NFTS Grad Wins Breakthrough Talent BAFTA

Over 30 Grads Credited in BAFTA TV Awards Nominations

(Mahalia picking up her BAFTA! Credit: BAFTA)

We are extremely proud of our Directing Fiction MA graduate Mahalia Belo who has won the Breakthrough Talent award at this year’s BAFTA Television Craft Awards for her work on the critically acclaimed Channel 4 single drama Ellen, starring Jessie Barden. Ellen credits a number of NFTS graduates including DoP, Chloe Thomson; Editor Carmela Iandoli; Composer, Jonathan Hill; Production Designer, Laura Ellis Cricks (formerly Tarrant-Brown) and Art Director Thalia Ecclestone.

(Still from Ellen)

Mahalia graduated from the NFTS in 2012 and her graduation film, Volume premiered at Sundance and won the British Independent Film Award for Best Short Film. She was subsequently featured on the cover of Screen’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ issue and is currently in pre-production on original psychological horror Requiem’, directing all six episodes for BBC 1.

Other productions receiving accolades at the Television Craft BAFTAs, which credit NFTS graduates include: The Night Manager, which received the BAFTA for Best Sound: Fiction (NFTS Sound Recording graduate, Juan Montoto Ugarte; Sound Assistant), and The Crown, which picked up the BAFTA for Special, Visual and Graphic Effects and had NFTS graduates, Victor Tomi on the crew as a Compositor and Jorge Canada Escorihuela as an Additional VFX Supervisor.

Meanwhile, the nominations for the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards have been announced and over 30 NFTS graduates and two Heads of Department are credited! This year’s ceremony will be held at London’s Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 14 May. Credits are as follows:

Best Drama Series

The Crown:  Script Editor, Edward Hemming; Editor, Una Ni Dhonghaile; Digital Compositor, Victor Tomi; Sound FX Editor, Alex Ellerington; Additional VFX Supervisor, Jorge Canada Escorihuela; Rerecording Mixers, Stuart Hilliker & Martin Jensen; Additional Music Composer, Evan Jolly

The Durrells:  Additional Music, Jon Wygens

War and Peace:  Composer, Martin Phipps; Rerecording Mixer, Stuart Hilliker;     Boom Operator, Vytautas Kizala; Sound FX Editor, Alex Ellerington; Matchmove Artist, Sarah Byers

Happy Valley: Edited by NFTS Head of Editing, Richard Cox

Best Factual Series

24 Hours in Police Custody: Assistant Editors, Manuela Lupini and Pawel Slawek

Exodus: Our Journey to Europe: Editors, Simon Sykes; Nick Fenton and Sunshine Jackson

Best Mini-Series

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses: Art Department Assistant, Jamie Burrows

National Treasure: Supervising Sound Editor, Paul Davies; Post-Production Co-ordinator, Katherine Pearl

Witness for the Prosecution: DoP Felix Wiedemann

Best Reality & Constructed Factual

First Dates (Series 7): Composer, Miguel d’Oliveira

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds: Director, Jackie Waldock

Best Scripted Comedy

Fleabag:  Graphic Designer, Clare Winkworth; Sound Maintenance, Howard Peryer

Best Specialist Factual

Attenborough's Life That Glows: Screenwriter, NFTS Head of Natural History, Paul Reddish

Best Single Drama

Aberfan: The Green Hollow: Sound Effects Editor, Vicente Villaescusa

Murdered by My Father: DoP, Felix Wiedemann

NW: Sound Effects Editor, Matis Rei

Best Soap & Continuing Drama

Casualty: Director, Matthew Evans; Writer, Laura Poliakoff

Eastenders: Writer, Laura Poliakoff

Emmerdale: Director, Diana Patrick

And finally, an impressive 33 NFTS students and graduates have been selected for the BAFTA Crew programme, which connects emerging talent with writers, directors and producers, providing a rare opportunity for peer to peer networking and development across all key roles within production – they include:

Abigail Dankwa, Director

Alexandra Harwood, Composer

Andrea Cuadrado, Editing

Andrew Alderslade, Camera

Andrew Oldbury, Producer

Ani Laurie, Director

Anushka Naanayakkara, Director

Bojan Brbora, Camera

Caroline Bridges, Camera

Chiara Ventura, Producer

Elena Ruscombe-King, Writer

Emily Morgan, Producer

Eva Weber, Director

Fawzia Mahmood, Producer

Fiona Brands, Editing

Frances Poletti, Writer

Hannah Cole, Producer

Ian Forbes, Camera

Ina Remme, Producer

Jac Clinch, Director

Katherine Pearl, Production Management

Louis Dodd, Composer

Maddie Quarm, Sound (Production)

Manuela Lupini, Editing

Mike Forshaw, Director

Nosa Eke, Director

Pawel Slawek, Editing

Samantha Rhodes, Editing

Simona Susnea, Camera

Sophie Halton, Production Management

Thomas Blazukas, Sound (Post Production)

Tim Morrish, Composer

Vera Simmonds, Editing



Assistant Directing Students Work on Highly Anticipated Productions

Starring Emma Thompson & Steve Coogan: Apply Now!

(Still: All the Devil's Men starring Milo Gibson)

“Assistant Directing is a brilliant role. A Runner on the last film I worked on said you are the cushions of the set; you support the crew at all times and keep morale high and that's what I want to keep doing”

It’s work experience time for the Assistant Directing and Floor Managing Diploma students so we caught up with two of the students, Charlotte Smith and Eline van Oeveren, as well as Richard Lingard from the Assistant Directing Association and Helen Fraser, experienced Assistant Director and visiting NFTS Tutor, to find out more. If you are inspired by their stories, apply now and start in September 2017 - more info at

Charlotte Smith

Since joining the NFTS, I have done so many things I would not have been able to achieve without the support of the School. I have worked on student projects as a 1st AD which was really good fun but a real challenge. I have also had opportunities to work on professional sets including Stan and Ollie directed by Jon. S Baird and All the Devils Men, at West London Studios. These gave me real insights into a professional AD department which I am extremely grateful for and has cemented my interest in the AD role even more. I have recently secured a freelance Floor Assistant job on Emmerdale at ITV Yorkshire in Leeds. This has been an incredible experience so far. My main role on set is to help the cast when they struggle with the lines and prompt them during line run through. I also support the AD department and look after the cast on set. I mainly communicate with the Script Supervisor and the AD department and cast. A typical day on Emmerdale can be long from 7am until 7pm but it is really enjoyable.

(The Woolpack - famous pub in Emmerdale)

When I graduate, I hope to pursue a job in the AD department hopefully as a 3rd AD or Floor Runner then work my way up the ladder. In the far far future I hope to become a director but AD’ing is a great way to work up close to the director and experience the creative process. AD’ing is a brilliant role. A Runner on the last film I worked on said you are the cushions of the set; you support the crew at all times and keep morale high and that's what I want to keep doing."

Eline van Oeveren

I've already completed work experience on a few feature films as a dailies runner in the UK and I am currently doing work experience as a Production Assistant at Lukkien, a media company in my hometown in the Netherlands. I am assisting on multiple commercials for a range of companies including Yulu, Haribo and Fonq. Lukkien has made commercials for Philips, Nintendo and the studios were home to one of the seasons of The Voice of Holland. I've done set dressing, catering, and general running tasks. The sets for Fonq in particular were very abstract and beautiful.

Coming to the NFTS (and the UK in general) was life changing. I've gained so much experience over the past half year, not just in work but in life as well. I really feel like I've grown as a person. The most interesting experiences so far have been the work experience on the feature films where I got to meet loads of talented people. Seeing how it actually works in the industry is an amazing way to learn.

(John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan to star in Stan and Ollie biopic directed by Jon S Baird)

Richard Lingard, Training Co-ordinator, Assistant Directors Association (ADA)

The Assistant Directing and Floor Managing Diploma is delivered in partnership with the BBC, supported by the Assistant Directors Association and the Production Guild.

Richard Lingard, Training Co-ordinator at the ADA arranged for four of the AD students to experience working on action-thriller, All The Devil’s Men written and directed by Matthew Hope, produced by Hannah Leader and starring Milo Gibson, William Fichtner and Sylvia Hoeks. They have been working on a range of scenes including car interiors using green screen as well as stunts and fight scenes.

“Although it was early starts and long days for all, all the students agreed it was a fantastic experience and opportunity to make valuable contacts for the future. They felt that the placements increased their skills and knowledge of the film industry and kick-started their professional network. Some have already gone on to find more work with ADA professionals on the back of these placements”.

Paul Bennett, 2nd Assistant Director on the production said: "You’re obviously doing something right with the trainee scheme as all the students we had were brilliant. Punctual, enthusiastic and with a great knowledge of what was going on and what was expected from them. It's not always easy for even a seasoned AD to come onto a film that's been shooting for a while but each student we had on set proved themselves to be valuable members of our team.”

Helen Fraser, Assistant Director and NFTS Visiting Tutor

Helen Fraser is an experienced Assistant Director having worked as 2nd AD on productions such as High Rise, Victoria, A Royal Night Out and Sunshine on Leith. She has worked with all the AD students on drama, The Children Act starring Emma Thompson: “I had all of the students out on various dates throughout the production and they primarily worked with the onset AD's, particularly the Runners & 3rd AD. They assisted with the day-to-day running of the set and looking after cast & background”. 

(Emma Thompson - starring in The Children Act)

One of the students, Lilla Vindic spent a week working with Helen on her current production as she had a particular interest in becoming a 2nd AD. “Her experience centred more around the last week of prep/beginning of shooting and she observed the Production Meeting, Read Through, Rehearsal Process, Camera Tests, and spent time with both 2nd AD's (one prepping, one shooting) & the Crowd 2nd.”

According to Helen, “It's great to have a course that actively trains and encourages young members of the industry to become Assistant Directors. As we all know, the role of Assistant Director is essential to the smooth running of any production and the NFTS course gives the students opportunity to learn & train in all levels of the department. The students on the NFTS Diploma are ambitious, focused and hardworking. All of them have been keen to learn and welcome feedback, both good and critical. They have been a welcome addition when on work experience.

She has the following advice for aspiring ADs: “Be prepared to work long hours & be prepared to work hard. Be friendly, polite, helpful, approachable, organised & thick skinned. Buy good comfy shoes & decent waterproofs. Observe, listen & learn from everyone around you, and don't worry if you make mistakes starting out. The best thing about mistakes is you learn from them - just don't repeat them! Oh and don't sit down on set! And put your phone away!”

And on the highlights of working as an AD: “The sense of achievement when a plan comes together & when a challenging day runs smoothly!”

For more information on the Assistant Directing and Floor Managing Diploma, which starts September 2017, and to apply, please visit

NFTS Production Managers Work on Productions Starring Natalie Portman & Kit Harington

Scholarships Available; Apply Now!

(Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman: Stars of upcoming film, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan)

 Sannah Salameh: “I always enjoy being on set; there is a special energy in a lot of people working towards a common goal that I really love”

We caught up with some of the NFTS Production Management for Film and Television Diploma students to find out what they are doing for their work experience and how it’s going so far. If you enjoy what you read, this could be you in September! There are also two scholarships available for Sargent-Disc, the leading UK provider of payroll, production accounting and production management software to the entertainment industries. Find out more and apply now at

Jenny Martin (Sargent-Disc Scholar)

I am currently on placement, working for Bedlam Productions Ltd. (who previously made The King’s Speech with Seesaw Films) under the Head of Production and with a freelance Producer. I have been helping to production coordinate three short political broadcast films to be aired on BBC and ITV. I saw this experience as an opportunity to learn more of the world of politics whilst doing a job which is otherwise familiar to me. My training at the NFTS really has prepared me well for the precision and efficiency that is asked of me from the job. As the team is so small, I feel I am a vital part of the machine and I am in my element.

I am soon to move onto my second placement, where I have been offered another two weeks on a feature film, Swimming with Men to be directed by Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn, St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's GoldDad’s Army) where I will be assisting in the production office. I want to move into feature films and/or TV drama when I graduate so this is really a gleaming opportunity for me!

I am so grateful to the School, to my mentors and to Sargent-Disc for supporting and encouraging me to speak out and offer myself to the world. At this stage I want to soak up all the available experience and familiarise myself with the industry, as soon I’ll be a part of it – and I really can’t wait!

Chris Hopper

I have been working on The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, an upcoming Canadian drama directed by Xavier Dolan with a stellar cast including Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain and Kit Harington. Tasks have included researching venues for the wrap party for the UK unit and the costume department asked me research and order a pair of shoes for one of the actresses, which I managed to negotiate for free! The art, location, and production departments for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan are all based in the same office. I have been working in the prep period between shooting blocks so there has been a lot of organising to prepare for the next round of filming. I have been doing all the office-based runner jobs including food shops, post runs, coffee rounds, cleaning and tidying, and photocopying and printing, but I have also been able to visit other departments such as costume and help them out too.

For me the highlight of the Production Management for Film and Television Diploma so far has been the opportunity to manage the budget for a short film. Most people would not consider production management to be a creative role, but you have to know a lot about every department in the filmmaking process and manage money creatively in order to make sure the production survives. I find this a lot of fun as I get to build relationships within a production quickly! After graduation, I will be applying for jobs in feature films as a Production Assistant and plan to work my way through various roles in production (secretary, coordinator etc) and eventually hope to be a Production Manager in this area.

Kieran Nolan Jones (Sargent-Disc Scholar)

Since starting the Production Management Diploma, I have been lucky enough to participate in a number of work placements:

Sargent-Disc, a business specialising in accounting and software services for the entertainment industries, gave me the opportunity to spearhead pre-production on five animated 'how to' videos, which explained how to use their latest software CrewStart.

I am currently on work experience with Ridley Scott’s companies, RSA and Scott Free Productions, where I have been assisting each department within the whole company as an overall Production and Office Runner Intern.  In the production office, duties include answering telephones, filing paperwork and data entry. Other tasks include arranging lunches, dinners, and transportation, reservations, photocopying, general office administration, and distributing production paperwork. 

Furthermore, on an ad-hoc basis I am participating in work experience within the VFX department on Oscar-winning director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's new film, Werk ohne Autor, under the guidance of VFX Supervisor, Simon Giles (Penny Dreadful, A Royal Night Out, The Devils Double). This opportunity has allowed me to gain experience within an independent VFX setting. Tasks have ranged from sourcing post production crew such as Opening/End Title Designers, shadowing Simon as he creates the VFX budget, organising meetings and accompanying Simon on pitch meetings with various VFX Houses who aim to 'bid' to work on the project. 

When I graduate, I aspire to become a VFX Production Coordinator progressing to VFX Production Manager/Producer.  I am especially interested in following this career path as I find the overall postproduction and VFX pipelines fascinating. In addition I hope to develop and produce/production manage my own short fiction and animated films, progressing one day to feature length films.

Sannah Salameh

After working on two different projects for my work experience, I can say that every day is the same, but different.  There is plenty of running around, lots of stands to load in and out of trucks, and endless numbers of teas and coffees to make. Although the motions are the same, the context that you are doing them in always differs, and that’s why it never gets boring.

You have to be prepared to be the emergency glue to fill various holes! So far, I have been a caterer, set dresser, lights holder, first aider, background artist, child entertainer and cat feeder on top of doing the more straightforward PA stuff (a lot of printing, calling and emailing). For me the best part is always the people you meet and work with. You end up sharing very random things with your colleagues like trying to rein in two massive dogs running loose on a set, armed only with a piece of bacon!

I’ve had so much fun so far on the Diploma! I have met amazing people from every department, but I must give a shout out to my fellow PMs. We come from very different backgrounds, but people in that room have my back and I have theirs. I always enjoy being on set; there is a special energy in a lot of people working towards a common goal that I really love. Meeting cool industry people has been another highlight. Production Management is a female dominated profession, so we have met some badass women who have been so inspiring!  Another highlight was hearing Steve McQueen speak. I have admired him since way back in his art days and I was really star struck.

I want to be able to choose projects that really inspire and interest me. To have freedom of choice is the biggest luxury. In the long run, I want to be more involved in developing projects, starting a production company together with likeminded people would be cool, or even try my hand at directing.

For more information about the Production Management for Film and Television, please visit

NFTS Grads Compete for Palme D’Or at Cannes

Adding to 6th Consecutive Cinéfondation Selection

(Still from You Were Never Really Here)

In addition to NFTS students enjoying their sixth consecutive Cinéfondation short film selection at this year’s Cannes film festival, NFTS graduates are also competing for the prestigious Palme D’Or in the main competition and in the short film section!

NFTS alumna, Lynne Ramsay’s latest film You Were Never Really Here is playing at the festival and is one of the 19 films battling for the Palme D’Or in the main competition section. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, and backed with National Lottery funding through the BFI Film Fund, Ramsay’s film is adapted from a novella of the same name by the American author Jonathan Ames. NFTS Cinematography graduate, Tom Townend is credited on the film as DoP.

Fiction, A Drowning Man, directed and produced by Directing Fiction graduate Mahdi Fleifel and edited by NFTS alumnus, Michael Aaglund is one of just nine films selected from 4,843 submissions to compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or.

NFTS graduation film Wild Horses, directed and written by Rory Alexander Stewart and produced by Rebecca Smith, was picked from 2600 works submitted by film schools from all over the world and is one of just 16 films selected for the Cinéfondation short film programme. Rory said of his film’s selection: “It’s a huge honour for our film to be selected at Cinéfondation. I would like to thank the whole team for their efforts and look forward to seeing the screening with the team at Cannes!”

About You Were Never Really Here

A former Marine and ex–FBI agent, Joe has seen one too many crime scenes and known too much trauma, and not just in his professional life. Solitary and haunted, he prefers to be invisible. He doesn't allow himself friends or lovers and makes a living rescuing young girls from the deadly clutches of the sex trade. But when a high-ranking New York politician hires him to extricate his teenage daughter from a Manhattan brothel, Joe uncovers a web of corruption that even he may not be able to unravel. When the men on his trail take the only person left in the world who matters to him, he forsakes his pledge to do no harm. If anyone can kill his way to the truth, it's Joe.

About A Drowning Man

Alone and far from home, The Kid makes his way through a strange city looking for the means to get through his day. Surrounded by predators he is forced to make compromises merely to survive, his life of exile grows one day longer. 

About Wild Horses

Joan’s efforts at teenage rebellion are frustrated by her illness and her overbearing mother, until her increasingly vivid dreams and an overzealous tutor inspire her to realise her independence.

Wild Horses was made by a group of graduating NFTS students including Rory Alexander Stewart, Director/ Writer; Rebecca Smith, Producer; Samira Oberberg, Cinematographer; Celetria Kimmins, Production Designer; Sophie Halton, Production Manager; Fiona Brands, Editor; Nick Olorenshaw, Production Sound Mixer; Ashley Sinani, 1st Assistant Sound; Segun Akinola, Composer; Michael Roy Johnson, Sound Editor & Re-recording Mixer; Kelvin Chim, CG Artist; Gillian Simpson, Compositor; Alex Davis, Colourist & Online Editor.

Other projects that credit NFTS graduates at Cannes include:

Happy End directed and written by Michael Haneke and competing in the main competition (UK Production Manager, Rob Watson; Production Assistant, Fawzia Mahmood)

How to Talk to Girls at Parties, directed by John Cameron Mitchell is to receive its world premiere at Cannes (Production Co-ordinator, Hussain Ahmed; Production Manager [Film4], Kasia Malipan)

Wind River, directed and written by Taylor Sheridan is to screen as part of the Un Certain Regard selection (Orchestrator/Conductor, Ben Foster)

Mobile Homes, directed by François Pirot  is to screen as part of the Directors Fortnight selection (DoP, Benoit Soler; Editors, Nicolas Chaudeurge and Andonis Trattos.

I Am Not a Witch, directed by Rungano Nyoni is also screening as part of the Directors Fortnight selection (Producer, Emily Morgan; Gabriel Gauchet, Associate Producer/Location Manager)

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of our alumni, apply for our Directing Fiction MA by 4th May at



Composing MA Grad Wins Games BAFTA!

Don't Miss Composing & Games Design Open Days

Lyndon Holland picking up his BAFTA (Credit: BAFTA/ Shutterstock)

Congratulations to recent NFTS Composing for Film and Television MA Graduate, Lyndon Holland who has picked up a Games BAFTA in the ‘Music’ category for mystery adventure game, Virginia. This is the second year in a row that a NFTS Composing graduate has won this award with Jessica Curry winning the 2016 BAFTA Games Best Music award for Everybody's Gone To The Rapture.

If you are a composer and would like to follow in Lyndon and Jessica’s footsteps, don’s miss our upcoming Composing MA for Film and Television open day on the 26th April 2017 – sign up at We also have an open day coming up for our Games Design and Development MA open day on the 17th May - sign up at

The ceremony, which celebrates the very best in games of the past year, took place last night at Tobacco Dock, London and was hosted by Danny Wallace.

Lyndon said of his win: “It means so much to me to be recognised by an establishment as prestigious as BAFTA. I got excited about working in the games industry after working directly with the Games Design department at NFTS. I feel proud that our country gives Video Games the respect they deserve by hosting an event like this. It's such an exciting industry to work in and it seems like the bar of creativity keeps getting raised each year.”

About Virginia

Virginia, which was also nominated for ‘Best British Game’ and ‘Best Debut Game’, is a first person interactive drama. It is the story of a recently graduated FBI agent and her partner as they seek to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a young boy.

Developed by a small team at Variable State, Co-Founder, Jonathan Burroughs said the three nominations are "a bit overwhelming but very exciting" in a recent BBC Newsbeat interview.

Recent NFTS Composing MA Graduate Credits

NFTS composing MA graduates have been credited on a number of recent high profile programmes. Alumnus, Graham Hadfield has composed the music for the three-part BBC1 natural history series Galapagos presented by Liz Bonnin. Graham has previously collaborated with Atlantic Productions including two IMAX 3D films and David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef series.

Composing MA graduate, Mat Davidson has provided the music for both the one-off documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad, which will be screened on BBC1 at 9.00pm on Tuesday 28th March and also for the Channel Four series, Three Wives, One Husband.

Composing alumnus, Jon Opstad has composed the music for the 3-part BBC2 documentary series American Justice (NFTS Composing graduate, Roger Goula provided Additional Music and Chloe Lambourne was an Editor on the series).

For more information and to sign up for the Composing  and Games Design MA open days on the 26th April and 17th May respectively, please visit and


From Beaconsfield to Fantastic Beasts!

Digital Effects Open Day 17th May

NFTS Graduate & Director David Yates Describes “Blessed” Journey from Film School to Directing Harry Potter 

After a rousing welcome by NFTS Director, Nik Powell, triple BAFTA-winning director and NFTS graduate, David Yates gave students a fascinating insight into his journey from film school to directing international blockbusters such as the Harry Potter series and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. (If you would love to work on digital effects for movies like these, don't miss our Digital Effects MA open day on the 17th May - sign up at

(Still from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)

Starting with a glimpse of his NFTS graduation film followed by a clip from his award-winning political thriller, State of Play, David explained that he has always been drawn to a diverse mix of textures, colours and tones, right from his early career to the Potter movies: “I make full utilisation of the tools at hand to express the texture and story.”

He stressed how exciting it can be at the start of your career to work with new and unknown cast and crew: “Starting out, you tend to by necessity discover other wonderful people and bring them to people’s attention. Go with those who inspire and excite. James McAvoy had only done one piece of telly then. It was very exciting; hopefully you’ll find some fantastic people to work with too! Everyone in this room who makes something will know what you feel when you meet the right actor; it’s instinctive, like falling in love; you know it’s them!

Even the extras in David’s productions get special attention: “Background action is so important; you need to make that part of the movie feel alive!” In State of Play, David asked the extras playing journalists to create their own desk space so it would feel personal and in The Legend of Tarzan, the extras were put through workshops including history lessons.

(Still from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)

On working with VFX for the first time on a big scale on the Harry Potter movies, David said: “I had a privileged introduction to big movies thanks to working with great producers like David Heyman who told me he loved what I did and to just get on with it! It was an amazing experience wondering into the movies and feeling that no one would say no to anything I suggested.”

David encouraged the students to be open to change in the filmmaking process: “Filmmaking is a constant process of evolution and change. It’s organic; you have to be open to things; it’s a very fluid process. The more confidence you gain, the more open you are to fluidity and change. I do loads of preparation including previs and storyboarding but that’s the groundwork. It’s good to prepare but also to be open to improvisation; I’m a strong believer in that.”

“The directors who will really succeed are the ones who aren’t concerned about everyone on set knowing they are the director and can be succinct with their direction! The director is there to help everyone discover their best and realise a vision you feel strongly about.”

(David Yates with NFTS Director, Nik Powell)

Despite David’s huge success, he feels he still has a lot more to learn: “I’m still evolving; I’m genuinely curious and feel that I’m half-way through a journey of discovery of the filmmaker that I am. I haven’t got to making the thing I want to be remembered for yet. However feted you become, take it with a pinch of salt, it’s a marathon not a sprint.”

A student asked David what his state-of-mind was when he went into directing the Harry Potter series: “I was both excited and scared! The producers were great – they all watched my back and believed in me, and allowed me to do my thing. My journey has been very blessed without people trying to muscle in, which I know is not the norm.”

More questions came in thick and fast, from what it was like working with ‘wonderful’ Production Designer, Stuart Craig and his ‘beautiful sets’ to how David picks his cinematographers, “I employ people who inspire me. I’m looking for a partner and ally; a flexible DoP who won’t spend too long lighting!”

And, on what it was like working on both The Legend of Tarzan and Fantastic Beasts at the same time, “actually, it was one of the most exhilarating years of my life, I love being busy!”

If you’d love to come to inspiring masterclasses like this one, sign up to one of our upcoming open days to find out more. For those looking to work on visual effects on movies like Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts, register for our Digital Effects open day on the 17th May or if Editing, Composing or Sound Design is more your thing, we have a Post Production open day on the 26th April – more info here:



3 NFTS Writers Selected for Channel 4 Scheme

Over 1200 Apply!

(L-R: Angelina Karpovich, Nathaniel Price and Oliver Henderson)

Despite huge competition and 1200 applicants, no fewer than three NFTS students and graduates have secured places on Channel 4’s prestigious 4Screenwriting scheme, which is open to 12 writers new to television drama.

Recent NFTS Screenwriting MA Graduates, Oliver Henderson and Nathaniel Price and current student Angelina Karpovich have been offered places on the scheme and graduate Jonathan Harbottle was also offered a place but was unable to take part due to work commissions. (There is an NFTS Screenwriting open day on Friday 30th March – sign up here!)

Script Editor, Script Consultant, Producer and 4Screenwriting Course Leader,

Philip Shelley said: 'It’s fantastic to see so many NFTS graduates take part in this year’s scheme. Having read all the stand-out scripts, it wasn't until we started looking in detail at writers' CV's that we realised what so many of them had in common! I am really impressed with their work and am sure they have successful careers ahead of them!

The NFTS seems to not only school writers thoroughly in the craft of screen-writing and effective story-telling - but also, importantly, uses its extensive industry contacts to make sure that the writers all meet a lot of important, influential people - the sort of people who can offer them screenwriting work!

The Channel 4 screenwriting course is now in its 7th year. Every year we work over 6 months with 12 new, talented writers to develop a one hour pilot script. It's a great introduction to Channel 4 Drama and the industry for the writers, and we have had a lot of exciting success stories from the course. Getting onto the course in the first place is highly competitive. This year we had over 1200 applicants for the 12 places.”

I met with Oliver, Nathaniel and Angelina and asked them how it feels to be accepted on such a sought after course as well as how the NFTS MA has prepared them and what their future plans are.

How does it feel to be accepted on the 4Screenwriting scheme and what has it been like so far?

Oliver: Having made the shortlist a couple of years ago it was great to get on the scheme at the second time of asking. The competition for places is fierce, even more so than at the NFTS, and over the last few years it has launched the careers of writers like Vinay Patel and Charlie Covell so it's very exciting. The scheme itself has been an absolute dream so far, with talks from writers, directors and scripts editors who have worked on some of the biggest productions in film and television over the last decade. I've also been assigned a fantastic script editor from New Pictures (The Missing, Indian Summers) and a development exec from Channel 4 who have helped me to expand what was an embryonic idea.

Nathaniel: I was absolutely delighted to have been put forward and selected for 4Screenwriting. It and Philip Shelley are very highly regarded within the industry. I'd been fortunate to meet and work with a few of its graduates previously and they all couldn't recommend it highly enough. The first weekend of the course definitely lived up to the hype. One thing I really enjoyed was meeting the other writers and sharing our experiences. They were all really cool (as were the script editors and trainee script editors). We had fantastic speakers (writers and script editors and commissioners) who were all open and honest and provided invaluable insight into the industry. It's just great to be writing a script and honing my craft (because let's face it, treatments can get a bit tedious), and I'm really enjoying having Philip as my script editor.

Angelina: 4Screenwriting is a hugely respected and very competitive scheme for new television drama writers, and being selected to participate in it this year feels like a massive validation of how far my writing has developed since I’ve started on the Screenwriting MA at the NFTS.

Eggshells, the screenplay with which I applied to the 4Screenwriting scheme, was developed at the NFTS, during the 1st year “Movie in a Month” module, where each of us wrote an individual feature screenplay from scratch in a month, supported by regular feedback sessions with our fantastically insightful tutors, Angeli Macfarlane and Brian Ward. I used this opportunity to venture outside my comfort zone by writing in a genre I hadn’t worked in before, by exploring some dauntingly “big” themes, and by writing something much more personal than any of my previous work. Looking back at the screenplay now, I know that I would have never achieved those aims on my own, without the structure and the support put in place by the Screenwriting MA tutors.

How has the NFTS Screenwriting MA prepared you for the 4Screenwriting course?

Angelina: If you’re serious about developing as a screenwriter, then the NFTS offers an unparalleled opportunity to examine and refine your own writing, and to work with immensely talented people who are just as passionate about storytelling as you are. You can - and should - read all the screenwriting textbooks, but none of them can teach you how to make specifically *your* writing better. This, in my experience, is what the NFTS excels in.

Nathaniel: Applying for the NFTS Screenwriting MA is one of the best decisions I ever made. Once I realised I was serious about wanting to become a professional screenwriter, the NFTS was the place I was continually advised to apply to. It gave me such a thorough training across all the mediums (film, TV, theatre, radio and games) in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. The tutors at times went above and beyond in helping me develop my writing. Also, the fact they're all active in the industry, you can't help but find their advice helpful and inspiring. The NFTS also provides you with access to the industry prior to graduation, which has proved extremely helpful for my career.

Oliver: The TV module we do as part of the MA at the NFTS follows the same structure as the 4Screenwriting course in terms of feedback and outcome, so the transition has been relatively seamless so far. The 4Screenwriting course is a great platform for new writers and is renowned throughout the industry, acting as a bridge into the professional world of writing. Out of the 12 writers selected this year, 4 were from the NFTS, so if you apply then you've clearly got a very good chance!

What are your career aspirations?

Oliver: If I can make a living doing what I love then I'll be happy, but creating and writing my own series is the dream. Ideally I'd like to work across both film and television, and I currently have a number of projects in various stages of development, but my focus is on the script for C4 over the next couple of months.

Nathaniel: I've been lucky enough to be working constantly since I graduated last year. Recently, I've had a short monologue, Special Delivery released on BBC3 as part of the BBC ‘Writersroom's The Break II’ series. My first radio play, Baller, was broadcast earlier this month on BBC Radio 4 and was selected as their 'Drama of the Week'. I wrote Episode 5 of Five by Five, a co-production between Green Door Pictures and BBC Studios, featuring Idris Elba, which will be released on BBC 3 on Monday 27th April. I've also been selected as a trainee writer by Kudos for their new Sky Atlantic show Tin Star, and so will be involved in story lining series two. I've also just had my first feature play commissioned with the Nottingham Playhouse. Finally, my first feature film, Scandinavian Silence, that I co-wrote with director Martii Helde, will be released later this year.

My real aspiration is to continue to work on exciting and varied projects across the mediums and continue to develop my writing. Ultimately, I'd love to have my own TV series on day. I'm fortunate enough to be working on developing original ideas with a number of great production companies so... fingers crossed.

Angelina: I’m still at the start of the final year of the MA, so my plans for what to do after leaving the NFTS aren’t very firm - I feel that I still have so much to learn and explore while I’m at the School! Television is my first love, I grew up practically glued to the screen, so writing television drama would be amazing, but ultimately I just want the stories I tell to find an audience, be it on television, in film, or on the stage.

For more information on the NFTS Screenwriting MA, please visit (application deadline 4th May 2017 with a start date of January 2018). And for more information on Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting Programme, please visit



Location Sound Takes Students from the City to the Jungle!

Course open day 23rd March

“The NFTS has certainly helped to open some doors and got my career going”

We caught up with Nick Olorenshaw, Keith Morrison and Kirsty Wright who have all recently graduated from the NFTS Location Sound Recording for Film and Television Diploma, to find out about their experience of the course and what their career plans are. It was fascinating to learn that the course had literally taken them all over the world from Tajikistan to Singapore and Italy! (If this sounds like your dream course, don’t miss our Post Production open day on the 23rd March – sign up here.)

What have you been doing since graduating from the NFTS Diploma in Location Sound Recording?

Nick: Towards the end of the course, I worked as a sound trainee on a documentary/commercial for Toyota, which involved a three-week road trip through Vietnam with lots of off-road driving and documentary pieces in the cities and jungle, which was an amazing experience. That led to another car commercial for Lexus in Spain this year, and I've also been doing some smaller corporate and commercial shoots. I first met one of the recordists I worked for when he gave a guest lecture for our class, so the NFTS has certainly helped to open some doors and got my career going.

Keith: Since graduating from the Production Sound Diploma with the NFTS at the end of 2016, I have been working towards obtaining trainee roles for drama productions. Having completed the course, I feel that I am much more prepared and confident in my abilities on and off set. The NFTS has also given me the opportunity to network with sound mixers and organisations that can help me achieve my goals. 

Kirsty: Since graduating from the NFTS I have been granted a place on the Creative Skillset Trainee Scheme for which there were 500 applicants. Studying at the NFTS has helped me to be prepared for a freelance career in production sound both by learning about the practical and theoretical aspect of sound on and off set, and also by receiving career training including sessions in financing and CV development.

What were the highlights of studying Location Sound at the NFTS?

Nick: My main interest is in documentary sound, and I was fortunate to work in Tajikistan and Sicily with students from the documentary department. As well as being a lot of fun (and hard work), working abroad really helped to sharpen my skills and improve my self-sufficiency as a sound recordist; but culturally I also learned a lot, and it has definitely contributed to shaping my understanding of the world.

Keith: The highlights of studying with the NFTS included the variety of productions I worked on, the places I got to travel to and the people I had the opportunity to work with and learn from. During my time, I was either sound mixer or boom op on at least five full-scale drama shoots and two documentaries, one of which was in Singapore for three weeks. As a small group of eight production sound students, we were in demand across the film school. This meant that we worked with a variety of people in all departments from production managers to sound designers. Understanding what their roles were and how you impact them was an important part of learning.

Kirsty: I had the opportunity to work on a variety of productions as part of the curriculum, and also extra-curricular projects. I was fortunate to be able to travel to Bologna, Italy, to record sound for part of a graduation documentary in summer 2015. I also had the opportunity to attend a sitcom workshop at Sky where I operated the Fisher booms, and also created a live mix of the production in the sound gallery. One of my favourite aspects of the Production Sound course is the opportunity to learn from sound mixers and boom operators who are currently working in the industry, and gaining an insight into their techniques. Russell Edwards, for example, taught us how to rig different vehicles for sound.

Why would you recommend someone apply for the Location Sound Diploma? 

Nick: By the end of the course, you will have spent a lot of time using professional sound equipment in a wide range of situations, which puts you in a good position when you leave the school and look for work. Also the teachers have a huge amount of experience between them, which is an amazing resource of knowledge and advice (and anecdotes) to learn from.

Keith: The NFTS production sound course is dedicated to the craft and is taught by industry professionals. It is a very practical course, with hands on experience of drama, documentary and television sound using current industry equipment. If you are interested in production sound, this course is for you. The NFTS is a great place to study because the classes are small and there are dedicated courses for each discipline (directors, producers, editors etc.). Being taught by tutors that are highly acclaimed in their fields and being surrounded by creative, dedicated people has a positive effect on you and the work you do, this is why the NFTS is a great place to study.

Kirsty: I would recommend that someone apply for the Location Sound Recording diploma due to the emphasis on learning through practical experience on set. Students get the opportunity to work on a multitude of productions across many genres, including drama, documentary and television production. I would also recommend the course as it is taught by leading industry professionals, whose experience, insight and wisdom are invaluable for anyone developing their career in production sound.

The NFTS is a good place to study due to the emphasis on collaboration and the opportunity to work with many different people in the School who are equally as enthusiastic about film and television production. There are also frequent masterclasses by leading individuals in the industry, which often leave one feeling inspired and enthused!

For more information about the Location Sound Recording for Film and Television Diploma, please visit and sign up for the open day on the 23rd March here.


NFTS Announces RSPB Scholarship

Apply by July 6th

(Photo credit, Ben Andrew)

London, 14th March 2017: National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces it is partnering with the RSPB, the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, on its Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA.

The RSPB will work closely with the world-leading film school, its tutors and students to inspire a new generation of filmmaking talent equipped to create engaging and innovative content that champions the charity’s conservation cause  by reaching new audiences through new and impactful visual communications. 

The partnership includes the launch of an RSPB scholarship to support a student through their two year MA, starting in the School’s new academic year in January 2018. To find out more, sign up to the open day on April 18th.

Students will benefit from access to RSPB nature reserves to practice and enhance their wildlife filming technique and will receive masterclasses and practical sessions, delivered by the RSPB’s  world famous Film Unit on conservation filmmaking, field craft skills, and the role of ethics and animal welfare in wildlife filming best practice.

(Photo credit, Ben Andrew)

First formed in 1953, the RSPB Film Unit is the oldest professional wildlife filmmaking outfit in the UK, producing many internationally-recognised, award-winning documentaries rewarded at Wildscreen, Jackson Hole and the Japan Wildlife Film Festival among many others.  It is well-known throughout the industry as a training ground for many of the world’s leading camera operators and producers, like Hugh Miles, Mike Richards, Ian McCarthy, John Aitchison and David Allen, who have achieved highly successful careers in natural history filmmaking.  Reconfigured in 2014 as RSPB Digital Media, the Film Unit continues to adapt and transform itself, embracing technical innovation to amplify its core, creative conservation messages in response to the changing digital environment. 

Highly experienced producer of wildlife documentaries and series, Paul Reddish, leads the Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA; Paul is credited as Producer and Director across a number of high profile natural history films and series including Attenborough in Paradise, The Future is Wild, Hummingbirds Jewelled Messengers, and many more.

Mark Percival at RSPB Digital Media says:

 “We’re delighted to be working with the NFTS. We face a considerable challenge as conservationists, working to reverse the declines in the numbers of species and the loss of natural habitats. As filmmaking technology rapidly evolves, it creates new opportunities for us to reach millions of people with the message that there’s an urgent need to look after our wild spaces and the wildlife around us. Supporting and developing new talented filmmakers who are passionate about conservation, and who can create powerful visual stories, is fundamental to achieving the RSPB’s goal of a sustainable world richer in nature.”

(Photo credit, Chiara Ceci)

Paul Reddish says: “It is a privilege to partner with the RSPB which does such vital and important conservation work. I can’t think of a better placed institution to work with the students to build their understanding of the challenges of communicating conservation messages in wildlife filmmaking. The NFTS has a great reputation for building careers and industry leaders and I look forward to working with the RSPB to mentor our students to do great things via this exciting new MA.”

The two-year MA course will equip students with the skills required to direct science, natural history and wildlife productions and the know-how to produce entire shows. Whether it’s using ultra long lenses or aerial, macro or time lapse photography, the students will build a wide portfolio of experience bespoke to wildlife programme making.

As with all NFTS courses, the MA is both hands on and practical and students will benefit from work placements at the UK’s major wildlife production companies.

Applications for the Directing Natural History and Science MA are open until July 6th 2017 and the course will commence in January 2018. 

For more information, please visit


Contacts for further information:

Vicky Hewlett, Head of PR and Communications, NFTS:

NFTS funding:

Jamie Wyver, Consumer PR Executive, RSPB:



Oscar Winning ‘Amy’ Filmmaker Wows BFI Film Academy Students

Apply for Directing Documentary MA by 4th May!

Academy award and four-time BAFTA award-winning director, writer and producer Asif Kapadia wowed this year’s BFI Film Academy participants with a masterclass as they took part in the opening weekend of the Craft Residential course, which is delivered by the NFTS. The students are made up of 66 of the nation’s most promising young filmmakers aged 16-19 and the weekend included inspirational talks, team building and practical workshops. (If you would like to find out more about studying at the NFTS, have a look at the wide range of open days we have coming up and book your place here!) 

Asif Kapadia won a ‘Feature Documentary’ Oscar for Amy, which documents the life and death of British songwriter, Amy Winehouse, and is described as ‘piercingly sad’ by The Telegraph. His documentary, Senna about Brazilian motor-racing legend Ayrton Senna, was a huge international box office hit and won multiple awards including two BAFTAs, ‘Best Documentary’ at the London Critics Circle, the BIFA award for ‘Best Documentary’ and the Audience Award for ‘Best International Feature’ at the Los Angeles Film Festival. If you are a keen documentary maker, have a look at our Directing Documentary MA, which has an application deadline of the 4th May 2017 - more info here.

Following Asif’s inspirational Q&A session, participants were divided into six groups. They spent the weekend working with their tutors on interpreting the script and agreeing a shooting script for the short films so they can hit the ground running for the main Craft Residential week in April. Students on the course specialise in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, production sound, editing and production design to reflect a real filmmaking environment.

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director of Curriculum and Registrar, said: “We were overwhelmed with applications for this year’s BFI Film Academy, so the group of young people who were lucky enough to be selected really are the brightest and the best. They all really impressed us during the opening weekend so we look forward to seeing the resulting short films in Easter and wish them huge success for their future careers.”

The course is supported by the Department for Education, the National Lottery, Creative Scotland and Northern Ireland Screen. The final films will be screened at the BFI Southbank in April.

For more information, please visit

We have a wide range of open days coming up for anyone interested in our MA and Diploma courses - sign up here