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Five minutes with: SAE’s Sam Kiwan

D-Photo had a brief chat with Sam Kiwan, SAE Institute’s Head of Department for Film

13 March 2016

D-Photo had a brief chat with Sam Kiwan, SAE Institute’s Head of Department for Film


Sam Kiwan first landed in New Zealand in 1996, having been born in Iraq and moved throughout the Middle East and North Africa before settling in Auckland to attend Pakuranga College. In 2000 Kiwan moved to Queensland, Australia and studied at Bond University, coming away with a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in Film and International Relations.

After finishing his studies, Kiwan spent time working as a freelance film-maker, working on music-video production, television news, and avant-garde experimental film and documentary film. In 2005 he went back to Bond University and gained a Masters degree in Film and Television.

Kiwan’s history with SAE started in 2007, when he moved back to New Zealand and started his own boutique photography studio — Zara Studio — and guest lectured at SAE.

“Later that year I  joined SAE Creative Media Institute as the Head of Film Department, where I am responsible for the delivery of the Diploma in Filmmaking and the Bachelor of Film Arts. I continue to lead a growing and prosperous film department at SAE ,with over 150 graduates in the past nine years,” Kiwan told us.

After taking a year off in 2012, Kiwan rejoined SAE in 2013 and took on the task of developing and accrediting its Bachelor of Film Arts programme.

“It was a successful application, and we have just started our very first undergraduate class, in January 2016,” Kiwan said.

If you’re interested in studying with Kiwan, head to for more information.