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Who is Sydney?

A film competition that showcases life and people in Sydney
Form a team with other students and create a short film together around the themes of cultures, connections and student life. Show us the people and places that make Sydney your home — no matter where you're from.

This film competition is about sharing stories about our students from different backgrounds as they come together to experience Sydney, make new friends and form a community.

For some, Sydney is the home they have always known, while for others it’s a brand new place to live and study.

Students form a team and create a short film together around the themes of cultures, connections and student life.

It doesn't matter if you're a beginner or an experienced videographer, creativity is the key. Your team's entry could, for example, take almost any form on film, such as:

  • a music video
  • an animation or stop-motion
  • a short story
  • a vlog
  • a mini-documentary
  • interviews.

Keep an eye on Student News for details of the competition in 2020.

Previous winners

Semester 2 2019

  • First place: Freedom is a home called Sydney, Sota Maehara (Bachelor of Applied Science) and Martin S Phabmixay (Bachelor of Commerce)
  • Second place: 積分, Daniel Merson (Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Arts), Dandan Zhao (Master of International Law) and Fergus Martin (Bachelor of Political Economics)
  • Third place: Homesick, Jiatong Wang (Master of Media Pratice), Wuruo Xu (Master of Media Pratice), and Xiangying Song (Master of Media Pratice)

Semester 1 2019

  • First place: Being an ABC, Teresa Li (B. Comp/ Adv Studies) and Yiman Jiang (B. Comm/ Law)
  • Second place: A Conversation, Damian Zhu (B.Arch/ B. Civil Eng) and Hao Huang (B.Arch/B. Civil Eng)
  • Third place: Search for Sydney, Harsh Modi (M. Management), Lydia Mackie (B Arts) and Joel Boker (Exchange)

The details

The winning teams will receive a certificate and a monetary prize:

First place: $7,000

Second place: $4,000

Third place: $2,000

The remaining seven entries from the top 10 shortlist will each receive a $250 shortlist prize.

Being a part of Who is Sydney is easy! There are only a few rules for teams to enter:

All entries must:
  • feature at least one of the team members as a subject
  • be a minimum of 30 seconds, maximum of two minutes long
  • be on location in Sydney (or around your local campus).
All teams must:
  • have a minimum of 2 and maximum of 4 participants
  • include at least 1 domestic student and 1 international student.

If you are interested in participating but can't find others to join a team, try putting out a message on the Facebook event page. Who knows, it could be the beginning of something great!

All participants must be:
  • a currently enrolled student at the University of Sydney
  • over 18 years old.
Release forms
  • If you film anyone outside of your team who is identifiable in your footage, you will need to ask them to complete a release form (pdf, 102.5KB). This applies to other students, University staff and members of the public. You will need to scan and upload this form with your entry.

Judging will take place after the deadlines has passed. A panel of judges will review a shortlist of the top 10 entries and select the top three films to award the prizes. The judges will rate the best films primarily on creativity and relevance to the main themes of the competition:

  • cultures coming together
  • connection and learning from others
  • friendship
  • the student experience.
These themes are not essential criteria, but a guide for teams to help make sure their entries are consistent with the overall mission of the competition.
2019 judging panel
  • Professor Wai Fong Chua AM, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Life)
  • Dr Bruce Isaacs, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies
  • Trixie Young, videographer
  • Liliana Tai, University of Sydney Union (USU) President

Remember when submitting your entry to:

  • ensure all details on the form are filled out correctly for all team members
  • provide scanned versions of competition waiver forms (see terms and conditions for more info). Remember to include everyone who appears in the video - even non-participants.
  • provide a transcript (if applicable) in a .sbt file. You may submit additional language files if you wish. See tips for creating transcripts.
  • send your film using your student Dropbox account in one of the following formats (.mp4, .mov, .avi).

Who is Sydney? is a new initiative supported by a generous gift from a University of Sydney donor. It offers participants a chance to showcase their personal experiences and aims to foster cross-cultural connections between students from different backgrounds.

We are delighted that this competition has been supported by Mr John Wang, LLM(1994), Managing Director of the Australia China Investment Fund.

Looking for tips?

There are lots of video editing, animation and other useful mini-courses on LinkedIn Learning. It's a handy online resource that Univerity of Sydney students can enjoy free access. Just log in with your UniKey.

Looking for ideas?

You could start by picking a theme or concept for your film. For example:

  • “New places, new faces.”
  • “I like you because we’re different.”
  • “Sharing our secrets.”
  • “Home is what we make it.”
  • “What we learn from each other.”
Looking for teammates?

Participating in the competition is not just a chance to showcase your creativity with a camera, but it's also a novel way to make friends. Why not take it on as an extra-curricular project with classmates? Or enter with a peer mentor, fellow club or society members, or language exchange partner?

If you are interested in participating but can't find others to join a team, try putting out a message on the Facebook event page. Who knows, it could be the beginning of something great!