Victoria University of Wellington: Where creative ambitions are unleashed

Do you while away hours dreaming about what it would be like to work on the big movie blockbusters? Do you wonder how it feels to create the mystical lands of Middle Earth, the mind-blowing planet Pandora, or the vast expanses of unknown galaxies?

Perhaps you have already pursued a degree in the arts and are desperate to further explore the magic of cinema. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of picking the brains behind the remarkable masterpieces of Fantastic Beasts or Guardians of the Galaxy

While this may seem like a far-fetched fantasy, one that doesn’t stand a single chance of coming true, there’s no reason why it has to be – not with the help of the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Victoria University of Wellington.

Located in Wellington – the creative capital of New Zealand – this university is perfectly placed to soak up the artistic atmosphere. The city is famed for its lively café culture, quirky public art works, and distinctive Kiwi architecture, as well as its striking natural beauty.

It is this creative exuberance that has drawn the Royal NZ Ballet, State Opera, NZ Symphony Orchestra, several professional theatres, and Sir Peter Jackson’s international film empire to Wellington’s picturesque shores. This wealth of creative assets has led the university to passionately push a new initiative to foster creativity and build connections with these accomplished industry masters.

At the heart of this initiative is the Miramar Creative Centre (MCC) – a flagship facility that enables students to gain unprecedented insights into the inner workings of the creative industries and interact with world-leading practitioners in the heart of Wellington’s movie business.

Purposely placed in the eye of the creative storm, the centre resides in the suburb of Miramar and counts companies such as Weta Digital, Weta Workshop, Park Road Post Production and Miramar Creative as their neighbours.

Collectively, Miramar’s film industry has been the proud creators of blockbuster movies such as The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, King Kong and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2.

These big-time industry players are not simply neighbours, they also played an integral part in the development of the centre – providing advice on its facilities and the equipment being used.

The result of this close interaction is a tip-top, world-class facility that does justice to the creative ambitions of the faculty’s aspiring artists.

Home to industry standard studio spaces, recording and editing suites, computer labs and a workshop, the MCC is also kitted out with the business’s best – including green screen, high-end camera gear, motion capture technology, music recording facilities, and the same software used by film production companies worldwide.

But it’s not just top-notch facilities that form the fruit borne from this cosy relationship with major industry players; it also means students get the exciting chance to learn directly from the experts. Both the Master of Design Technology – specialising in the realm of Visual Effects and Digital Design – and the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) include expert led teaching sessions.

Invaluable industry experience is also up for grabs across a litany of sectors and companies, with every student participating in an internship to suit their interest.

Students at the newly-opened centre are already benefitting from these highly sought-after positions; Music students on the MFA (CP) have heard their short film soundtracks professionally-recorded at Park Road Post Production’s Stella Maris facility, and MDT students are working directly with several members of staff currently employed at Weta Digital.

The contacts and networks students build up over these formative months prove priceless at the launch of their career and long into their future progression.

These are just a small handful of opportunities that are opening up to faculty students. In reality, the opportunities go across the board in terms of creative direction and ambition as each course at the faculty goes out of its way to nurture creativity whatever the background. Students can specialise in a myriad of subject areas, including film production, post-production, film scoring and audio post-production, game design, Visual Effects (VFX), animation and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR).

© Mike O’Neil, Te Papa

Each course is specifically-designed to be intensive and practical in nature – just like work on a real-life movie production. You will get the chance to produce your own masterpiece, being mentored to complete work that showcases your abilities and encourages you to push boundaries in your field.

This hands-on experience, when paired with industry internships and first-rate facilities, means that a Master’s degree from the Faculty of Architecture and Design can open up a lot of different avenues to graduates. This elite film making education opens a full spectrum of film, animation and game industry career pathways; including production, post-production, visual effects and music scoring.

With this kind of foundation behind you and the invaluable industry connections you’ll develop at Victoria, who knows – your dreams of the silver screen could very well come true…

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