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Scholarship was prime timing for Ben's film career

Traditionally, education is founded on the three R’s. Since graduating from Griffith University, Ben Russell continues to plot a successful career built on the three I’s: innovation, independence and impact.

A former recipient of a Griffith Futures Scholarship, Ben’s company — benlukerussell.com —specialises in film post-production and is amassing an impressive list of clients and projects.

Importantly, Ben’s focus on freelancing has enabled a diversity of professional experiences, particularly in the corporate sector. Among others, he has worked on projects for Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, Vinnies CEO Sleepout, Isuzu and Hummingbird House. He is currently working on another project with Origin Energy.

“When I graduated in 2013, I jumped straight into freelancing and worked on a couple of film sets. It was when I looked more into film editing that I really started to find a creative outlet and style that I really enjoy,” says Ben.

“Editing is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, except you’re taking pieces away, shifting pieces about, changing and shaping the picture. In turning what might be hours of footage into, for example, 10 minutes of final vision, it’s a matter of finding the story within all that content.”

Ben’s own story first took shape in Stanthorpe, a town 220 kilometres from Brisbane and in the heart of South-East Queensland’s so-called Granite Belt. It may seem an unlikely setting to inspire thoughts of a career in film, but Ben was as determined as he was talented.

Isolation from family combined with the high cost of living in Brisbane were formidable challenges. Nevertheless, Ben’s academic performance in his Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production degree saw him receive a Griffith Futures Scholarship. These scholarships go to students who are excelling at University despite personal or financial hardship.

“A lot of families who live in the city or close to it don’t really know what it’s like to have to accept being separated from your family, your home, pretty much all you know, to come to university and follow your dreams,” says Ben.

“If I didn’t have the support of my scholarship, everything would have been so much harder. I lived on campus for two years and the scholarship also alleviated financial pressure from my family back home in Stanthorpe.

“Knowing that I didn’t have to spend my time working just to pay my rent allowed me to use my time to absorb and digest as much knowledge and experience as possible.”

That experience is also broadening as Ben adds music composition and production to his list of professional credits. He is currently working on a mini-musical that features songs performed on virtual instruments. It’s another example of the kind of career flexibility that Ben has come to value greatly, again citing the importance of his scholarship.

“My scholarship was not just about meeting costs. It was about giving me a real freedom to pursue my passion. The impact it had on me was amazing at the time, and it’s allowing me to make an impact in my own career.”