Thailand gives film students a break

WHEN O’Connor-raised film student Josie Baynes went surfing on the net to see what creative opportunities might come up, she could hardly believe what was on offer – return flights to Bangkok, hotel accommodation and a budget to shoot a film, for instance.

Film students Stephanie Parsons, left, and Josie Baynes in Bangkok… “We didn’t win any awards, and we get no academic credits, but it was a great experience,” says Josie.

Film students Stephanie Parsons, left, and Josie Baynes in Bangkok… “We didn’t win any awards, and we get no academic credits, but it was a great experience,” says Josie.

Co-winner of the only Australian entry to score a place in the “Amazing Thailand” Destination Film Festival, she and her Victorian College of the Arts classmate, Stephanie Parsons, are just back from an action-packed week in Bangkok and Chiang Mai doing what they love best – making films.

“I saw it online and applied to go overseas. It was at the same time as the Easter break, so it worked well,” Baynes tells “CityNews.”

The deal was that Baynes and Parsons had to write, shoot, edit and complete a seven-minute film in six days.

After a two-day orientation session in Bangkok, they were given a van with a driver and headed off on the 10-hour drive north to Chiang Mai. In the van as they went, they wrote the script, a “cheesy romance” called “One Lantern” about a girl who thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her.

Once in Chiang Mai, they were packed off into a “beautiful green highland area” where they enjoyed three days of shooting with local Thai actors and an interpreter who wasn’t fluent in English. Baynes directed and Parsons did the shooting.

After another 10 hours back to Bangkok, the pair edited their film then attended a two-day film summit, first watching 52 films then dressing up to schmooze with famous people in the Thai film industry.

Baynes tells “CityNews” that she’s always taken family videos, but while in school at Lyneham Primary and high schools and Dickson College, she took it to another level by submitting English assignments in video form, once submitting a 10-minute movie based on the character of Odysseus, “shot in a paddock somewhere”.

After a gap year as a counsellor for Camp America in the US, where she taught moviemaking to young people, she won a place in a coveted course at the VCA which takes only 15 people in each year.

For her final year project, a 10-minute film, she’s decided to explore how teenagers live in share houses and how a young girl struggles with the depression to become independent. Baynes has been hearing about the new trend among Melbourne university students of finding a sugar daddy to pay for the rent, so her working title is “Splenda”, in reference to the artificial sweetener.

As for her recent experience, Baynes says: “We didn’t win any awards, and we get no academic credits, but it was a great experience… I’ve grown to love the culture and the people and I’ll definitely be applying again next year.”

 

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