Graduates of Charles Sturt University's School of Visual & Performing Arts are celebrating a run of successes with accolades for its new filmmakers and an acting role in the latest Star Wars movie.
Acting for Stage and Screen graduate Matthew Rowan is cast in the role of an indulgent politician in Star Wars - Episode II, which is now shooting in Sydney under the direction of George Lucas. Casting director Robin Gurland released details of the eight Australian and New Zealand actors to have won roles so far in the latest instalment of the futuristic big screen series, saying that she had taken the opportunity to "seek out some of the best acting talent the country had to offer".
A casting update published on the Star Wars website quoted Ms Gurland as saying: "It's been terribly exciting to discover the wealth of talent in Australia. I've received submissions from as far and wide as Perth and Sydney… In addition to auditions, I've also been attending the Sydney Film Festival and local theatre."
Matthew will be in action alongside the likes of Jimmy Smits, Christopher Lee, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen. He would be known to Wagga Wagga theatregoers from his appearances in the University Theatre Ensemble's productions of: The Would-Be Gentleman; Three Sisters; Blackrock and Cosi. He graduated from the Wagga campus last year.
Major recognition of the CSU school's students' talents also include awards and acclaim won by Television Production graduates Mark Richards and Kevin (Hyung Ryul) Kim. Their graduation films have continued to attract attention with Mark's production winning film festival prizes and Kevin's documentary being selected and bought for screening on SBS Television.
Kevin's Korean documentary, Mai-san, is to be included in the SBS Global Village independent documentary series. He recently returned to Australia from Korea to re-edit the short film, and has just finished preparing the piece in the CSU Wagga Campus studios for its television debut.
Mark's graduation film, Shelley's Pigs, has just won The Flapher - Byron Bay Film & Video Festival, and last month was awarded first prize at Penrith Valley Film and Video Festival. It was also selected at the 10th Annual Gay and Lesbian Film & Video Festival in Melbourne in March, and was a finalist at ATOMfest2000 - the national student film festival competition in May.