The Programme

This programme is no longer offered and will be replaced by the New Zealand Diploma in Screen Production (Level 5) in 2019.

More information on this programme and how to enrol can be found here

NZ Film and Television School programme information can be found on the following page:     

 Key Information for Students
Click here for Key Information for Students

The Film School is the only industry-tutored film school in New Zealand. Unique for its visiting tutor programme, where tutors come into the School direct from the film industry. We know the film industry is a volatile, creative and challenging milieu, so we provide you with the training and support to fulfill your aspirations.


Applicants to The Film School do not require any previous experience in the film or television industry. All applicants are treated on their merits and successful candidates for the course will be chosen after individual interviews. Feel free to contact us with unanswered questions before completing the Expression of Interest form.

The following eligibility requirement are as follows:
- You must be at least eighteen years of age, 
- NCEA Level 2 or equivalent,
- plus evidence of skills/ability/aptitude based on application and interview.

However, there are certain skills and abilities which would give you an advantage if you were contemplating a career in the film and television industry. 

Most important is the ability to work hard and effective as part of a team and the maturity to take and give orders.  Good communication skills, both written and oral plus good interpersonal skills will also be noted.  Demonstrating this during the application process with be most beneficial.

Only after an interview with our Head will a decision be made about your enrollment.  This can be done by appointment at the school or via Skype. 

The following will add to your study experience:
  • Some experience in the film making process (amateur or professional)
  • Some experience non-linear editing software (amateur or professional) Our edit systems are AVID Media Composer. Though it is an advantage to have some editing experience, our technician is an AVID certified instructor and there will be hands on support through the course.
  • Show reel on Youtube or Vimeo etc.
  • Performance experience, e.g. kapa haka, theatre, music, dance
  • Knowledge of still photography
  • Graphic design skills
  • Knowledge and appreciation of films and filmmakers
  • Knowledge and appreciation of New Zealand films, filmmakers and the New Zealand film industry
  • Relevant trade training or employment (e.g. electrical, mechanical)
  • Ability to sketch or draw
  • A proven work ethic
  • Marketing/business/commerce background
  • Drivers licence (heavy trade vehicle licence would be a bonus)
  • First Aid Certificate

A Quick Summary...

The purpose of the The New Zealand Film and Television School is to train and give students the skills to take up positions in the film industry.  We run a very hands on and practical course, recognised as a training institution within the New Zealand film industry. The ‘Introduction to Film & Television Production’ course covers directing, writing, editing, camera, lighting, sound, Art Dept and production management among other specialities. Students will complete a number of small individual projects throughout the year, as well as larger individual assignments such as planning and shooting a music video and a documentary 

There are also a number of larger projects which the students crew throughout the year. 
•         The first crew shoot for the year is the For the End of Term Shoot. Students submit ideas for a short film, and one is selected by a guest director to be produced into a short film, shot over two days. Students undertake all pre and post production roles and shoot on location on a digital camera. We also commission a guest DOP - with students making up the rest of the crew.
•         Each students write, direct and edit a short ‘5 minute drama’ towards the end of Term 2. Students production manage all aspects of pre-production for their own 5-minute Drama, fulfilling the role of director on the shoot day. The students are split into two groups and crew for each other. Throughout the two weeks of shooting each drama (two per day) every student rotates into a new crew role, so everyone gets experience as director/DOP/1st AD/continuity/gaffer/grip /camera assist/sound/art dept/unit.
•         With the ‘film intensive’ shoot the students have a week on location, shooting under various conditions, with guest tutors (DOPs/Camera operators) who supervise this process and pass on their craft expertise to the students.
•         The Grad Films: Students write screenplays of which two are chosen to be produced. The students are assigned all pre-production roles (Production Manager, Production Co-ordinator, Production Assistant, Script Assistant, Casting Director, Casting Assistant, Location Manager, Location Scout, Art Dept Supervisor, Art Director, Props/Art Dept Assist, Wardrobe, Transport, Equipment/Supplies). Shoot roles are allocated by interest, or where a student has earned a role or displayed particular promise/talent throughout the course. Roles include Writer, Director, DOP, Production Manager, Production Assistant, Location Manager, Camera Operator, Camera Assist/Focus Puller, Clapper/Loader, Video Assist, Grip, Gaffer, Gaffer Assist, Sound Recordist, Boom, 1st AD, Continuity, Art Director, Props, Wardrobe, Unit, Making of Doco. Post production roles are then assigned.

We are also an industry-run course so while we have a Head Tutor and Coordinator who teach much of the content, we bring in between 20-30 industry professionals for each course to teach their specific craft and supervise the film shoots. This also gives students the opportunity to get to know  (and possibly impress) the people that they will hopefully be working with in the future. 

We are part of Whitireia New Zealand, a government owned and funded tertiary institute of technology.


The Film School is running a one-year Certificate course, the Introduction to Film and Television Production course, with an intake in February and another in July. This course is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989 and the Film School is accredited to teach it.

The course is approved at Level 5 on the Qualifications Framework. Students are expected to attend for a minimum of 34 hours per week. In order to apply for a place on the course, students must have reached the age of eighteen years, and it is preferable that they have a full driving licence.

Students graduate with The Film School's own Certificate, which is recognised by the film and television industry.

How we work

Learning to be a filmmaker isn't something that be can be taught from a book. Here at The Film School you learn-by-doing, through a combination of hands-on experience and visiting tutors who are experts in their fields, and enough supporting theory to backup the practical applications. You gain experience at writing, directing and editing, in lighting, camerawork and sound.

The Film School aims to prepare students in a realistic and practical way to take up a career in the film industry. The policies and practices of the School reflect current industry standards, and aim to replicate as closely as possible the workplace environment.

Each week students are issued with a call-sheet which outlines the week’s programme and requirements. Students are expected to be in attendance at the School from 8.45am until 4.45pm each weekday and to attend for extended hours if required for curriculum-based purposes.

The year is divided into two 18-week semesters with study breaks between them. Some pre-production or post-production work may be required during study breaks. The July intake has a break of eight to ten weeks (this may vary) over the summer between Semesters 1 and 2.

What you'll do

The course is delivered through both classroom and project-based learning. Students have the opportunity to test theory on a range of practical projects. During the year students work together to make a number of short films including at least one drama and one documentary. The course culminates with production of several end-of year projects in the second half of the second semester, managed as if they were professional productions. These films are generally screened at the graduation ceremony.

As the year progresses students are given assistance to select the area(s) of the industry in which they wish to seek employment and have opportunities to work in these specific areas on student productions. From the EOY films, students will be able to compile a showreel, which should showcase these areas.