Elam

A Bachelor of Fine Arts helped Tu Neill discover a passion for photography and carve out a successful career as a filmmaker and editor.

Key facts

Career: Film director and editor
Programme: Bachelor of Fine Arts

"I had been heavily influenced by my friends and family and felt like the best thing to do would be something vocational like law. It wasn’t until I started taking photography that I considered there might be more out there.

"Elam offered me a wide range of skills that are extremely useful outside of an art context as well as providing a platform for those who wish to pursue a career in art. The most valuable thing I took away was the ability to strip an idea down to its most basic elements, understand it and then rebuild it in whatever form you like, still being able to communicate the idea clearly and efficiently. I think most of us came away with good critical brains and the ability to problem solve, which are skills that are applicable to many different fields.

"As a filmmaker, I am very busy and often juggling multiple projects at various stages of development. I work on documentary films, television and commercials, between Tokyo, London and Auckland. I have only ever been a freelancer, trying to get regular work, but I have found that very rewarding after getting through the initial stages. Financially I am more comfortable now than when I first graduated. I earn more than enough money to survive."