Hollywood Bound! NFTS Graduation Animation Finalist at BAFTA Student Film Awards

Hot on the heels of winning a prize in the Cinéfondation competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for her NFTS graduation animation, Inanimate, Lucia Bulgheroni now has to pack her bags for a trip to LA where the film will compete as a finalist in the BAFTA Student Film Awards!                                                                                                                                  

Lucia Bulgheroni

Inanimate is one of nine finalists selected from 60 shortlisted entries and will compete in the animation category. The stop frame animation explores the veiled reality of a puppet called Katrine who realises; through her search for truth, that she is ‘so much more than a puppet’. Lucia who graduated from the NFTS Directing Animation MA this year, used Super Sculpey, a material similar to clay that can be baked, to craft puppets Katrine and Patrick, whose journey we follow, at breakneck speed, through this hyper-real, dark, magical thrill-ride animation.

The BAFTA Student Film Awards are an annual event celebrating the works of the next generation of talented and innovative filmmakers; encouraging emerging talent from across the world. Film schools worldwide were invited to submit up to nine films for consideration for four top prizes – the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation presented by LAIKA, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Documentary, the BAFTA Student Film Award for Live Action Film, and the Special Jury Prize.

Director Lucia said: ‘I’m very excited about the news! Inanimate has already taken us on a crazy adventure; a massive learning experience, and now a new surprising chapter is opening. It's not just a short film, it's a piece of life experience and the beautiful thing is that it's still not ended. I think animation is absolute magic, it can give you so much freedom of expression, there are literally no limits but your imagination. I keep learning and re-discovering details that, back in time, came from pure intuitions and now, with a new point of view, reveal new meanings. It's very fascinating how your subconscious talks to you as soon as you start to trust it.’

Amanda Berry, BAFTA CEO says of the Awards:  "The incredible standard of emerging filmmaking talent across the globe continues to impress, and BAFTA is proud to recognize and support these student filmmakers as they embark on their careers. We are looking forward to selecting our winners and showcasing their stunning work in June."

The gala ceremony will take place on Friday, June 29, 2018 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Team:

Lucia and the Inanimate team with their Cannes prize

Lucia Bulgheroni - Director/Animator; Lennard Ortmann – Producer; Drew Eu – Screenwriter; Ronnie Mcquillan – Cinematographer; Kristina Kovacs - Production Designer; Alex Mcardle - Production Manager; Raphael Pereira – Editor; Louise Burton – Sound Designer & Dubbing Mixer; Jose Pavli – Composer; Niall Harty - Cg Lead; Amy Gibson - Lead Compositor; Hugh Howlett - Colourist & Online Editor; Zsófi Szemerédy, PR and Marketing

If you would like to follow in Lucia’s footsteps, applications for the NFTS Directing Animation MA are open until the 5th July 2018 – www.nfts.co.uk/animation




NFTS TV Entertainment Students to Assist with Royal Wedding & BBC Biggest Weekend Broadcast Coverage

Seven NFTS Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA students are heading off to BBC Studios for work placements as part of their course this month. They will be assisting on a wide range of programmes and live events in the ‘Entertainment & Music’ and ‘Factual Entertainment & Events’ departments at BBC Studios including the Royal Wedding and Biggest Weekend coverage plus new studio entertainment and game show formats and music documentaries.

Daniell Morrisey, BBC Studios’ Head of Talent, Entertainment & Music/ Factual Entertainment & Events explained: “The NFTS TV Entertainment students will be helping with a range of exciting projects over four weeks. Each student will be mentored by the talent team and will have the opportunity to make lots of useful contacts.”

Daniell and the talent team meet the students early on and throughout their time at the NFTS to give feedback on their pitch reels and activities such as the TV Entertainment department’s annual live streamed multi-camera TV studio magazine show.

On why his team invest so much time with the NFTS students, Daniell said: “It’s about identifying the up-and-coming talent of the future and developing the pool of future development researchers, assistant producers and down the line, producers and directors. Because TV Entertainment is multi-genre we need people from the format game show end to factual entertainment and live events. In fact, we have several NFTS TV Entertainment graduates working with us now. It’s a delight to work with such a diverse group of young up-and-coming talent.”

And on the importance of NFTS having a course focussed on TV Entertainment, Daniell said: “This course does a great job of giving the students a thorough grounding in understanding and learning the format and what works and what doesn’t. The golden egg is finding the next big Saturday night show and getting there is all about development. You can have lots of great ideas but until you can format them into something that works, they won’t get off the ground. By having this unique exposure to the industry with feedback and advice, the NFTS students are in a great position by the time they graduate with regards to building a career in the TV Entertainment business.”


  • Jared will be assisting the entertainment development team working on game show development, pitching, designing games and tasks and taster tapes.
  • Crystabel will be helping the factual entertainment development team. She will be brainstorming, writing pitches and treatments and helping to cut tasters.
  • Pamela will be with a team developing a new studio entertainment show, as well as assisting with the BBC Biggest Weekend coverage.
  • Jenny will be experiencing music documentary content development through helping with a David Bowie documentary and the Meltdown Festival on the Southbank.
  • Will is helping the live events team with the Royal Wedding and Trooping of the Colour coverage.
  • Gemma will be assisting with the BBC Biggest Weekend coverage and using her Italian skills to help with planning music documentary, Vivaldi, Venice and Violins
  • Lavinia is going to work with the small but fast paced BBC3 Development team. She will be brainstorming ideas and creating social media content with the team who produce and develop content for BBC3.

For more information about the Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/tvent - applications are open for 2019 intake until September 13th

Glowing Reviews for Inaugural NFTS Scotland Course

“One of the best courses I have enjoyed in my twenty-year media career.”

(NFTS Scotland inagural course participants with course leader & NFTS Co-Head of Documentary, Peter Dale)

After announcing its first suite of courses for 2018 at the Glasgow Film Festival in February this year, NFTS Scotland is officially up and running, having successfully run its inaugural course ‘How Stories Work in Documentaries’, led by NFTS’s own Co-Head of Documentaries, BAFTA nominated, Peter Dale.

Supported by the school’s BBC Scotland partnership, the course took place at Pacific Quay in Glasgow, which basked in sunshine for the first time in weeks, setting the scene for a very bright week.

"It was wonderful to be learning in such an institution like the BBC and to be amongst all the other creativity in the building." (course participant, Lewis Landini, Freelance)

Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, visited to officially open the Scottish hub, meeting the participants, including those supported by Scottish Government bursaries. Ms Hyslop said “We want to continue to support our growing screen industry. This new school will give people in Scotland the opportunity to develop their careers and move up the creative ladder, while also providing the industry with a stream of well-qualified talent.”

"(The course) really was an eye opener for pursuing a career in documentary storytelling, and in fact story telling in general. I can’t wait to put what I learned in this course into practice. Peter's insight into the documentary form was fantastic and extremely valuable use of my time." (Murray Donaldson, Freelance)

The first cohort of participants, including staff from BBC Scotland and independent freelancers, worked intensively with Peter for five days. Core learning included how to bring story ideas to life, reflecting on the participants’ own life stories in order to understand what the main characters will go through in documentaries and to look at every story with a similar empathy. Participants also gained insight into pitches and meetings from an ex-commissioner’s perspective and changing their writing and thinking processes to become better storytellers.

"One of the best courses I have enjoyed in my twenty-year media career." (Heather Kane, BBC Scotland)

The group really bonded  around their own stories and the stories they want to tell. The excellent feedback and atmosphere in the room on the last day created a sense of a ‘were you there?’ moment, complete with cake to mark the occasion, which is a great start for the NFTS Scotland hub, and a testament to the quality of the training NFTS offers.   

"Peter Dale has been an absolute inspiration. I will never forget what he has taught me this week". (Laura-Jane Chalmers, BBC Scotland)

For more information on the next NFTS Scotland courses, visit www.nfts.co.uk/scotland and follow us @NFTSScotland on Twitter and Facebook

NFTS Students Win Award at 2018 Cannes Film Festival

NFTS graduation animation, Inanimate directed by Lucia Bulgheroni and produced by Lennard Ortmann is one of three films to be awarded prizes in the Cinéfondation Selection at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. 

Inanimate, which took Third Prize was one of just 17 films chosen from 2,426 submissions from film schools worldwide; NFTS has now had more Cinéfondation selections than any other film school in the world. The jury was presided over by French director, composer and screenwriter Bertrand Bonello (Nocturama), who chose the best films in both the Cinéfondation and Short Film selections. The prizes were awarded in the Buñuel Theatre on May 17.       

Lucia said: "It’s such an honour to receive this award and I feel so proud about my whole team that supported and stayed with me in this long beautiful and intense adventure."                                                                                                 

A stop-frame animation, Inanimate is about a woman who loses her certainty about reality and discovers she is much more than just a puppet: Katrine has a normal life, a normal job, a normal boyfriend and a normal apartment in a normal city. Or at least that’s what she thinks, until one day everything starts falling apart literally!

The Team:

Lucia Bulgheroni - Director/Animator; Lennard Ortmann – Producer; Drew Eu – Screenwriter; Ronnie Mcquillan – Cinematographer; Kristina Kovacs - Production Designer; Alex Mcardle - Production Manager; Raphael Pereira – Editor; Louise Burton – Sound Designer & Dubbing Mixer; Jose Pavli – Composer; Niall Harty - Cg Lead; Amy Gibson - Lead Compositor; Hugh Howlett - Colourist & Online Editor; zsófi szemerédy, PR and Marketing

Third Successive Win for NFTS Students at 2018 British Arrows Craft Awards

‘The Tale of Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley Takes Gold

‘The Tale of Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley’, directed and co-written by recent NFTS graduate, Roland Kennedy and Co-Written by fellow NFTS alumna, Tiana Linden, was awarded a prestigious Gold Arrow at this year’s British Arrows Craft Awards, which took place last night and champions the innovation, bravery and artistry of moving image advertising.

This is the third successive year that NFTS students have dominated and won the top award in the Student Commercial Category. Ian Robertson won in 2017 for his commercial, Cupid and Tom Day, Ian Packard and Daniel Atherton triumphed in 2016 for their NFTS Bridge to Industry short film, Teach a Man to Fish, which was made for fashion brand, Jigsaw.

‘The Tale of Wilson ‘Snowflake’ Bentley’tells the story of the man who discovered that no two snowflakes are the same. Roland and Tiana came up with the idea, which was picked by a panel of judges including Oscar winning screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog MillionaireBattle of the Sexes), in response to a challenge from Autograph Collection Hotels to come up with a story to express the idea ‘Exactly Like Nothing Else.’  

Autograph Collection Hotels funded the winning graduates to make their idea into a film, which was shot on the main stage at the NFTS just before Christmas.  You can take a peek at the making of the film here

Crew includes: Director Roland Kennedy, Writers Tiana Linden & Roland Kennedy, DoP Brian Fawcett, Production Designer Isobel Dunhill, Art Department Model Maker Declan O’Brien, Editor Joseph Comar, Co-Producer Khaled Gad, Composer Jess Jones – please see film for full credits

‘Jurassic World’ Director Reveals his Journey from Indie Features to Blockbuster Franchises

“I would encourage all of you to make one movie with a bunch of your mates at least once.”

Director and Co-Writer of Guinness World Record breaking film, Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow delighted NFTS students with an insightful masterclass on what it takes to work on blockbuster franchises like Jurassic World and Star Wars.

(Trailer - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom)

Jurassic World set a box office record during its opening weekend, becoming the first film in cinematic history to generate over $500 million in a single weekend, and was the third-highest-grossing film of all time in the world during its theatrical run. It’s sequel, the much anticipated Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise and is released on June 11th 2018.

(Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Release June 2018)

In a session hosted by NFTS director, Jon Wardle, Colin revealed that he too had been a film school student: “I met a lot of the people I work together with now at film school; it’s great that you focus on collaborating with other disciplines at NFTS as realising that filmmaking is a collaborative medium is one of the most important lessons I learned.”

(Colin Trevorrow and NFTS Director, Jon Wardle)

Colin experienced his first success with low budget, indie feature, Safety Not Guaranteed which he directed and produced with long-standing collaborator, Derek Connolly after Derek saw a classified ad asking for a time-travelling excursion partner. Colin explained: The film was a joy from start to finish. The spirit of it is real, true and honest; I cherish that I knew how special it was at the time. I would encourage all of you to make one movie with a bunch of your mates at least once.”

The film won the ‘Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award’ at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Colin described how he felt when the film sold as a result: “I was shocked they were going to put it in the movies! It was a special moment.”

(Safety Not Guaranteed)

Due to his Sundance success, Colin was hired by Steven Spielberg to direct Jurassic World. Colin admitted that he did have some reservations about moving straight to a blockbuster franchise and asked himself: “Are we sure we want to rob ourselves of movies we would’ve made along the way?” But he understood how big an opportunity that Jurassic World presented and recognized that Safety Not Guaranteed showed a “desire to make a mainstream movie.” Colin continued: “Safety Not Guaranteed contained comedy, thrills, action and magic. Injecting a sense of interest in a particular genre is a signal.”

On the challenges of working on a blockbuster for the first time with a long shoot time of four months, Colin explained: “I understood the visual effects workflow from my experience on Safety Not Guaranteed but every VFX sequence for Jurassic World had to be designed very carefully. I had to listen and learn in real time and give clear directives. You have to find a way to trust your instincts but also have the humility to second guess yourself as you can’t always be right.”

(Colin Trevorrow meeting NFTS students after the masterclass)

After Jurassic World, Colin directed Book of Henry as he always wanted to direct a ‘noble ghost story’: “I love the idea of someone being able to influence events from beyond the grave. I needed to do that movie for a number of reasons. It was challenging tonally and emotionally.”

(Book of Henry)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes out for UK cinema release on 6th June 2018.


Two Ivor Novello Nominations for NFTS Alumni!

‘Best Original Film Score’ & ‘Best TV Soundtrack’

NFTS graduates, Dario Marianelli and Rob Lane have been nominated at this year’s Ivor Novello Awards, for ‘Best Original Film Score’ and ‘Best Television Soundtrack’ respectively.

The Ivors were created by BASCA [British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors] to celebrate, honour and reward excellence in song writing and composing. The awards are unique in specifically honouring the UK song writing and composing community and are exclusively judged by songwriters and composers. The winners in each category will be announced at the award ceremony, hosted by Paul Gambaccini, at the Grosvenor House, London on Thursday 31st May 2018.

Oscar winning composer and graduate of the NFTS Composing MA, Dario Marianelli is nominated for his work on Paddington 2, the 2017 live-action animated comedy film, directed by Paul King. Dario is a multi-award-winning composer having won an Oscar for his work on Atonement and received Oscar nominations for both Anna Karenina and Pride & Predjudice.

Multi-award winning composer, Rob Lane, is nominated for a ‘Best TV Soundtrack’ Ivor Novello for one-off BBC One drama, Babs, based on the life of Barbara Windsor. Rob has received four Primetime Emmy nominations and has won a BAFTA for ‘Best Original TV Music’ for his work on Elizabeth.

For more information about the NFTS Composing MA, pleases visit www.nfts.co.uk/composing

Trio of NFTS Grad Films Nominated for BAFTA International Student Film Awards

A fantastic three NFTS graduation films have received prestigious nominations in BAFTA’s International Student Film Awards, which takes place on Friday 28th June at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. The nominations include two graduation animations, Inanimate and Police directed by Luci Bulgheroni and Ed Smith respectively and a graduation documentary, Circle, directed by Jayisha Patel.

The films were selected from 469 submissions from over 35 countries.

Stop-frame animation Inanimate is nominated in the animation category. The eight-minute short explores the nature of reality through a puppet called Katrine who realises; through poignancy and curiosity, that she is ‘so much more than a puppet’. The animation has also been shortlisted at this month’s Cannes Film Festival in the Cinéfondation programme, which recognises emerging talent, as well appearing at the leading Annecy animation festival.


Directing Documentary MA alumna Jayisha Patel’s transmedia documentary, Circle is nominated in the Documentary category, having had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. Set in contemporary Uttar Pradesh in North India, Circle is a poignant lament for the plight of young women, victim to rape and abuse within their own families, where a coerced culture of misogyny exists within a community very much stuck in the past.

Recent Directing Animation MA graduate, Ed Smith’s short Police is also nominated in the animation category. Based on Director Ed Smith’s own father’s struggle with post traumatic stress, Police is the frank story of an aging policeman and his internal suffering as he is plagued with flashbacks of his life in the force. The film combines a number of animation techniques, with foreground miniature elements, full scale live action backgrounds and 2D hand drawn animation characters.

The BAFTA Student Film Awards is an annual event celebrating the works of the next generation of talented and innovative filmmakers; encouraging strong talent connections across the world.  Featuring an evening of student films selected by a panel of industry professionals, the best films in each category will be chosen on the night for four top prizes – the BAFTA Student Film Award for Animation presented by LAIKA, the Student Film Award for Documentary, the Student Film Award for Live Action Film, and the Special Jury Prize, selected by the event’s panel members.

BAFTA CEO Chantal Rickards says of the awards: ‘Through its global connections, BAFTA is committed to providing opportunities for creative talent to artistically express themselves. We are honoured to support such high calibre talent for our Student Film Awards.’

The annual awards ceremony will take place on Friday 28th June at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

If you would like to follow in our students’ footsteps, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/animation and www.nfts.co.uk/documentary for more information

NFTS Scotland opens its doors

Culture Secretary meets students and tutors

(L-R Alison Goring, Head of NFTS Scotland, Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, NFTS Scotland student, Lewis Landini, BBC Scotland, Head of Corporate Affairs, Ian Small, NFTS Scotland student, Meray Diner, NFTS Co-Head Documentary, Peter Dale)

Students have begun the first course at NFTS Scotland – the new hub of the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Backed with £475,000 of Scottish Government funding, this is the first time the NFTS has had a base outside the southeast of England. In partnership with the BBC, the School is offering specialist courses in all aspects of film, television and games development, based at BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay and Dumbarton studios.

To improve diversity and inclusion in the screen sector, there is a joint aspiration that a third of training places in the first two years will receive bursary funding, paid for by a Scottish Government and BBC-funded scheme.

(L-R Culture Secretary, Fiona Hyslop; NFTS Co-Head Documentary, Peter Dale; Inagural NFTS Scotland student, Meray Diner)

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop met students and tutors at the inaugural documentary storyline course at Pacific Quay. The course is led by BAFTA-nominated Peter Dale, former head of documentaries at Channel 4 and NFTS Co-Head of Documentary.

Ms Hyslop said:

“We want to continue to support our growing screen industry, and that’s why we’re backing this venture from the National Film and Television School. These courses will give people in Scotland the opportunity to develop their careers in the sector and move up the creative ladder, while also providing the industry with a stream of well-qualified talent.

“I am particularly pleased we have been able to support the bursary scheme so that people who might otherwise not be able to access this training can either learn new skills so they are work-ready or progress their careers. This will mean people of all backgrounds can benefit from these outstanding opportunities.”

Meray Diner, a course participant, said:

“It’s a huge privilege to be one of the first participants to enrol at NFTS Scotland, which I could not have done without the support of the bursary fund provided by the Scottish Government and the BBC. Their support has helped start my journey to fulfilling my dream to be a successful documentary director and producer in Scotland.”

Alison Goring, Head of NFTS Scotland said:

“It’s fantastic to open the doors of NFTS Scotland and welcome our first cohort onto the inaugural course led by BAFTA- nominated documentary maker, Peter Dale. We have a packed schedule of courses coming up over the next few months and a whole host of participants enrolled from a wide range of backgrounds thanks to the support of the Scottish government and the BBC. We look forward to playing an important role in supplying a consistent pipeline of local talent to our thriving and growing industry here in Scotland.”

Donalda MacKinnon, BBC Scotland Director said:

 "BBC Scotland’s plans to create more relevant content for our audiences, which include a new channel, are about to step up a notch so it's great news for our industry that we can now also welcome NFTS students into our bases at both Glasgow and Dumbarton. It's an exciting time for the creative sector here in Scotland and we're delighted to be able to play our part in helping NFTS students acquire and maintain the appropriate skills that we'll all need as the industry expands."


NFTS Scotland will offer a range of bespoke courses to develop the creative talent and expertise of graduates and people already working in Scotland’s screen sector. This will help to address skills gaps in specific areas which have been identified as priorities by employers.

The Scottish Government is providing an additional £10 million for screen sector growth, production and development this year, bringing its investment in screen to £20 million.

Contact for more information:

NFTS Head of PR and Communications – Vicky Hewlett vhewlett@nfts.co.uk

Full list of upcoming courses can be found at www.nfts.co.uk/scotland

NFTS Stories: “Studying at the NFTS has been invaluable to my career”

Laura Dodds – Games Design and Development MA Graduate

Welcome to our first NFTS story, a series of blogs featuring our alumni talking about where they were before they came to the School and where they are now (follow the series by using the #NFTSStories hashtag across Twitter and Instagram). Laura graduated from the Games Design and Development MA in 2017 and is now working in the games industry at Dream Reality Interactive. She was also nominated for the prestigious MCV Women in Games 2018 Rising Star of the Year – Development Award

What were you doing before applying to the NFTS? 

Before the NFTS, I studied Film and TV at Warwick and worked as an animation artist. I also spent a year in Costa Rica teaching and learning the difference between a howler monkey and a capuchin!

What are you doing now? I work at Dream Reality Interactive, an AR / VR games studio in London as an art director.  Most recently I have worked on Orbu - an AR game where you roll cute animals around a zen garden and Hold The World - a VR experience where you visit the Natural History Museum and have a one-on-one with Sir David Attenborough. Although I was nervous at the time, meeting Sir David Attenborough in person was a real career highlight and an experience I will always treasure. 

How has studying at the NFTS helped you in your journey to your current career? When I was younger it never occurred to me that I could have a career in games.  I had been aware of the NFTS for a long time (my Dad gave me prospectus for it when I was 14!) but I didn’t know about the Games Design and Development MA.  When I read about what the course was offering it just seemed like it had been designed for me.  Studying at the NFTS has been invaluable to my career.  It helped me develop a range of skills, experience and industry contacts as well as a creative mindset that has served me well in the games industry.

What advice would you give to an aspiring NFTS student? Studying at the NFTS was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  If you are inspired by the creative industries and want to progress your career then I think it’s a fantastic opportunity.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which film, TV boxset or video game would you take? I would have to take a Buffy the Vampire Slayer boxset - if I said anything else anyone who knows me would know I was lying!

Applications are open for the Games Design and Development MA until the 5th July 2018 – more info and apply at www.nfts.co.uk/games