Reilly Archer-Whelan


Reilly Archer-Whelan 


After graduating from QACI in 2012 I moved to Melbourne and studied a Bachelor of Film and Television. I was actually really interested in pursuing acting and planned to study film in order to make valuable connections in the industry (and hopefully score a few acting roles in the student films!). However, as I got further into the course, I fell in love with the filmmaking process and decided to focus on being behind the camera instead. I tried to make the most of my time at university, I took part in a number of internships, volunteer positions and eventually became president of the university’s film and TV club. 

During my time as the president, I established a small film festival, which over the years grew to become quite established eventually involving filmmakers all over Victoria. In 2017, Filmly Festival sold out at ACMI. We hosted industry guests such as Greg Harrington, Michael McMahon, Rolland Pike, and built valuable partnerships with brands such as Panavision, Madman and Starnow. 

In 2018 I officially launched my video production business RAW Films where I have established myself as a film director and content creator. Through my business I’ve been trusted to produce engaging content for highly regarded organisations such as Cartier, Chanel, Zomato, F45 and many others. Over the years I formed a strong interest in creating content that encourages positive, social change. I’ve been really fortunate through my business to have worked on initiatives that align with my values. Last year I was contacted by Cartier to work with them on their Women’s Initiative, which is an international entrepreneurship program that aims to drive change by empowering women entrepreneurs. We captured the stories behind some of Australia’s most inspirational female led sustainable businesses.  

My passion for creating content that contributes to the betterment of society led me to South Africa last year to film a documentary about the mass extinction crisis. The documentary, titled “The Last Extinction”, premiered at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival and is now being distributed to schools throughout the United States.  


Along with expanding my business, my biggest goals for the future involve directing more documentaries and capturing stories that I’m immensely passionate about. As for the near future, I’m currently working on a children’s show for New Zealand’s Kids Foundation and finalising another documentary about the class struggle in South Africa. 


I am truly grateful for the valuable lessons I learnt at QACI, which I have been able to put into action on my journey after graduating. “Knowledgeable” is the IB learner characteristic that resonates with me the most. In particular, “exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines”. The most important lesson I learnt is this: no knowledge is irrelevant. There have been endless times in my life where I have felt as though I was on the wrong path, but that path has always led me forward in one way or another.  

I’ll give you an example: In all honesty, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about studying environmental science. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be a scientist! I want to be an artist!” Well, little did I know that seven years later I would be using the knowledge I learnt from that class, the knowledge that I thought was irrelevant at the time, and taking it with me to South Africa to implement it in a documentary that I was deeply passionate about. So, I urge QACI students now, not to be afraid of taking a step in which you think might be the wrong direction, and to trust in yourself as an IB learner to explore knowledge across a range of disciplines. You never know when you might need it.  

I began to develop my voice as a global citizen at QACI. The teachers always encouraged me to have an IB mindset  to engage in issues and ideas that have a global significance  and I absolutely apply this in all of my work. Being an IB learner has made me more resilient when working with large international clients who have different perspectives and different way of achieving outcomes. The IB global mindset has also helped me when producing my documentaries in South Africa, one which is deeply rooted and the South African community and another which has engaged a global audience. These are the reasons why the IB learner characteristic “knowledgeable” really resonates with me. 

I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities QACI gave me. The essence of the QACI spirit, the geese mentality, taught me that other creatives are not my competition, they are my assets. The IB program showed me that I don’t need to push others down to get to the top. In fact, it was the support of my creative peers that pushed me through the toughest days, and still does. 

Last reviewed 29 October 2020
Last updated 29 October 2020