Meet Athina Wilson, Film and Television student at the University of Melbourne
BFA (Narrative) student Athina Wilson talks about empathy, team-building and women in cinema.
This semester has been dedicated to making a web series in collaboration other courses at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music.That means producers, directors, actors and screenwriters get to create, build, sweat a little and achieve a final product together. My mind is mainly set on my graduate film. I’m very excited to work alongside an amazing producer and other crew members in the coming months. It means a lot to me to foster a working environment where everyone feels respected and valued.
My passions extend beyond creative practice and out to social work and awareness. I’ve always lived and breathed art in many forms. I have an intense love for visual art and was raised by a musician, which taught me to grow a deep appreciation for rhythm, tone and melody. Humans, in all their complexity and unique traits, mean a lot to me. I’m a bona fide empath and the drive to continue making films only comes from that compassion for the people around me and beyond.
I know that films don’t necessarily save lives, but I want everyone’s story to be represented in a fair and realistic manner. Seeing accurate depictions of women and teen life when I was younger strengthened me and shifted previous mindsets or insecurities – I hope for this to be carried out in mainstream cinema and in my own work. Film seemed to me the ultimate form, where my favourite mediums could be combined to project a copy of reality, a clear depiction of body language, dialogue, life’s trajectory in all its ups, down, climaxes and resolutions.
Being at the VCA has definitely taught me to push boundaries, open myself up to vulnerability for learning and growth both professionally and emotionally. It has pushed me to try to articulate words and ideas, put organisation at the forefront and find new ways of reaching a creative vision.
Film is great because it involves a whole group of people applying their own skills to mould a final product that you can all hopefully reflect on positively and see that little contribution to all made to make something special and everlasting. It has definitely allowed space to build skills in narrative and visual storytelling. My biggest highlights have been being on production, right in the thick of it, with crew/collaborators.
I was pleased to discover that the Film and Television course at the VCA did not have the pretentiousness of some institutions. From the get-go, we are encouraged to let go of our ego; we are all working together and therefore must learn to interact with each other respectfully and without judgement. This is all thanks to the coordinators who have taken our classes throughout my three years – they’ve been down-to-earth, open-minded and socially-conscious individuals.
If I were to give out a piece of advice, I’d encourage people to train their mind to see resolution and room for opportunity and growth instead of instantly envisioning catastrophe. It’s all about finding your own personal tips and tricks, altering your inner monologue, to make the experience a positive and beneficial one. Recognise and remind yourself the privileges that come with getting to study your craft. Listen to the rules, but do not for a second take a numerical mark to heart. This is a creative art, meaning a mark is only a subjective experience offered by a single audience member.
In an ideal world, I would really love to become a director. I aspired to be a director at the start of the course, but now the term “director” means a whole lot more to me than it did when I began. Through some trial and error, I’m learning how I want to approach making films and what stories, styles and conventions I want to explore. I would love, and dream, to keep making music video content as well as narrative films. I would love to build skills in editing and do freelance work for artists who continue to inspire me.
The VCA fosters an incredible network of talented and inspiring individuals who I would love to continue working with in the future. We are also taught to work on industry standard equipment and editing programs, a skillset that we can carry out into our careers and beyond. VCA has brought doubts and imposter syndrome, but it has relieved that at the same time. With that inner monologue confidence-building work I mentioned before, my time at the institution has inspired me to push further for each place that my passions reside.