The NFTS Directing Documentary MA is enjoying great success with three recent graduation films selected for two prestigious film festivals! 

Lola, directed by Miranda Carter-Watson has been selected by the Oscar qualifying HotDocs, the largest documentary festival in North America. HotDocs shares powerful, provocative and personal stories from all corners of the world.

Two further Directing Documentary graduation films, Isle of Us directed by Laura Wadha and Miss Curvy directed by Ghada Eldemellawy have been nominated for Best Student Film at the One World Media Awards. The festival celebrates under-reported stories that break down stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people from different cultures.  This is the fifth year in a row that an NFTS film has made the One World Media Awards shortlist, securing two of the three nominations in the Best Student Film category.

Miranda, Laura and Ghada graduated from the NFTS only a short while ago at the end of February 2020.

Introducing The Films:

Lola is the story of an ordinary British family told from the perspective of their beloved pet dog, Lola. As we observe the everyday life of the family, a larger story quietly unfolds and through Lola’s point of view, we see afresh how a modern British family navigates life changing events.

Miranda Carter-Watson, a recent graduate of the NFTS and Lola’s director, tells us how it feels to be selected for such a prestigious festival and how her two year MA at the NFTS helped bring it to life:

“Studying Directing Documentary was beneficial for me personally due to being able to make so many mistakes in the first year. It felt pretty gruelling at times but you learn so much from it. The amazing thing about the NFTS in general is getting to work closely with so many talented students from other disciplines - you learn so much from one another. When I proposed my idea for Lola to Ona, the film’s editor, she told me it would either be great or terrible. We all took the gamble so to see Lola at Hot Docs is an amazing pay-off and something I feel incredibly privileged to share with my team and the NFTS.”

The Lola Team:

Director | Miranda Carter-Watson
Producer | Jamie MacDonald
Production Manager | Lotte Gibson
Editor | Ona Bartroli Portell
Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer | Rose Wilkes-Houghton
Composer | Saul Bragman
Colourist and Online Editor | Francis Quershi

Miss Curvy sees a Ugandan mother trying to navigate her past traumas through participating in Africa’s first beauty pageant for plus size women.

Miss Curvy’s director and producer Ghada Eldemellawy said: "I am absolutely thrilled for the nomination. It is amazing to get recognition from an organisation that cares so deeply about the representation of the developing world. I can truly say that the Directing Documentary MA has been one of the best experiences I've ever had. The course provided me with the tools and the confidence to make such a massive leap in my development as a filmmaker. I have also had a chance to work with an incredible team of specialist students who helped turn Miss Curvy into the best film it can possibly be."

Miss Curvy Team:

Director/Producer | Ghada Eldemellawy
Camera | Fabio Mota
Production Manager | Brendan Kavanagh
Editor | Gareth Pugh
Sound Recordist | Sam Jenkins
Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer | João Fonte
Colourist and Online Editor | Nigel Tadyanehondo

Isle of Us depicts a stoic Syrian barber haunted by the ghost of war, trying to build a home for himself and his family on a remote Scottish island. He must find a way to survive this new unfamiliar life and protect the memory of Syria for his young children.

Director and producer of Isle of Us, Laura Wadha said: “I am so excited and grateful to have been nominated for a One World Media Award. Making the film was such an incredible yet challenging process and I enjoyed it immensely. I learned so much from my time studying Directing Documentary at the NFTS and felt like everything we did over the two years came together in a collaborative effort to make Isle of Us. Having the film recognised is such an honour – I admire everything the One World Media festival stands for and truly believe that documentaries can and should be used as a force for good.”

Isle of Us Team:

Director/Producer/Camera/Sound Recordist | Laura Wadha
Production Manager | Priya Sidhu
Editor | Jan Schroeder
Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer | Ruth Knight
Composer | Harry Brokensha
Colourist/Online Editor | Michael Pearce

Peter Dale, NFTS Head of Directing Documentary commented: “I’m really delighted the great work on display in these graduation documentaries has been recognised internationally, and by such prestigious organisations. The three films are brimming with emotional intelligence and an understanding of how unassumingly brave people can be when they face their own particular challenges. The films are not only politically and culturally inspiring, they’re also just a sheer pleasure to watch.”

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, HotDocs has yet to announce its revised plans for the festival whilst the One World Media winners will be announced via an interactive online awards exhibition on Thursday 18th June. More info on both festivals can be found below:

HotDocs | One World Media

Congratulations to all our graduates, we wish you every success at HotDocs and One World Media Awards!

Applications for Directing Documentary are now open for a January 2021 start.

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