Dec 12 2016

Lester Bostock, a pioneer of Indigenous media in Australia, and Academy-Award®-winning sound designer David White, have been named recipients of the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s Honorary Degree (Doctor of Arts).

As Honorary Degree recipients, Lester Bostock and David White join a select group of significant Australian film and television industry practitioners including Darren Dale, Phillip Noyce, Dr George Miller, Baz Luhrmann, John Edwards and Jan Chapman.

Lester Bostock, commonly known as ‘Uncle Lester’ is a renowned filmmaker, mentor and Bundjalung Elder, and an inspiration and guiding light for a generation of Indigenous filmmakers. Lester has also been at the forefront of promoting and protecting the human rights of Aboriginal people with disability in Australia over several decades.

In the 1990s, Uncle Lester ran accelerated training workshops at AFTRS in television and from this ground-breaking program many Indigenous filmmakers were introduced to the industry and continue to work today.

From that foundational work, his legacy paved the way for the establishment of the AFTRS Indigenous Unit.

“Lester’s training programs have been instrumental in the increase in Indigenous drama production among emerging filmmakers, and his guidance and tenacity over the years has contributed greatly to the number of extraordinarily talented Indigenous filmmakers in the industry today.”

- AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

Uncle Lester’s experience as Associate Producer on Lousy Little Sixpence resulted in his push for training in film and television for Indigenous people. He also began to write policies and protocols on filming in Aboriginal communities and for Indigenous employment.

Uncle Lester's long-standing passion for the arts is well known. He was one of the founding members of Black Theatre in the 1970s, and instrumental in the formation of Radio Redfern, now Koori Radio, in the 80s. He was the first Aboriginal presenter on SBS Radio, gravitating naturally to SBS Television as part of the first Aboriginal program team with Rhoda Roberts.

He has received numerous awards for community service over the years including a Centenary Medal, the NSW Law and Justice Foundation Award for Aboriginal Justice and in 2010 Uncle Lester was the NAIDOC Elder of the Year.

David White was the first ever Australian to be nominated for and win the Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.  David has, over a 30-year career, been recognised for his exceptional talent and approach to the craft of sound design both in Australia and internationally. His Academy Award in 2016 for Mad Max: Fury Road crowned an already stellar career.

David has contributed his creative and craft skills to many quality productions, including the internationally successful sci-fi series Farscape and the feature films The Railway Man and Happy Feet Two. He has contributed his considerable skills to the documentary community, including on the recent film Snow Monkey.

David was a student at AFTRS in the early 1980s in the BA course, but never received a certificate as he was too busy working on other students’ projects.

“David White’s commitment to AFTRS, is reflected in the fact that he has taught courses, mentored and hired its graduates and is currently advising on the development of an innovation research project involving binaural technology.  He is an inspiration and advocate for sound editing in Australia."

- AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

After studying at AFTRS David co-founded Counterpoint Sound with a group of his AFTRS peers. Counterpoint was created with the vision of bringing the kind of collaborative and innovative sound design he practised at AFTRS to the industry.

“Lester and David are two exceptional recipients of the AFTRS’ Honorary Degree and take their rightful place amongst their peers who have been similarly recognized."

- AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.