I like that young guy's photo, haha! Awesome article too :P
Just one question - is she fed or state minister?

Bonita Silva said...

hahah i know hey :P and thanks!

as for miss burney, she's the state minister for youth :)

Kester said...

I wish there was a kewl category, cos id win =D and you would be runner up =P

Rhiannon said...

To Annette: I agree, nice article Bon :)
To Bon: S'up *seedy eyebrows*
To Kester: Wrong. I would win. That is all.

Amy said...

mm that robi guy is cute!
Did you interview him?!

Bonita Silva said...

hahahah i interviewed him via facebook
and yeah...
quite a good looking chap hey

Annette Lin said...

His hair amuses me to no end.