Master of Fine Arts Directing student Nicole Puni and Master of Fine Arts Writing student Krishna Patel were officially awarded the life-changing scholarships at an event at NIDA last week.

The 2024 NIDA Prime Video partnership funds two scholarships for women students with intersectional backgrounds to enable them to pursue a career in the creative arts, in addition to supporting the 2024 Master of Fine Arts' directing cohort. The aim is to improve representation in the industry by removing barriers and providing opportunities to those that can share diverse voices, stories, and lived experiences.

At the ceremony, Sarah Christie, Senior Development Executive, Amazon MGM Studios, said: "Prime Video is a proud partner of NIDA and are thrilled to be supporting the education of the next wave of Australian writing and directing talent. Creative partnerships are key to our success, and investing in new voices is an important part of continuing our ambition to provide a platform for great Australian series that resonate and reach a global audience. We want to make sure that we’re creating opportunities that broaden the representation of perspectives in our industry and believe the education on offer at NIDA and the support offered by these scholarships, can play a significant part in elevating the storytellers of the future.”

Nicole Puni is studying the Master of Fine Arts, Directing course and is a Samoan and Torres Strait Islander creative, born in Wellington, New Zealand and raised in Newcastle, NSW. Nicole is passionate about exploring and sharing compelling and engaging material and has directed, written, and produced stories on women, people of colour, Indigenous Australians, LGBTQIA+ folk, marginalised youth, and everyday people.

Krishna Patel is studying the Master of Fine Arts Dramatic Writing and was born, raised and founded her artistic practice in Townsville, QLD. Krishna’s lived experience of being a queer Australian with trans-cultural Kenyan, Indian and British heritage has driven her interest in producing unapologetic stories of identity and belonging; often with an otherworldly twist. She is particularly focused on honouring regional voices and diasporic communities who form an important part of the rich network of stories that co-exist in the Australian national conscience.

NIDA CEO, Liz Hughes, said: “This generous scholarship is an incredible opportunity for Nicole and Krishna and will enable a major boost for their careers in arts and entertainment while studying at NIDA. It will also provide excellent pathways and connection for these exciting future creative leaders. The support and dedication from Sarah and the team at Prime Video to broaden horizons in storytelling by supporting diverse voices is perfectly aligned to NIDA’s vision and greatly appreciated by everyone.”

Prime Video has been producing original series and movies in Australia, for the last five years, having launched 28 Amazon Originals to date including the award-winning titles like The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and Deadloch. Prime Video are committed to working with Australian talent to take our stories to the world, and to entertain over 200 million customers worldwide. Every day we are uncovering new potential, and working on an exciting slate across scripted series, feature film and documentary, which speaks to breadth of stories our country has to offer.