BAFTA Student Award Finalist Spotlight: Ian McKellen And Drag Race Star Divina De Campo Lead LGBTQ+ NFTS Animated Musical Dragfox

Last week BAFTA North America announced that four National Film and Television School (NFTS) student made productions had been selected as finalists for the 2024 Yugo BAFTA Student Awards.

Among the four stand out productions is animated musical Dragfox, brought to life by the iconic voices of legendary stage and screen actor, Ian McKellen and Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK star Divina Da Campo.


still from animation child and fox puppets


The short film centres around Sam (voiced by newcomer Aidan Gale), a child struggling on a journey with their identity, only to be interrupted by a charismatic and mysterious neighbourhood fox. Together, this unlikely duo embarks on a magical musical adventure where they discover surprising commonalities and learn to embrace the beauty of their differences. McKellen voices Ginger Snap the fox, while De Campo lends her impressive vocal range to the character’s drag musical number.

A poignant, heart-warming exploration of identity, acceptance and the power of understanding, Dragfox brings to life a unique narrative celebrating trans youth, drag and the journey of self-discovery.


ian mckellen and divina da campo


The film also features original music by graduates John Cooney (writer) and Charli Mackie (composer) and was performed and recorded with the London Gay Big Band at the iconic AIR Studios in London, thanks to NFTS Head of Creative Business and member of the band, Ian Haig and Band Founder and Manager, Stefan Doering!

The team of filmmakers which include, NFTS graduates director Lisa Ott and producer Owen Thomas, expressed the importance of celebrating a young trans protagonist, stating, "It was important for us to celebrate Sam and reflect to the world that if we truly sit down and listen to someone, we have the power to make the world a little bit less scary for them - who better to deliver that message than the utterly captivating and innately kind, Sir Ian McKellen?"


fox puppet


Reflecting on his own experiences, McKellen shared how the film resonates with his journey: "When I was a kid growing up in South Lancashire just after the war, there were lots of things that preoccupied us, nobody really had time to wonder what it was like to be a little gay boy growing up at a time when that word hadn’t really been invented. We were 'queers.' We were looked at from other people’s points of view, and what’s important about growing up – as this film says – is to be yourself. Not in a selfish way but just in a life affirming way. There was a total lack of that for me, as I suppose there is for trans people today. Often the best way to get a message over is not to make a speech or write a book, but to make people smile. Lead them in. Persuade them there’s nothing frightening going on. Which is exactly what this film does.”

Acclaimed drag queen Divina De Campo expressed their excitement about participating in the film: "Being a part of Dragfox is a dream come true. I get to share a role with an absolute hero and icon! More importantly, this film is not just a celebration of identity and diversity, but also a beacon of hope for anyone struggling to find their place in the world.”

De Campo emphasised the film's significance for the LGBTQ+ community, stating, "For a trans kid, it's a seminal moment to see yourself reflected in films or TV. The story of Sam and Ginger Snap reminds us all that our uniqueness is our greatest strength, and that love and acceptance can be found in the most unexpected places."

Dragfox premiered at the National Film and Television School Graduate Showcase at the BFI Southbank on 22 February 2024 and had its US premiere at Creative Artists Agency’s (CAA) Moebius Film Festival in Los Angeles in May.

The talented team are now in LA at the Yugo BAFTA Student Awards for a week of studio tours, networking and screenings, culminating in the award ceremony hosted by Elliot Knight (The Boys, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III) at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on 12 July.


Director/Animator Lisa Ott
Producer Owen Thomas
Screenwriter John Cooney
Story by John Cooney, Amy Tattersall White, Lisa Ott, Owen Thomas
Cinematographer Rufai (Roo) Ajala
Production Designer Lia Chiarin
Production Manager Olivia Song
Coordinating Model Makers Leah Brown, Aurelia Chilvers
Puppets and Props Katie Booth, Anika Chowdhury, Fran Dare, Lara Hosking, Darcie Kearns, Oonagh McDonald, Rob Mackie, Hannah Miller, Sam Mortimer, Felix Surplus
Sound Recordist Emily Compton
Editor Mariana Moraes
Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Em Edwards
Composer Charli Mackie
VFX Conformist Shaunak Ranade
VFX Melwin George Mathew
Colourist/Online Editor Fox Bamber Barron

Read about the other three National Film and Television School BAFTA Student Award Finalists here:


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