Alyssa Bhikha

What course did you complete? NZ Diploma of Screen Production – specialising in Documentary Directing and Research

Current role/Employer: just completed an internship with Sky TV

How did you find yourself at South Seas Film & Television School?

I really enjoyed media studies in high school, and I just knew I wanted to be in documentary or drama film making.   I’d heard about South Seas and it was well known in the industry and so I jumped straight in.

What was your experience like during the course on campus?

I loved the programme, and especially the hands-on practical work experience.  I also recognise after my recent internship at Sky TV that all the skills I learnt at South Seas are invaluable for freelance work.

It was also great being able to work with different types of people, all with different skill bases, and collaborate in a learning environment to create a successful end product.

The head tutor of factual documentary was extremely supportive throughout the year and offered me suggestions to help benefit my final project.  Really great to have an approachable tutor with such a wide range of experience and knowledge in the factual industry that she could pass to her students.

Your end of year final project has gained some notoriety – tell us about that…..

I was so happy, I won Outstanding Achievement for best Student Film at the Calcutta International Cult Film Festival, and I’ve also been officially selected for the Independent shorts awards in Los Angeles and in the Global Indian Film Festival in Mumbai.  I was just thrilled as my goal is to tell people and cultural stories, as these resonate with me due to my cultural heritage.

What was your film about?

My film was called Miss Kataria and it follows Shivani Kataria, a young female born and raised in New Delhi, India and now living in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand.  Having moved within the last year, she faces the day-to-day challenges of living on her own in a foreign country.  Shivani is presented with a unique opportunity to compete for the crown of Miss India New Zealand 2018.  A beauty pageant which not only celebrates diversity and culture but allows young women of Indian heritage to be welcomed and recognised within New Zealand society.

What is your goal now that you have graduated?

After graduating from South Seas, I hope to find employment in the industry as well as being able to create documentaries that are authentic, diverse and a true reflection of the people I capture. I feel that meeting new people and sharing their stories is the most rewarding aspect of being a documentarian. Therefore, I hope I can continue telling unique stories in the future and building my skill set as a young filmmaker.

What is one life lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

The biggest life lesson I’ve learnt over the last year is to keep learning and growing as a filmmaker. It is important to keep adding to your skill set as you become more experienced with how a production works and the processes that it involves. I also learnt that is essential to continue to meet new people within industry, and share your interests with them to further future opportunities, as the film industry is a collaborative field that requires a team of people rather than one individual.