Two films, directed by NFTS graduates, Beast and The Escape, enjoyed their world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and have received praise from the critics.
Romantic thriller, Beast, directed by Michael Pearce is hailed as a “masterclass in slow-burn chills” by The Guardian and Michael is described as making an “indelible impression” as a first-feature director by The Hollywood Reporter.
Beast synopsis: A troubled woman living in an isolated community finds herself pulled between the control of her oppressive family and the allure of a secretive outsider suspected of a series of brutal murders.
Beast credits a number of NFTS graduates in addition to the director, Michael Pearce, including: DoP, Benjamin Kracun; Editor, Maya Maffioli; Art Director, Thalia Ecclestone; Production Designer, Laura Tarrant-Brown; 2nd Assistant Director, Pascha Hanaway; Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor: Gunnar Oskarsson and Boom Operator, Joanna Andrews.
The Escape is directed by NFTS Directing Documentary graduate, Dominic Savage, and is praised in Variety for Gemma Atterton’s “strong but shattered performance” and Screen Daily describes the film as a “compelling, sometimes wrenching drama.”
The Escape synopsis: Gemma Arterton stars as a housewife and mother suffocating under the weight of her domestic burdens who makes the extraordinary decision to abandon her family in order to find herself. The film also credits NFTS graduate, Alexandra Harwood as Composer/Orchestrator.
Other films at the festival with NFTS involvement – there are 48 credits in total for NFTS graduates at the festival - include The Death of Stalin, an acerbic send-up of the Soviet dictator, which is edited by NFTS graduate, Pete Lambert, and which has received rave reviews across the board. Directed by Armando Iannucci, The Death of Stalin is described as a “delicious black comedy” by The New York Post and Empire calls it Iannucci’s “most impressive feat yet.”
NFTS graduate, Clio Barnard’s third feature Dark River has also garnered praise from the critics with Screen Daily praising Ruth Wilson’s performance in particular: “This is a story told with a strong female perspective, with Wilson bringing fresh insights to the story of a survivor of abuse. This fine actress should certainly be noticed when it comes to British awards.”
Thelma, which is directed, co-written and exec produced by NFTS graduate Joachim Trier is this year’s submission from Norway in the foreign-language Oscar race. Other NFTS credits include DoP, Jakob Ihre and Editor, Olivier Bugge Coutté.
The Children Act, directed by Richard Eyre, based on an Ian McEwan novel, also premieres at Toronto. NFTS Assistant Directing students got to experience working on set during the shoot last year.
Other films with NFTS credits include:
Battle of the Sexes: Boom Operator, Ben Greaves
Breathe: Sound Recordist, Danny Hambrook
The Current War: Art Department Coordinator, Katherine Pearl; Junior Draughtsman, Irene Dimarca; 2nd Unit VFX Production Co-ordinator, Hussain Ahmed
Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Draughtsman, James Collins
Disobedience: Production Assistant, Simone Tomasi
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: DoP, Ula Pontikos; Supervising Art Director, Tom Weaving; Supervising Sound Editor, Paul Davies; Supervising Dialogue & ADR Editor, Ian Morgan; Dialogue Editor, Jens Rosenlund Petersen
First They Killed My Father: Dialogue Editor, Jens Rosenlund Petersen; Dialogue Supervisor/Music Mixer, Sven Taits
The Hungry: Producer, Kurban Kassam; Editor, Gideon Gold
Mary Shelley: Editor, Alex Mackie
Miracle: Writer/Director, Egle Vertelyte; Producer, Lukas Trimonis; Associate Producer, Jelena Goldbach
Victoria and Abdul: Producer, Beeban Kidron; Junior Draughtsperson, Laura Mickiewicz; Lead Compositor, Dillan Nicholls; Sound Assistants, Michael Lee Taylor & Jennifer Annor; Assistant Colourist, Sara Buxton; Travel Coordinator, Sofia Guiotto
Woman Walks Ahead: Editor, Lucia Zucchetti; Sound Designer, Matis Rei; Digital Compositor, Andy Quinn