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EIT graduate wins Female Filmmaker Award

August 8, 2019

Cheyenne loves to explore different areas in the creative industry.

Long before Cheyenne Taiapa enrolled in IDEAschool at EIT, she had experimented with all kinds of creative things. Already in high school she was into photography and storytelling. It was hardly a coincidence that the 23-year-old chose to study a Diploma in Screen Production and then progress to study a Bachelor in Creative Practice.

Tessa Tylee, screen production programme coordinator, recognised Cheyenne’s potential immediately. “Cheyenne is studious and quiet but has a lot of initiative and good ideas. And she doesn’t shy away from exploring new directions. When people have asked me for a recommendation of a graduate to do some work for them I have often recommended Cheyenne. I have always had great feedback.” 

Tessa is particularly happy with Cheyenne’s latest “coup”, i.e. winning the WIFT (Women in Film & Television International) Outstanding Female Filmmaker Award in July. Cheyenne and fellow EIT screen production graduates Bridie Thompson and Hayley Osterfield entered the national 48Hours Filmmaking Competition, which is open to anyone who wants to make a film in 48 hours. Their film “The Alter of Venus – Love in the Modern World” also made it into the regional finals which were held in Gisborne.

Cheyenne never dreamed that everything in her life would just fall into place. While she was studying, she started to freelance as a video-editor and camera-operator. “At that time I was utterly shy, self-conscious and scared. I don’t know how I even managed to put myself out there. I didn’t want to talk, I just wanted to work,” Cheyenne smiles. “However, I’ve blossomed.”

Cheyenne is also a self-educator. “I learn as I go, I’m actually quite obsessed with learning and I find comfort in doing my own research. I take every chance to train myself, watch videos, read books and magazines, try out different and specialised software, meet other creatives and observe. “At the moment I am looking into the psychology of design, for example how colours can change the way we think. It’s super interesting,” she says.

The self-confessed workaholic has three different jobs which keep her busy. She works part-time as a graphic and web designer with No9 Design Studio in Napier. With her own video marketing company, CHY Digital, she connects with local businesses to create authentic image films. On top of that, she teaches night classes at EIT, Photoshop, InDesign and the use of design software.  

Cheyenne’s goal is to be successful and influence other people to also become successful. “Being a teacher in the creative field is extremely rewarding.”