icon icon

VFX in Focus: Graduate Diploma In Visual Effects Information Evening


19 Oct 2022,
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

AFTRS Campus + Online


The Visual Effects industry is booming, bringing to Australian talent life-changing opportunities to forge long, extraordinary creative careers. This world-first course combines the expertise of leading visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and AFTRS, Australia’s national screen and broadcast school, to equip a new generation of visual effects artists with the craft, artistry and creative resilience to thrive in this new world.

Join us for the Graduate Diploma in Visual Effects information evening on Wednesday 19 October, from 6.00 pm. Hear from ILM and AFTRS leads about the ambition of this course and how it will support your growth as a visual effects artist and creator. We will kick off with a panel discussion and Q&A in the AFTRS theatre, followed by demonstrations, campus tours and the opportunity to talk one on one with AFTRS and ILM course leads. A must for anyone considering the course. Those unable to join in person are encouraged to join the live stream – register to access.


Meet the Panel


Luke Hetherington is the Executive in Charge of Industrial Light & Magic’s Singapore and Sydney studios.

Hetherington is responsible for all films in production at the studios and oversees marketing and bidding on future projects. Hetherington’s experience in building high functioning teams plays a critical role in his work at the studio, as does his knowledge of both the Asian and global market and his ability to successfully collaborate with clients in order to achieve their strategic goals.

Prior to joining ILM, Hetherington had 20 years of experience in the animation and visual effects industry. He spent 17 years at Animal Logic in Australia where he helped lead the company through a period of outstanding growth. Starting as a digital artist and animator he went onto roles including Head of Film VFX, Executive Producer, Head of Production, and Head of CG.

His credits include: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ready Player One, Avengers Infinity War, Monster Hunt 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Sucker Punch, Knowing, Stealth, House of Flying Daggers (for which he received a BAFTA nomination), and the sci-fi TV series, Farscape.


With a strong passion for filmmaking and almost 30 years of experience working in the industry, lead compositor at Industrial Light & Magic, Conny Sepulveda-Fauser brings to the table a wide range of visual effects teaching skills: from compositing and visual effects supervision to colour grading, look development, storyboarding, and on-set supervision.

Conny is an experienced communicator who has spoken at a number of international seminars and events. She is passionate about improving gender diversity in visual effects and about mentoring and developing the skills of the next generation of visual effects talent.

Beginning her career in television in Germany, Conny later moved to Hollywood to work with Roland Emmerich on Independence Day and help set up his company, Centropolis VFX, where she went on to supervise movies such as Godzilla and The Patriot.

After joining Industrial Light & Magic in San Francisco in 2004, she spent more than 16 years as an integral part of the company’s compositing team. In early 2020, Conny relocated to Sydney to help set up ILM’s studio there. During her time at ILM, Conny has worked on an array of projects as a compositor and compositing supervisor. Projects include Star Wars Episode I, III, VII and IX, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Avatar, Pacific Rim, Star Trek, Black Widow and The Mandalorian.

Conny is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences and has received a number of industry award nominations for her work. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from the Academy of Arts in Stuttgart and a postgraduate degree from the Film Academy in Baden-Württemberg.


Alexander Hoetzer is an experienced visual effects artist with almost 20 years’ experience in a range of screen industries, across a broad range of disciplines. With experience in film, games, documentary and animation, both in Australia and overseas, Alex brings a broad range of professional experience to his practice and to his teaching.

Entering the industry as a camera assistant, Alex quickly gained experience in a range of production areas before moving into the edit room and finally a visual effects seat. An active freelance artist, Alex prides himself on balancing his own professional practice with his role at AFTRS.

With a strong focus on core skills and employment outcomes, Alex brings an industry-focused approach to his teaching, drawing from active experience on contemporary film and commercial projects, as well as experience with state-of-the-art technologies.


Lara Hopkins is the Senior Manager, Talent Management at ILM. She has almost 30 years of work experience in animation and VFX production, starting her career at Adelaide’s stop motion animation company Anifex. After five years she moved into VFX as a producer at Sydney’s Animal Logic before moving to London to produce at Framestore. 17 years ago she moved into a talent role, and since then she has had a global focus on finding, hiring and managing VFX Artists and producers for companies such as Framestore, Rising Sun Pictures and Dr D studios. One of Lara’s biggest passions has been to encourage diversity in VFX, with a particular focus on supporting women’s careers as they become parents.


David Balfour joined AFTRS in 2014 as the Head of Teaching and Learning, has since moved on to the role of Director of Curriculum & Student Registrar and in August 2020, was appointed Director of Teaching & Learning. Prior to working at AFTRS, David was Film Department Co-ordinator and Lecturer at SAE Melbourne, and the Director of Undergraduate Programmes at the Met Film School, London. He is a graduate of the National Film & Television School in the UK with an MA in Producing.



Nell Greenwood is the CEO of the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

Nell Greenwood is an academic leader, screenwriter and creativity advocate with more than 25 years of experience in screen education and international film and television production.

Nell’s career started in content development and she has held several senior industry roles including Head of Development at the Irish Film Board, Head of Development at Natural Nylon Entertainment (home to Jude Law and Ewan McGregor) as well as Head of Development at Element Films (producers of The Lobster and The Favourite) before embarking on a career as a screenwriter.

Her writing credits include False Witness for UKTV (Foxtel), which won an AFI, as well as Pride and Joy, which was nominated for Best TV Film at the 46th Monte Carlo TV Film Festival. Nell began teaching and discovered a passion for education, in particular creativity and how to engage and foster students’ brilliance and unique creativity in the classroom. She is also passionate about increasing female representation and diversity within the screen and broadcast industry and forging deeper interdisciplinary connections across industries here and abroad.

Nell has worked at AFTRS for over ten years and has a PhD from The University of Sydney on Creativity and the Unconscious in the Screen Arts Classroom.