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Announcing the Recipient of the Inaugural Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship

Damon van der Schuit, 2020 Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship recipient

Alice Springs local Damon van der Schuit has been selected to attend AFTRS as the inaugural recipient of the Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship from Gentle Giant Media Group and the Onbass Fund.

The Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship was established by Gentle Giant Media Group and the Onbass Fund for students who show great merit and who also require financial assistance to study at AFTRS. Gentle Giant Media Group was founded by industry veteran, Greg Basser; he established the Onbass Fund with his wife, Kiera O’Neill. The scholarship is valued at $22,500 for each recipient.

Damon will relocate from Alice Springs to Sydney to commence the Bachelor of Arts: Screen Production at AFTRS. Damon has a background in sport, music and working with Indigenous communities, with a focus on youth programs. The first member of his family to go to university, Damon studied psychology in Darwin and the United States. At the age of 33, he’s a self-confessed ‘late starter’ in the screen industry but has long been passionate about films and writing.

Founder and CEO of the Gentle Giant Media Group and a director of the Onbass Fund, Greg Basser, said: “We are thrilled that, with the help of the Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship, Damon will be able to take his place at AFTRS this year. Damon shows outstanding promise and Kiera and I believe that, with the opportunities that AFTRS presents, he has what it takes to join the ranks of Australia’s successful storytellers and filmmakers.”

AFTRS Director of Curriculum and Student Registrar, Nell Greenwood, said: “Damon’s application revealed an incredible raw writing talent and his determination to come to AFTRS and explore storytelling through screen is something the School is very proud to support. Our thanks again to Greg, his wife Kiera O’Neill and to the Gentle Giant Media Group and Onbass Fund for their generosity in helping AFTRS to find and nurture new Australian storytellers.”

Damon van der Schuit said: “I was extremely excited to receive this news. I am dedicated to becoming someone who can offer great value to my community and industry through the telling of stories that both entertain and matter. I am so grateful to be assisted in doing so through the Onbass Giant Steps Scholarship as it will truly make a huge difference in my personal journey.”

Find out more about AFTRS scholarships here.