Ashton Ledger : Master of Arts (MA)

Ashton Ledger

Screen & Media/Filmmaking

Ashton, who is in his fourth year of studying Screen and Media Studies as part of a Master of Arts, has been involved with media studies and filmmaking for eleven years and hopes to one day be a renowned New Zealand producer. Ashton attended Rotorua Boys’ High School where he was a part of the school’s multimedia group. As part of the group, he was a runner up in the Panasonic Kids Witness News Competition in 2010 and 2011, and highly commended for his entry in the Minister of Veterans' Affairs Passchendaele Competition in 2012. Since officially joining the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme at Purpose Day in 2013, Ashton has taken on many opportunities to challenge himself. In doing so, he has been: involved in the production of award winning short films; named on the Dean’s List of Academic High Achievers; received an invitation to join the University of Waikato Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society; travelled to Nepal as part of the Step Higher Award; awarded a place on the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars Higher Qualification Scholarship; taken on the role as a sessional assistant within the Screen and Media Studies Programme at the University of Waikato; selected as one of sixteen finalists for Tropfest New Zealand, New Zealand’s largest short film festival; selected to receive a Performing and Creative Arts Blues Award at the 2016 Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Award; selected as a finalist for the 2016 TVNZ New Zealand Marketing Awards; selected to present at the inaugural Children's Media Symposium; and undertaken presidency of the Media Studies Association. All of these achievements can be seen as Ashton’s commitment to perform outstandingly across all three pillars of the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme: academia, creative or performing art/sport, and leadership.


Invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society - 18/02/2015

The Golden Key International Honour Society is the world's largest collegiate honour society. Membership into the Society is by invitation only and applies to the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students in all fields of study, based solely on their academic achievements. The Golden Key International Honour Society has been working with the University of Waikato since 1999 to recognise and reward high achieving students in the top 15% of their studies and membership is by invitation only.

Awarded the Step Higher Award - 08/09/2015
The Step Higher Award gives four senior Sir Edmund Hillary scholars the chance to travel to Nepal to see some of the work Sir Edmund Hillary did in the Nepalese communities, undertake humanitarian work with schools and villages, and brave the elements of an enduring trek through the Khumbu Valley.
Named on the Dean's List of Academic High Achievers - 20/08/2015
The Dean's List of Academic High Achievers recognises the hard work and attention to detail of students with extremely high Grade Point Averages.
Selected as a finalist for Tropfest New Zealand - 18/01/2016
After making the shortlist, Ashton's latest short film, 'The Dairy Diaries', has been selected as one of sixteen finalists for Tropfest New Zealand, New Zealand's largest short film festival.

The annual short film competition is open to anyone who wishes to enter regardless of their background or experience. From all of those who enter Tropfest New Zealand, only sixteen are selected as finalists. Tropfest New Zealand short films are unique in that they have all been made specifically for Tropfest New Zealand, will premiere at Tropfest New Zealand, and include the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI), which changes each year.

Tropfest New Zealand is free to attend. The festival itself is an outdoor celebration complete with music and entertainment, public catering, red carpet arrivals, and the highly anticipated film screenings followed by an awards ceremony. The live judging panel for Tropfest New Zealand has included industry heavyweights Katie Wolfe, John Barnett, Michael Bennett, Sara Wiseman, Stephen Hunter, Craig Hall, Michael Hurst, and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.

Since its first presentation in 2013, Tropfest New Zealand has grown from strength to strength with hundreds of entries submitted from across the nation and thousands of people attending the main screening event. The competition is taken very seriously and considered the winner’s ticket to a successful career in film or television.

The Dairy Dairies is set to premiere at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth on Saturday the 27th of February, 2016.
Selected to receive a Performing and Creative Arts Blues Award - 14/10/2016

The Wallace Corporation University of Waikato Blues Awards celebrate the commitment and achievements of students and acknowledge their contribution to the University of Waikato. The awards also recognise students and non-students who play a valuable role in University sport and the creative and performing arts scene, either through coaching or administrating. The Blues Award is a prestigious award that recognises excellence in sport and creative and performing arts. Blues Awards recognise national excellence through to world champions. It is an award that students are proud to receive and can be used in job applications and resumes to show commitment and dedication.

Selected as a finalist for the 2016 TVNZ New Zealand Marketing Awards - 22/08/2016

An interactive video Ashton helped to develop, produce, and direct during his time as an intern for Marketing Services, a department within the Communications, Marketing and Engagement Division of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the University of Waikato was selected as a finalist for the 2016 TVNZ New Zealand Marketing Awards. As a result of this, Ashton was selected to represent the University of Waikato and attend the 2016 TVNZ New Zealand Marketing Awards. While the interactive video didn’t win an award, the fact that it was a finalist was an award within itself. The interactive video can be expereicned here:

Selected to present at the inaugural Children's Media Symposium - 26/07/2017

The Children’s Media Symposium represents a chance for the creative sector and the academic community to engage and collaborate in exploring the complex relations between this special audience and a fast-changing media landscape.

The theme for this year's symposium is “From Print to Screen” and will feature keynote presentations from: celebrated children’s author, Gary Crew; Oscar-winning illustrator, Shaun Tan; the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) former Director of Television, Kim Dalton OAM; and the CEO of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Jenny Buckland. These keynote speakers will be joined by a range of leading industry speakers who will share their experiences of creating media for children, as well established and emerging scholars of children's media who will provide context by analysing issues and trends in contemporary children's media.

The inaugural Children's Media Symposium will be held from Friday the 24­­th of November, 2017, to Sunday the 26th of November, 2017, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

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