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October 22, 2021

New regional film traineeship program brought to you by… Netflix

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Is it a genuine offering of support for local film talent, or a thinly-veiled attempt by streaming giant Netflix to manufacture some positive PR following its locally-loathed TV series Byron Baes?

Locals will undoubtedly make up their own minds about the new Regional Crew Traineeship program.

Behind the scenes on Netflix feature film Sweet River. Image: Kane Skennar

Delivered by Screenworks in partnership with Netflix and the NSW Government, applications for the program have opened today according to a press release put out by Victorian PR firm, Pulse.

The glowing statement says the initiative will provide four trainees with a paid opportunity to learn about the screen industry and develop their knowledge through a mix of on-the-job work placements and on-campus training at Lismore TAFE.

The program goes for a year and will provide trainees with a TAFE NSW Certificate III in Screen & Media.

It will reportedly start as a pilot program in Northern NSW ‘with the aim of scaling into other regions across Australia in the future’.

‘Screenworks and Netflix particularly want to encourage young people from diverse backgrounds or financially disadvantaged who may not otherwise have the opportunity to study in the industry to apply,’ the press release states.

‘Successful applicants will need to demonstrate a passion for starting their career in the screen industry and be able to commit 12 months fulltime to the traineeship.’

Screenworks’ management is quoted in the press release as describing Netflix as one of its ‘fantastic partners’ in the initiative.

Locals could be forgiven for, at the very least, raising an eye-brow over this comment.

Byron Baes, the Netflix series about Byron’s so-called instagram influencers, has, in the eyes of many, diminished the Byron Shire’s image around the country and the world.

Many feel it has diminished the community’s cultural capital, something which will almost certainly impact those doing genuinely creative work in the local film industry.

Locals launched a concerted campaign in a bid to stop the filming of Byron Baes from going ahead in the Shire.

Local indigenous leaders said they had been ignored by the streaming giant.

The concerns seemingly fell on deaf ears at Netflix HQ which continued to film the show.


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