The UK film, television and games industries turned out in force at the 2018 National Film and Television School’s annual fundraising Gala, which took place at Old Billingsgate in London.

NFTS Director, Jon Wardle

This year’s Gala had a Great British Screenwriters theme and was hosted by actress, writer and presenter, Mel Giedroyc and Co-Chaired by Oscar nominated producer, Duncan Kenworthy (Love Actually; Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Primetime Emmy winning writer and producer, Abi Morgan (The Hour; Suffragette).

NFTS Gala Host, Mel Giedroyc

A total of over £300K was raised on the night through generous support pledged on the night by industry guests who included major broadcasters, Channel 4, BBC, ITV and Sky; over the top media provider, Netflix; major studios including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, NBC Universal, Paramount, Working Title and The Walt Disney Company; leading cinema chains, ODEON, Everyman and Cineworld and many more.

Gala guests checking out the auction lots on offer

A special bursary scheme for screenwriters - ‘The NFTS Great British Screenwriter Bursary Scheme’ – was announced and fully funded via one of the live auction lots during the evening. The Scheme will offer a bursary of £10,000 to five of this year’s graduating NFTS screenwriters, so that they can dedicate themselves to their writing for six months without having to worry about their income. Each bursary recipient will have a leading UK screenwriter as a mentor who is matched according to their hopes and ambitions. Abi Morgan and Oscar Winning Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire/ The Full Monty) have already offered their services.

Mel Giedroyc and Jason Isaacs team up for the NFTS Gala quiz

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director says: “The NFTS Great British Screenwriter Bursary Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for our writers to take the time they need to write, re-write, hone and polish their first piece of work written after graduation. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the industry guests who have pledged their support at the Gala and who continue to support the School and our extremely talented students and graduates.”

Jason Isaacs on the red carpet

NFTS Gala Co-Chair, Abi Morgan says: “The UK film, television and games industries needs to nurture upcoming screenwriting talent if it is to continue to thrive and produce unique and creative new content. I am fully supportive of this initiative which is tailor made to address the difficulties that many young, talented writers face when starting out. It’s extremely exciting that The Scheme is now fully funded and I look forward to starting my mentoring duties!”

NFTS Gala Co-Chair, Duncan Kenworthy

NFTS Gala Co-Chair, Duncan Kenworthy added: “Unlike cinematographers or ADs, graduating screenwriters can’t slot straight in to the production team on someone else’s TV show or film. There has to be a script first, and it’s down to the writer to come up with it.  A script is the centre of everything, whether feature screenplay, TV series or video game, and it can take months (or even years - but let’s not get into that here!) to dream and write it. This big new Bursary Scheme has bought five lucky screenwriter graduates six months to write without worrying how to make ends meet. So a very big thank you to our donors for making this NFTS initiative a reality.”