Editing Grad Úna Ni Dhonghaíle Wins BAFTA for ‘Three Girls’

NFTS Editing MA graduate Úna Ni Dhonghaíle has added a BAFTA to her awards cabinet winning the ‘Editing: Fiction’ category at last night’s British Academy Television Craft Awards for her work on BBC drama, Three Girls, which is based on the true stories of victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale.

This is Úna’s fifth award for Three Girls having already won two Royal Television Society Awards, an Irish Film and Television Award and a Women in Film and TV Award. The critically acclaimed BBC mini-series director, Philippa Lowthorpe and writer, Nicole Taylor also won Television Craft BAFTAs at last night’s ceremony hosted by Stephen Mangan.

Úna and Philippa visited the School in January to give a masterclass on Three Girls – read more here.

If you would like to follow in Úna’s footsteps, apply for the Editing MA by the 3rd May – www.nfts.co.uk/editing

NFTS Announces Inaugural RSPB Scholarship Recipients

Science and Natural History MA Open Day 23rd April

The inaugural recipients of the RSPB Scholarship for students on the NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA are announced as Gisela Sepulveda and George Pretty.

The RSPB is the official course partner for the MA, which is now in its second year. The charity is working closely with the School 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.

Students on the course benefit from access to RSPB nature reserves to practice and enhance their wildlife filming technique and 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. Read about the students’ first visit to RSPB Sandwell where they learnt to put up hides and use telephoto lenses.

Grant Wisbey, RSPB Creative Studio Manager said of Gisela and George’s selection: ‘Firstly we’d like to thank all of this year’s student intake for their applications to receive the RSPB Scholarship. The calibre of applications was extremely high with a number compelling cases being put forward. Through their applications both Gisela and George demonstrated aptitude, enthusiasm and commitment to conservation filmmaking. Our award-winning film unit champion an ethical approach to filmmaking and are delighted that our scholars represent these values. We are incredibly proud to be supporting the next generation of natural history filmmakers and wish Gisela and George the best of luck.’

We caught up with Gisela and George to find out how they are getting on since starting in January:

Gisela: These first few weeks have been an incredible whirlwind. My highlight so far has been learning the importance of storytelling to drive a documentary. I am using this knowledge in the pre-production of a science interview, in which my colleagues and I are basing a story on the RSPB’s work of satellite tracking turtle doves’ migratory routes to help protect this vulnerable species. For the future I am looking forward to learning specialist camera techniques next term such as time lapse, macro and long lens.

George: It’s been a fascinating first month here at the NFTS. It’s an enormous privilege to be surrounded by so many talented individuals all working in their respective fields. We’ve had an incredibly varied introduction to the School, receiving masterclasses from award-winning filmmakers such as Denis Villeneuve and Alex Garland and Ken Loach’s long term producer Rebecca O’Brien. It’s been incredibly valuable to analyse the common themes of storytelling that unite all forms of film making. Over the next few months we’re fortunate to have more course driven masterclasses from industry professionals such as renowned underwater cameraman Doug Allen. Our first project (which is currently ongoing) is a scientific interview with a scientist of our choosing. In our groups case we’re focusing on work at Plymouth Marine Institute into the effects of microplastics on marine ecosystems.

On receiving the RSPB scholarship Gisela and George said:

Gisela: I would just like to say thank you to the RSPB for this scholarship, it has given me the opportunity that I otherwise would not have had to chase my dream. Not only has it allowed me to join the NFTS but it has also given me the path to be able to create documentaries in order to communicate ideas and target conservation awareness.

George: I feel a great sense of honour to have the support of an organisation I’ve held in respect throughout my life. To know that the RSPB sees something in me worth developing gives me the confidence to move forward as a filmmaker, building upon a rich history of Science and Natural History documentary.

And on their future plans:

Gisela: Currently the dream would be to become a director. However, the most important career ambition for me is to use documentaries as a medium to keep current and future generations interested in looking after our planet. I would like to do this by finding new ways to visually interest them in wildlife/science documentaries to encourage them to take conservation action. Technological innovation has always been driving science/natural history documentaries forward and in new directions. Taking this on board I would like to consider using VR or animation combined with traditional documentary methods as an exciting new cross-genre format.

George: I intend on challenging the norms of natural history film making, whilst taking the strongest elements of dramatic story telling and combining them with a refined visual aesthetic to produce both visceral and intellectually stimulating films. At its core I hope to use these tools to produce high impact documentaries strongly rooted in conservation biology and as a drive for positive social change. I have a particular interest in the impacts of human activity upon marine and terrestrial ecosystems. For my first year film I intend to use 360 underwater cameras to record the impact of purse-seine trawlers upon fish populations. I’m hoping to use emerging VR technology to provide audiences with a novel immersive experience of the world around us.

The NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA is holding an open day on the 23rd April for those interested in enrolling in January 2019 – sign up at www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory

NFTS Co-Head Documentary Nominated for BAFTA

38 NFTS Alumni Credits on BAFTA TV Awards Nominations

NFTS Co-Head of Documentary, Peter Dale has received a BAFTA nomination in the forthcoming Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards in the Single Documentary category for his work on Louis Theroux, Talking To Anorexia. The Awards takes place on the 13th May and will be hosted by Sue Perkins.

In addition, 38 NFTS alumni are credited across the nominated programmes - including an impressive 9 DoP credits - as follows:

Best Drama Series

Peaky Blinders Series 4: Key Boom Operator, Sarah Howe

The Crown [Series 2]: Story Editor, Edward Hemming; Editors, Una Ni Dhonghaile and Alex Mackie; Sound Assistant, Thomas Markwick; Stand By Art Director, Isobel Dunhill; Cashier, Marta Henriquez

The End of the F***ing World: Sound FX Editor, Peter Warnock; Location Runner, Sonia Hoogenstraaten; Production Secretary, Alicja Kielbasa

Best Factual Series

Ambulance: Cinematography, Jasleen Sethi; Editor, Manuela Lupini

Catching a Killer: Composer, Sarah Warne

Hospital: Executive Producer, Jackie Waldock (Series 2); Director, Lyttanya Shannon (Series 3)

Best Mini-Series

Howards End: Production Designer, Luke Hull

The Moorside: DoP, Stephan Pehrsson

The State: DoP Gavin Finney; Assistant to the Director, Khaled Gad

Three Girls: Editor, Una Ni Dhonghaile; Composer, Natalie Holt

Best Scripted Comedy

Catastrophe: DoP, Daniel Stafford Clark

Chewing Gum: Online Editor, Fabio-Miguel Campos

Timewasters: DoP, Sean Van Hales

Best Short Form Programme

Morgana Robinson’s Summer: Boom Operator, Amée Simpson

Best Single Documentary

Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad: Composer, Mat Davidson

Best Single Drama

Against the Law: Composer, Roger Goula

Black Mirror: Hang the DJ: DoP, Stuart Bentley; Foley Editor, Dario Swade

King Charles III: DoP, Philippe Kress; Rerecording Mixer, Stuart Hilliker

Murdered for Being Different: DoP, Vanessa Whyte

Best Soap & Continuing Drama

Casualty: Director, Matthew Evans; Writer, Laura Poliakoff

Coronation Street: Director, Diana Patrick

Emmerdale: Director, Diana Patrick

Best Specialist Factual

Elizabeth I’s Secret Agents: DoP, Gary Clarke; Sound Recordist: Drama, Lauri Kelleher

NFTS Games Design Grads & Students Hit the Headlines

After an incredibly successful 2017, NFTS Games Design & Development MA students and graduates are hitting the headlines once again.

Graduate, Ana Ribeiro’s game, Pixel Ripped, which started life as her NFTS graduation game was released on May 22nd 2018 on Oculus, HTC Vive, and PS VR.

Ana spoke to Gamespot about the release: "I started this as my final project in university for the master's degree program, and it was at a university more well-known for movies and stuff [National Film and Television School], and then when I put it on Oculus share, it got a lot of press," said Ribeiro. "People seemed to have liked it. It was more of a proof of concept to try and get a job, but then I decided to work on this game and get it a full release. It's been four years altogether. This is the dream. It actually has a lot of my life experiences in the game. I used to be a bad student, throwing paperballs, playing games in the background--it's all from a really personal place. "

(Still from Laura Dodds' graduation game, Night Bizarre)

Fellow graduate, Laura Dodds has been nominated for the MCV Women in Games 2018 Rising Star of the Year – Development Award, an award that was won by NFTS graduate, Naomi Kotler in 2017. 

(Still from Jonathan Nielssen's graduation game, Falling Sky)

NFTS Games Design and Development students, Michael Murray and Shane Hou’s game, The Grandfather Machine and Jonathan Nielssen’s graduation game, Falling Sky received nominations for the Grads in Games, Student Game Award.

And finally, Umwelt, a game made by Cupboard Games, which is run by graduates Paul Dillon and Jonathan Hatton and NFTS Co-Ordinator, Tony Evans was selected for this year's EGX Rezzed Leftfield Collection, an indie showcase 'that shines a light on games and projects that do things a little differently.' 

If you would like to follow in our Games grads’ footsteps, apply by 27th September for a Jan 2019 start.

NFTS Students Clock Up More Cannes Selections Than Any Other Film School

National Film and Television School (NFTS) students are heading to Cannes once again this year having received their seventh consecutive selection for the prestigious Cinéfondation short film programme. This impressive tally means that NFTS students have achieved more Cinéfondation selections than any other film school! NFTS graduation animation, Inanimate directed by Lucia Bulgheroni and produced by Lennard Ortmann, is one of just 17 films selected from 2426 works submitted by film schools from all over the world and will compete for three prizes at the festival, which takes place between the 8th and 19th May. 

Inanimate is a stop frame animation film – (See Editor’s notes for full credits) - something the NFTS is particularly famed for as alumni include Oscar winning, Wallace and Gromit director, Nick Park and Peppa Pig creator, Mark Baker. NFTS graduation animations have also won the British Short Animation BAFTA for the past five years in a row.

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!

Lucia said: “It’s such an honour to have our film selected for Cannes. The idea of Inanimate arrived to me with a vision of a soul inside a puppet, suddenly ripping a part of its own body to get out. In the last few years I’ve developed a love for philosophy and psychology, especially the Greek philosophy of Plato and Socrates. The idea that we are souls or consciousness that are inside bodies during our life time and then go back to our original form of consciousness always resonated with me.”

Lennard said: “Lucia and I initially got together through discussions we had about the nature of reality and what might lie behind “the veil”. I remember talking about Plato’s allegory of the cave and Freud a lot. Lucia already had a very strong idea of a puppet becoming aware of her ‘puppetness’ and I loved the potential of the idea to talk about the human condition. So we decided to team up for our grad film. Being selected for Cannes is a fantastic testament to all the hard work the whole team put in – we can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere and see our film screened at the festival.”

For more information about our Directing Animation MA and to sign up to the upcoming course open day on the 27th April, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/animation

Editor’s notes:

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; Zsofia Szemeredy - Sales, Marketing and PR (sz.szemy@gmail.com)

Contact for further information:

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

NFTS Partners with Leading Fashion Designer Stella McCartney

Commercials Directed by NFTS Students to be Showcased on Stella’s World

Three commercials directed by NFTS Directing Commercials Diploma students are to be showcased on world leading fashion designer, Stella McCartney’s website as part of a partnership with the School. The script for the films was created by the Horse's Mouth Studio creative collective and was written by ex-Saatchi & Saatchi team Mike Sands and Howard Fretten.

All ten students on the course were tasked with making one commercial each, based on an identical script and incorporating garments from Stella McCartney Spring collection – the idea being to see how one concept could be interpreted in 10 different ways.  The winning commercials were directed by William Markarian-Martin, Clemence Bartram and Fabio Telles.

Directed by, William Markarian-Martin @willaemmm; DoP, Bruno Grillo @brunogrilodop

Directed by Clemence Bartram; DoP, Jonny Flint @jflintdop

Directed by Fabio Telles @subversive; DoP, Samira Oberberg @samiraoberberg

Conor Cronin, Head of Visual, Stella McCartney said: “We pretty much gave the students free rein over the direction of the commercials as we didn’t want to hold back their creative flair. The resulting commercials are impressive and of a high standard so it was tough selecting the three to showcase but William, Clem and Fabio’s work really stood out. It’s been a fantastic experience working with such creative talent and we look forward to seeing what the filmmakers come up with in future.”

Stuart Harris, Head of the NFTS Directing Commercials Diploma said: “It was an honour to be given the opportunity for our new directors to be inspired to create commercials for Stella McCartney’s spring summer 2018 collection. I look forward to working with the Stella McCartney organisation again this year with our new intake.”

For more information on the NFTS Directing Commercials Diploma, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/commercials.

To view the supercut of the commercials on Stella’s World, please click here.

And to find out more about Horse's Mouth Studio and the scriptwriters, please visit www.horsesmouth.studio

Model Making Students Recreate Classic Scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho

(Model Making students, Harry, Thanos & Alastair carrying out final touches to Psycho model)

A dark and foreboding mood has descended onto the Model Making department this month as the students work hard to recreate a classic scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho.

(Finished replica of the Psycho house viewed from the Bates motel) 

Head of Model Making, John Lee said: “I chose Psycho due to its iconic status and because it’s one of my favourite movies to see on the big screen. The shot we’ve been trying to replicate is the classic view from the Bates Motel looking up to the house.”


(Still of the Psycho house view from Bates Motel from the 1960 film)

This is a collaborative module, so all ten students are working on the same model, which encourages them to work as a team. John explained: “It’s important that communication is really strong so everything fits together from the windows to the walls. The main challenge is making it look real. We chose a 1:33 scale as it forces the students to work accurately and crisply over the six week build. We’re trying to retain that iconic Hitchcockian mood and atmosphere by finishing the model in various muted shades of black and white to reflect the fact that the film was shot in black and white.”

(NFTS Model Making Diploma students with their finished model)

John continued: “It’s important to gather as much research as possible and in doing so we found the original production design drawings. Interestingly when you compare them to the actual film, there are some differences, then in 1983 when they made Psycho II, they made further amendments to the house. Our model follows references from the original 1960 film.

(Becky, Ellen & Emma fabricating landscape from Psycho miniature)

Applications are open for the Model Making for Animation Diploma until the 7th June and the course starts in September 2018 – apply now at www.nfts.co.uk/modelmaking

NFTS Graduate & BAFTA Winning Director Lynne Ramsay Discusses Her Powerful New Film & Whether A Comedy Could Be Her Next Project!

BAFTA winning director and NFTS alumna, Lynne Ramsay delivered a highly entertaining and insightful masterclass to the students after a screening of her powerful new film, You Were Never Really Here.

The session was hosted by NFTS Head of Screen Arts, Sandra Hebron and Lynne was joined by the film’s producer, Jim Wilson. Lynne explained that You Were Never Really Here is based on a novella by Jonathan Ames and that she was attracted to the project by the main character who she found “really interesting.” She continued: “I loved how tight the book was and I tried to keep that quality in my adaptation.”

Jim got involved in the project when Lynne contacted him about it: “The thing that drew me was that Lynne wanted to do it. I would pretty much do the yellow pages if Lynne was attached to it! I was interested to see how Lynne would look at the subject matter.”

Joaquin Phoenix was Lynne’s first choice to play Joe: “I thought it was him from the beginning. In my mind, he was in it.” But securing Joaquin meant starting the shoot earlier than anticipated as he had an unexpected slot in his schedule. Jim explained: “We didn’t anticipate that we would make the film that summer as Joaquin was due to shoot a film but when that got moved, we went from best laid plans to being in New York and starting the shoot with no soft prep as we had to get the film done by September when Joaquin was due to start another film.”

Due to the tight time schedule, Lynne had to adapt the scrip to shorten the shoot time: “Our backs were really up against the wall.” Sandra added: “It feels like you got what you needed – there’s something about the propulsion that really works.” Lynne agreed: “Summer in New York is brutal – it was dirty, grimy and noisy – being summer was good for that reason though as we ended up with a tight little mean thing.”

The vulnerability of Joe is a central theme of the film, despite its tough subject matter. Lynne explained: “I wanted him to be human and vulnerable. I had to try lots of tones in the edit as I wanted humour in there as well. I’d never done an action movie or anything with guns before. I see the violence as psychology, it needed to be super mechanical and personal as it was an everyday thing for Joe. Seeing a piece of something is more effective and real, it gave the film a different kind of energy.” Sandra highlighted the scene where Joe touches his mother’s feet as a particularly tender moment. Lynne said: “To me it’s all about love – the tiniest gesture and detail says everything about the relationship.”

One of the students asked how Lynne had made the transition from shooting to directing as she had studied Cinematography at the NFTS. Lynne replied: “I started as a photographer. It was quite tough at first. I had to learn a new language. It’s really good to technically understand shots though, I think every director should have the skills of a good DP and understand which shots will work.”

The impactful score is composed by Radiohead member, Jonny Greenwood. Lynne said: “Getting any music from Jonny was like a present. He was amazing. He saw the film in chronological order, following the film like a character – the soundtrack is like Joe is imploding.”

Sandra asked about the music choices, particularly those that accompany the scenes of violence. Lynne said: “We tried as much as possible. We worked with Paul Davies who was a sound tutor at the NFTS while I was there. This is such a good place! A lot of the time, it’s the sound that really affects you.”

At the end of the session, Sandra thanked Lynne and Jim and said: “You are clearly very energised – what do you want to do now?” Lynne replied: “The energy from the film was crazy, it felt so good and as soon as it was over, I thought, let’s go shoot something else! I have lots of ideas, none fully fledged yet – a comedy maybe?! Nothing is off bounds so long as it’s something I’m excited about and something that excites the audience. I still feel like a student – I’m still exploring.” Lynne signed off by telling the students: “I’m looking forward to seeing your films, I bet they’re kick ass!”

You Were Never Really Here is out now and credits three further NFTS graduates in addition to Lynne. They are: DoP, Thomas Townend, Sound Designer and Supervising Sound Editor, Paul Davies and Additional Sound Editor, Morgan Muse.

If you would like to attend masterclasses like this one, have a look at our upcoming open days to find out more about our courses - www.nfts.co.uk/opendays

Three NFTS Alumni Nominated for 2018 BAFTA Television Craft Awards

A trio of NFTS alumni are nominated in this year’s BAFTA Television Craft Awards, the winners of which will be revealed at a ceremony on Sunday 22nd April hosted by Stephen Mangan.

Cinematography MA graduate Stephan Pehrsson is nominated for the ‘Photography & Lighting: Fiction’ award for his role as DoP on the episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series entitled USS Callister.

Directing Documentary MA alumnus, Daniel Vernon is competing for the ‘Photography: Factual’ award for his camerawork on the BBC Two series The Detectives: Murder on the Streets, which he also produced and directed.

Editing MA graduate, Una Ni Dhonghaile is in contention for a further award for her work on the BBC three-part BBC drama based on the true stories of victims of grooming and sexual abuse in Rochdale. She is nominated in the ‘Editing: Fiction’ category, having already won the ‘Best Editing; Drama’ award at the Royal Television Society Craft Awards in December.

In addition, Production Design alumna, Christina Moore was Supervising Art Director on the last series of Game of Thrones which has been nominated for ‘Best Production Design’ and the ‘Sound: Fiction’ nominees include the sound team from the BBC One series Taboo - on which Stuart Wilson served as Rerecording Mixer - and Black Mirror: USS Callister on which Dario Swade worked as Foley Editor and Kyle Pickford as Boom Operator.

NFTS Head of Model Making Recommends Easter Exhibition

The Store X and Fox Searchlight Pictures present an exclusive exhibition of sets and puppets from Isle of Dogs, a new film from Wes Anderson

NFTS Head of Model Making, John Lee, who has worked on a wide range of films as model maker and prop maker from Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Frankenweenie, recommends an exclusive exhibition taking place this Easter of sets and puppets from his latest film, Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs.

John says: “I really recommend that anyone interested in model making or animation should visit this free behind-the-scenes exhibition, which showcases a number of the original sets and puppets, some of which I had the pleasure of working on myself. Just to see some of the puppets and sets up close will really blow your mind. The level of detail is insane on this type of film, and Wes pushes that to the absolute limit!”

On what he enjoyed most about working on Isle of Dogs, John said: “The main attraction to working on Isle of Dogs was the crew to be honest. Art Department Supervisor, Roddy Macdonald puts together a great team down at 3 Mills Studios, and most of us had worked together before on Frankenweenie, and Fantastic Mr Fox, so if you’re lucky enough to be asked, then you are in for a real treat. The work on a project like that is so nice, and because it’s stop frame animation, your work generally ends up on screen.”

“My part on Isle of Dogs was fairly short by animated feature standards, as I was lucky enough to work on it straight after Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” I worked in the art department, which was huge. We had prop and model makers, painters, and designers, so the type of work you are making is either model sets, or nice props from the film. I did a bit of both really, which is always good, as I enjoy working large or small.”

Isle of Dogs credits no fewer than seven NFTS graduates including Ralph Foster, Editor; Gillian Simpson, Digital Compositor; and Frej Bengtsson, Quentin Haberham, Steve Warne,  Adam M Watts and Laura Tofarides (animators).

The exhibition takes place between the 23rd and 31st March at The Store Studios, 180 The Strand.

If this piques your interest in working as a model maker, find out more about our new Model Making for Animation Diploma at www.nfts.co.uk/modelmaking - apply by 7th June to start in September 2018.