COOMA'S high achievers Laura Clarke and Ned McPhie have received Post Graduate Diplomas from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Laura received her Graduate Diploma in Documentary while Ned gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Screen Music.
At AFTRS Laura wrote and directed three short documentaries including an observational piece about local wombat rescuers Ray and Marie Wynan.
She also told a story about Bikers Against Child Abuse and their life-changing role in a young boy's life and wrote the libretto for an operetta that was then performed in Croatian. She also directed a short drama entitled Writer's Block about an eccentric composer desperate to regain control over his life and music.
Laura began making films at Monaro High School. Her debut film The Mirror It Makes achieved 100 per cent in Extension Two English and was published in Young Writer's Showcase.
Laura achieved First Class in her Honours year at ANU with the thesis Documenting the Rural Way: Filmmaking Style, Practices and Ethics in Representing Rural Australia and short documentary Chatting with Bill featuring local farmer Bill Shanley.
Laura runs the business Hickory Hill Productions, making a variety of films, both corporate and independent. Last year she completed a number of projects for clients in Canberra, including at the Australian National University where she was responsible for the production of Rural to Uni, a DVD which was distributed state-wide to encourage secondary students to consider tertiary education. She has also travelled to Europe, filming A Farmer Abroad (currently in post-production).
At graduation from AFTRS Laura was also recipient of the European Union Film Award for Croatia which enables her to attend the Zagreb film festival in October. Once in Croatia, Laura intends to travel to Romania to develop and research a film involving youth homelessness.
Ned McPhie received a Post Graduate Diploma in Screen Music, which is the craft of composing and writing music for screen productions, such as cinema and television, advertisements and games.
Ned's interest in music started at the age of six when he started learning classical guitar with the Cooma School of Music. He continued his musical studies with Allan and Lesley Spencer until he finished school.
During those years he competed in local music competitions, in which he received many awards in performance and original compositions.
Ned composed his first musical piece at the age of 12 and continued his interest in musical composition and performance at both St Patrick's and Monaro High - performing in their performance groups and achieving a Band 6 in the HSC for Music, winning the school's Music Award.
Drama was also a great interest for Ned from an early age. Making a debut at age seven, starring as Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he spent many years as a member of Cooma Little Theatre. Ned continued with the theatre both on stage and behind the scenes, operating sound and lights, culminating with Ned directing his own production in his gap year before leaving Cooma.
Ned studied for his Bachelor of Music Degree in Sydney at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) before continuing his studies at AFTRS in 2013 for his Post Graduate Diploma.
Ned stated that 2013 was the most extraordinarily busy year of his life, but also the most rewarding. He has composed 10 AFTRS films this year, engineered recording sessions, mixed film scores, recorded dialogue replacement and voiceovers, and had his own music performed by professional orchestral musicians and recorded on an orchestral stage recording studio.
He continues to enjoy performing live. In March he supported as a solo act in the first Australian tour of the boutique record label, CandyRat Records, and recently has been performing in a folk-punk acoustic band "The Bottlers" who debuted to a hugely appreciative audience at the Factory Floor venue in Marrickville.
As an emerging professional creative, there could not be a more exciting time to be in the screen entertainment industry. Ned has met many new friends and made great connections in the film and music industry. Already the next year looks bright for professional work as an AFTRS alumnus.