Our credits tell the story.

NFTS Games Students Win UKIE Game Jam

Apply for Games Design MA now!

(NFTS Game Jam Winning Team. From left to right: Shuaiying 'Shane' Hou, Daisy Fernandez, Michael Murray, Joel Marshall)

NFTS Games Design and Development MA students have won ‘Best Game’ at the highly competitive Ukie Student Game Jam organised by UK Interactive Entertainment, the only trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry. (If you want to be part of our exciting Games department, apply now and start in January 2018! More info at www.nfts.co.uk/games)

The Game Jam saw teams from Ukie Student institutes competing against each other to create the best game in 48 hours and win the coveted Ukie Student Game Jam trophy. The theme of the game jam was announced at 9:30am on the first day and then teams had 48 hours to brainstorm, design and complete their game. A panel of games industry judges awarded the trophy to ‘My Body, My Choice’ developed by NFTS students including Michael Murray, Shane Hou, Gracie Drake, Daisy Fernandez and Joel Marshall.

About ‘My Body, My Choice’

My Body, My Choice is a good-humoured side-scrolling platform game. The player takes on the role of a disembodied skull, collects body parts as they go, navigates the environment and builds a body.

Head of NFTS Games, Alan Thorn says: “I am thrilled that NFTS Games Students have won the UKIE Game Jam ‘Best Game’ Award with their game ‘My Body, My Choice’. The UKIE Game Jam is a highly prestigious event for students throughout the UK, and the games industry more widely, for showcasing talent and excellence. There is a lot of skilful, friendly competition involved, and this award reflects the great work our students do as well as the creative climate running throughout the NFTS. By coming on our games course, students immerse themselves in a multidisciplinary environment, work with students from other departments, attend key industry events, and receive extensive guidance and support from industry expert tutors.”

Playthrough here

Apply now for the NFTS Games Design and Development MA – www.nfts.co.uk/games

 

NFTS Sweep the Board at RTS Student Television Awards!

Apply for TV Entertainment MA now

(Marika Santala, Director, The Love Gym with her RTS Student Award)

NFTS students have once again done us proud winning no fewer than seven RTS Student Television Awards! Prizes were won in Comedy & Entertainment; Drama; Factual; Camerawork; Editing; Production Design and Sound. There were an incredible 20 NFTS nominations overall. (If you would like to follow in our winners’ footsteps, apply now for MA’s in Directing & Producing Television Entertainment; Directing Animation and Production Design.)

The ceremony took place on Friday 16th of June at the BFI Southbank in London and was chaired by Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and hosted by the very funny, writer, presenter and comedian, Katherine Ryan.

The awards recognise the best audiovisual work created by students across the UK and Republic of Ireland at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Awards are judged in Animation, Comedy & Entertainment, Drama, Factual, News and Short Feature. Excellence is also rewarded in craft skills for camerawork, editing, production design and sound.

The winners:

Postgraduate Comedy & Entertainment

The Love Gym, Raphael Beaulieu (Producer) and Marika Santala (Director)

 “A great concept, brilliantly executed. Being character led rather than overtly scripted meant the right balance of charm, naughtiness and naturalism. The jury wanted to watch more!”

Postgraduate Drama

Ferris & The Fancy Pigeon, James Gardner (Director/ Writer) and Helene Sifre (Producer)

“An uplifting, heart-warming coming of age comedy; mixing grounded, kitchen-sink style drama with heightened moments and flights of fancy.”

Postgraduate Factual

Uprooted, Ross Domoney (Director/ Producer/ Cinematographer)

 “A beautifully crafted film that demonstrated a real understanding of how personal stories, powerfully told, can be used to shine a light on a wider political issue.”

Postgraduate Craft Skills - Camerawork

Krzysztof Trojnar, Mia

“The jury admired the beauty of composition and how every shot seemed to have been carefully considered.”

Postgraduate Craft Skills - Editing

Dennis Mabry, The Sunflower Inn

“With no resorting to voiceover, the edit managed to deliver great clarity of storytelling and hugely contributed to the joy and warmth of the film.”

Postgraduate Craft Skills - Production Design

Joelle Aoun, Mia

“The production design was quietly effective in creating a distinct and clear vision for the film and was integral to its success.”

Postgraduate Craft Skills - Sound

Eleanor Nicholls, Mia

“Sound was used very effectively in bringing to life the world of the film. Bold choices such as the use of silence at times were greatly admired by the jury.”

More information on how to apply for MA’s in Directing & Producing Television Entertainment; Directing Animation and Production Design at https://www.nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/deadlines

NFTS Games Promotes Innovation and Storytelling

Apply by 6th July!

“Anybody with strong ideas, talent and industry exposure can make successful games”

Alan Thorn, NFTS Head of Games explains why our Games Design and Development MA can help you stand out from the crowd and get a step ahead of the competition. If this sounds like you, apply by 6th July – more information on how to apply here:

The games industry is an exciting landscape. It’s constantly challenging developers to innovate and captivate in order to be successful. With the democratization of games development, more people than ever may now download software and tools completely free of charge, and then invest their time making fun games. But in this climate of openness, the competition in the marketplace is undoubtedly fierce, and so other types of skills and knowledge are needed to stand apart from the crowd. Developers must work cleverly to let their creativity flourish. This is why our games course at the National Film and Television School is especially unique and important.

At NFTS games we realize that you don’t necessarily need a background or a degree in games to make great games. People from all walks of life and all backgrounds can be successful games developers, and indeed they can move beyond traditional gaming to challenge the very meaning of games themselves. This is part of the beauty of the games industry and our games course. This variety of perspectives is critically important for innovation. With determination, talent, and great ideas our course can help you develop story-telling skills, technical skills, and the necessary industry connections that elevate your work to excellence and recognition. Specifically, our games course teaches you the art and craft of game-making from all major perspectives, alongside related skills like story-telling and producing, and it helps develop your industry profile through connections, events and portfolio development. Let’s take a look further at what makes our ground-breaking MA so special.

Portfolio Approach

NFTS Games is a two-year flagship MA course that’s highly regarded for its unique approach. We welcome rising stars and strong talent onto the course, even if they have no prior game development skills! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t programmed before or created 3D art and animations. Our course is taught by leading industry practitioners with many years industry experience who are committed to helping you establish a varied skillset. The first year of the course consists of five intensive modules, each of which results in a complete, playable game specifically intended to build you a career portfolio showcasing your talent. You’ll learn programming, life-drawing, 3D-modelling, texture creation, story-telling, game production and many more industry-relevant skills. This portfolio will be critical to employability, demonstrating what you can do while working in a highly collaborative studio setting.

(Game: ReTreat; Developer: Jonathan Nielssen; Module: Moments of Consequence)

Innovation Focus - Storytelling and Mechanics

Our course aims to make you an industry leader and a pioneer. Someone who assertively challenges established norms and tries new ideas. Right now, the games industry is still dominated by a traditional diet of big guns, glorified violence, hyper-sexualized women and blood-soaked zombies. But games can be so much more than this if we let them. Games can make us laugh and cry, can bring us together and make us think, and most of all they can inspire us to become better people both inside and outside of virtual worlds. We recognize the value of strong story-telling skills, coupled with innovation in gameplay, to help you make compelling games that stand apart from the mainstream shooters. Our modules are designed to engage you with philosophical, cultural and contemporary themes, and to help you explore new directions for gaming experiences.

(Game Name: Sprinkle Palooza; Developer: Benita Kvinlaug; Module: Final Year Project)

Collaborative Workflow

Nobody is alone on the games course! The games department is an energetic hub of creativity and sociability within the school. It inevitably attracts connections across all departments. Although curriculum hours are normally between 10am-5pm on weekdays, students nevertheless get access to the games labs and equipment 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week! That’s simply incredible! In this studio environment, connections and networking naturally happens. Our students get access to high-talent from other departments within the school, including screen-writing, cinematography, digital FX, sound design and composing, production management, marketing and creative business, and many more. For this reason, nearly every game made at the NFTS is the result of a collaborative process guided by the game student’s central creative vision; a process in which many skills and experiences have been brought together to form a high quality experience. In short, NFTS Games is a great place to work if you want to work with talented people!

(NFTS Games and Digital Effects Departments at FMX)

Industry Connectedness

Our games course is tightly integrated into the games industry in many ways, and our graduates quickly achieve success and recognition for their work. Our modules are taught by passionate and experienced industry professionals who are masters of their craft. And they continue to maintain industry links and careers outside the school too. In addition, guest speakers from across the creative industries, including games and film and television, regularly visit the school to deliver inspirational talks and masterclasses, and to visit students to discuss their work. We are also committed to taking student talent directly into the industry, and so our students attend and exhibit their work at high-profile industry events, like EGX.

Apply now! More information at www.nfts.co.uk/games

 

NFTS Grad Nick Park Remembers Peter Sallis’ ‘generosity of spirit to help out a poor film school student’

Wallace & Gromit Voice Actor Passes Away

(Peter Sallis with Nick Park)

NFTS graduate and Wallace & Gromit creator, Nick Park has paid tribute to actor, Peter Sallis who has passed away aged 96 and was the voice of the much loved Wallace.

Nick created the famous stop motion animation while at the NFTS and recalled Peter’s “generosity of spirit to help out a poor film school student back in the early 1980’s, when we first recorded together, when neither of us had any idea what Wallace & Gromit might become”. 

Peter provided the voice for Wallace on Nick’s NFTS graduation film, A Grand Day Out, which was nominated for an Oscar in 1989. Peter continued to voice Wallace for 15 years over various feature, short and video game iterations including Nick’s Oscar winning animations, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

(Still from A Grand Day Out)

Nick reflected how Peter’s “unique, charming quality, together with oversized vowels and endearing performance” helped him fashion Wallace from the beginning. “The way he first said “We’ve forgotten the Crackers Gromit” and “Cracking toast Gromit” or just “Cheeeese!” soon lead to Wallace’s enormous ‘coat-hanger mouth’”.

“I’m so sad, but feel so grateful and privileged to have known and worked with Peter over so many years. He was always my first and only choice for Wallace. I knew him of course from the very popular long running BBC series Last of the Summer Wine. He brought his unique gift and humour to all that he did, and encapsulated the very British art of the droll and understated.

“Working with Peter was always a delight and I will miss his wry, unpredictable humour and silliness – that started the moment he greeted you at the door, and didn’t stop when the mic was switched off. He had naturally funny bones and was a great storyteller and raconteur off stage too and would keep us amused for hours. He could make the simplest incident sound hilarious – just by the way he said it.

 “They don’t come along very often like Peter Sallis – he was a unique character, on and off screen, and an absolute honour to have known him.”

The NFTS continues to work with Aardman Animations (the production studios behind Wallace & Gromit) and inspire new generations of animators through its animation courses including:

Certificate in Character Animation in partnership with Aardman (apply by 8th June)

Model Making for Animation Diploma in partnership with Aardman and Mackinnon and Saunders (apply by 6th July)

Directing Animation MA (apply by 6th July)

 

Students Enjoy Q&A of a Lifetime with Sir David Attenborough

"You are the future. It's up to you to change things about the way you look at the natural world, using formats I haven't dreamed about."

Whilst many may dream of following in Sir David Attenborough’s footsteps, not many get the chance to spend two hours in the iconic Natural History presenter’s presence and fewer get the opportunity to get their individual questions answered in person.

This is the privilege the National Film and Television School’s inaugural intake of Directing and Producing Science and Natural History students enjoyed, each getting the chance to put three questions to David. (Applications are open now for the NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA - more information at www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory)

David drew us all in from the outset as he informed the students how audiences are usually built for programmes and introduced the concept of the ‘inheritance factor’ when at least 50% of the audience is inherited from the previous programme.  This certainly applied in the days when there were only a three TV networks – and probably still does to a considerable extent.  He gave the example of Planet Earth II being followed by the hugely popular Great British Bake Off, - although he was quick to point out he didn’t watch cookery programmes himself!

He put his popularity down to the fact that he had been appearing in natural history programmes for as long as most viewers could remember.

On how he writes narrations, David said: “When I happen to see a programme that I narrated a long time ago I almost invariably feel that there were too many words!  A commentary should not blather but let the pictures tell their story.  It should never give information that viewers can see for themselves.

The attributes that make a good presenter are a lot more difficult to pin down according to David. “It’s very difficult to know who will capture the interest of the audience. Hollywood had the phrase, ‘does the camera love him or her?’   One person can be magic on screen while another can be boring for no obvious reason. There’s no correlation between zoological knowledge and being a good natural history presenter. If you can’t mug up on the subject, you shouldn’t be in the business. You’ve got to have a feeling for animals of course and have the ability to speak from the heart. What’s so unfair is that so few get the chance to demonstrate their talent and many get into it by accident, as I did.”

(Still from BBC's Planet Earth II)

David was vociferous when asked if Blue Chip natural history programmes have a future when there are so many wildlife programmes: “Of course they do. The familiarity of a species is seldom a huge problem.  We know that people love looking at apes. It doesn’t matter how often they see them, apes will always be fascinating. And if you can’t make a decent film about big game, you’re in the wrong business.  But the programmes have to be well filmed – and that can take a lot of money.  If natural history films are given the proper budgets, I am sure they will hold their place!”

The conversation then turned to the prehistoric as David was asked to choose which prehistoric place and period he would like to visit and what he would make a film about. “It would most certainly be terrestrial and probably Triassic. Surprisingly little has been done on pterosaurs.  We still don’t know how some of the really big ones flew.” David then regaled us with a charming story about telling a lady at a black tie event how he was making a film about pterodactyls gliding over the cliffs of Dorset, to which she replied, ‘Oh they are so lovely aren’t they!’ and turned away.

(Still from Flying Monsters 3D)

The narrative then swiftly moved to politics and whether David has ever been tempted to join a political party, given his considerable influence and respect. “I would like to influence no matter what political party is in power. I’m not a politician. What astonishes me is that politicians are expected to know the answer to everything! Don’t ask me about the economic effects of Brexit! I don’t know! But I do have strong views about CO2 and feel confident speaking about it to whatever party is in power.”

Technology was the next subject covered thanks to a question about whether new filming techniques affected the way audiences view nature. “I don’t think any filmic tricks have changed the audience’s attitudes.  I hope they have instead deepened their knowledge and broadened their understanding. Not so long ago, we could only film during the day so people thought that lions were lazy creatures since they sleep for much of the day.  But of course, at night they are very active hunters.  The more technically competent we become, through using high-speed cameras, drones and night vision and so on, the fuller the story we give. The aim of the natural history programme maker is to tell the truth about the natural world and convey the reality about what is going on out there.”

Continuing the theme of truth, one of the students asked whether there is a place for anthropomorphism (crediting animals with human emotions). “A certain amount is justified.  We inevitably judge what an animal is feeling by comparing it with our own reactions.  If an elephant flares its ears, trumpets and charges towards you, you can be pretty sure that it is angry - even though anger is a human emotion and you are, therefore, being anthropomorphic.  On the other hand, if you watch an elephant pick up an elephant bone that it finds lying on the ground and fondles it with its trunk, you cannot be equally sure that it is mourning over a dead relative.  So if you say that it is, you should make it clear that this in only a suggestion.”

(Still from Frozen Planet)

“You should not conceal the way things are filmed, but you need not necessarily declare it. The classic case was in Frozen Planet. We filmed a polar bear giving birth and in the credits, we credited the zoo where it was filmed.  A journalist noticed this and accused us of fakery because we did not say so in the commentary.  The midwinter birth is a crucial event in polar bear biology. It would have been impossible to film in the wild without risking the life of the cub, the mother – or indeed the cameraman.  But it would have been absurd and defeated the purpose of the film to convey the reality of the Arctic winter to interrupt and say ‘by the way this scene was shot in captivity’.  We were not shooting a documentary about the experiences of an arctic explorer.  We were trying to convey the reality of a polar bear’s life – and we can therefore use background music, or cut together shots of different individual animals or different localities to do that.  The question simply is whether or not the filmmaker is trying to tell the truth.

On how to inject emotion into a film with a hard-hitting conservation message, David advised that “you have to start by producing a rational argument using cold, clinical facts.  Pleading a cause without a rational basis is dangerous.  Nor do you necessarily have to provide answers to issues.  Broadcasting on a national network is a huge privilege only given to few.  It should not indulge in propaganda, no matter how high-minded the issue.  Instead, it should strive to present both sides of an issue with such force that it cannot be ignored.

Most useful secondary skills for wildlife filmmakers was up next and David had plenty of intriguing stories to tell. “I’ve always said if I get into trouble in the bush, the person I want to have as a companion is a wildlife cameraman.  They are the most resourceful people, and skilled at everything from sweet talking customs officials to cooking! They have extraordinary mechanical abilities. For example when we were in the Galapagos shooting in 3D, a tiny lead broke.  We didn’t have a micro-soldering iron to fix it. The cameraman solved the problem using a hypodermic syringe from the medical kit – the tiny point of the syringe was used to make the connection. Their ability to improvise is really extraordinary! A recordist once even used a hollow plant stem to inject petrol!”

A question followed about whether future generations will lose touch with wildlife and how to combat this. “The industrial revolution led to great numbers of people losing contact with the countryside. There are great advantages and pleasures in living in cities. I live in London by choice. I love the theatre, museums, and have a wide range of friends.  But I’m aware that if I didn’t get away, I’d lose touch with the natural world which I also treasure. TV is very important in maintaining a link to the natural world. So people now can be more knowledgeable than they have ever been about the nature world-wide.  And that is of great importance when the natural world is facing such grave threats”.

(Still from Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers, narrated by David and produced and directed by NFTS Head of Natural History, Paul Reddish. Credit Mike Potts.)

On which of his trips he had enjoyed most, Sir David chose a trip back in 1956 to get the first ever television coverage of Komodo Dragons – “it took two months to get to Java.  No one there even knew about them!” He then reminded NFTS Head of Natural History, Paul Reddish about their own ‘unforgettable journeys’ together to film birds of paradise: “Paul and I had good times!”

And on which three people he’d like to have dinner with, David chose Darwin; marine biologist, William Beebe, and Canadian author and naturalist, Ernest Thompson Seton whose books caused David to ‘weep buckets’ in his childhood and was a ‘huge influence on me!’

(Charles Darwin)

David had plenty of good advice for young filmmakers and on what it takes to succeed: “One thing you want is dedication and the ability to take the rough with the smooth. Persistence and being serious about what you are doing is key.” And the best way to convince potential employers that you deserve a chance is to make a 10 minute film to show what you can do.

David left the students to ponder the role they could have in the future of wildlife filmmaking and how they can make a difference:

“You are the future. It’s up to you to change things about the way we look at the natural world and exploit formats, styles and means of transmission to find audiences that I haven’t even dreamed about.” 

For more information about the NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory

3 NFTS Films Selected for Sheffield Doc Fest

Over 40 NFTS Students & Grads Credited including ‘one of the most influential documentary makers of our time’, Nick Broomfield

Three NFTS graduation documentary films have been selected and over 40 NFTS students and graduates are credited at this year’s Sheffield Doc/ Fest, the UK’s premier documentary festival, which takes place between the 9th and 14th June.

NFTS Directing documentary graduate, Nick Broomfield, described on the Sheffield Doc/ Fest website as ‘one of the most influential documentary makers of our time’ is being interviewed by Louis Theroux for The BBC Interview on Sunday 11th June at 3.30pm – tickets here. Nick’s latest acclaimed documentary about Whitney Houston, Whitney, “Can I Be Me” is being screened at the festival.

(Still: Whitney, "Can I Be Me")

The three NFTS graduation films include: Pride in Rags, directed by Tom Whitaker; Professional Foreigner, directed by Catherine Harte and Unspeakable, directed by Kate Stonehill.

About Pride in Rags: 

Dewsbury is a town with a 19th century heritage and a 21st century population, and recent events have brought unwanted attention to this small corner of Yorkshire. From suicide bombers to the case of a mother who faked the kidnapping of her own child, the area is regularly trashed by the national media, leaving its reputation in tatters. Danny Lockwood is the local Rupert Murdoch, a controversial newspaper publisher and author of ‘The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury’. Pride In Rags looks at Dewsbury through Lockwood’s readers and critics, in a town where the pride went with the woollen industry and racial tensions bubble under the surface...

Tom Whitaker says: “I am delighted that Pride In Rags will be premiering at Sheffield Doc/Fest. I was fortunate to work with a really talented crew at the NFTS and am looking forward to discussing the film with an audience in Yorkshire.”

Pride In Rags is screening on Wednesday June 14th at 3.15pm – book tickets here.

Tom is speaking on the panel, ‘What Does Brexit Look Like?’ at the festival discussing the impact of Brexit on documentary making in Britain – you can see him at 10am on Tuesday 13th June.

About Professional Foreigner

This character-driven documentary explores the bizarre job opportunities available to white people in India. Talent is not essential — just the presence of a white face supposedly adds glamour to a movie or event. Following casting agents and foreigners, this documentary explores race and stereotypes while illuminating a world where Europeans migrate East for work. The story centres around Sasha, who left Russia with his mother and sister in the hope of making it as an actor. He needs to support his household so when acting gigs run dry, he is forced to reassess his easy but limited prospects in India.

Catherine Harte says: "I volunteered at Sheffield Doc Fest in 2011 and that's where I first heard about NFTS. It's so nice to look back over the years since then and to finally have a film to show there!"

Professional Foreigner is screening on Friday June 9th at 3pm – book tickets here.

About Unspeakable:

In 2015, the British government issued a press release calling for universities to do more to tackle extremism. The document identified six men as examples of ‘radical’ speakers who have expressed views that are ‘contrary to British values’ and who should therefore be silenced. Unspeakable is a hybrid documentary that combines interview, performance and image to tell the stories of three of these men. The result a complex and gripping encounter with some of Britain’s so-called extremists and a rigorous meditation on the nature of free speech.

Kate Stonehill says: “My motivation for making this film was to ask some hard questions in a creative way, and instigate a conversation around what I thought was a deeply troubling UK government policy. I'm thrilled to premiere the film at Sheffield Doc/Fest, which I hope will provide a perfect space for a discussion of the complex grey area between freedom of speech and incitement to hatred that is the subject of the film.”

Unspeakable is screening on Tuesday June 13th at 6.15pm and Wednesday June 14th at 3.15pm – book tickets here.

Other NFTS graduates credited include:

(Still: Almost Heaven)

Almost Heaven (Director/Producer, Carol Salter; Associate Producer/Editor, Cinzia Baldessari; Composer, Terence Dunn; Editors, Hoping Chen & Rodrigo Saquel; Sound Designer, Raoul Brand; Additional Sound, Ania Przygoda & Rob Szeliga

69 Minutes of 86 Days (Producer, Tone Grøttjord-Glenne)

Carnage: Swallowing the Past (Sound Assistant, Nina Rice)

The Dread Pirate Roberts (Director, Emily James)

The Flying Proletarian (DoP, Annika Summerson; Re-recording Mixer/Sound Designer, Philippe Ciompi)

Out of Thin Air (Editor Miikka Leskinen; Sound Editor, Christopher Wilson)

Thank You for the Rain (Editor, Adam Thomas; Composer, Chris White)

Whitney: Can I Be Me (Writer/Producer/Co-Director, Nick Broomfield; Cinematographer, Sam Mitchell)

The Workers Cup (Producer, R Paul Miller)

If you are an aspiring documentary maker, find out more about our Directing Documentary MA at www.nfts.co.uk/documentary

 

NFTS Alumna Lynne Ramsay Wins 2 Awards at Cannes!

Best Screenplay & Best Actor‎ for Joaquin Phoenix
 
BAFTA-winning NFTS alumna, Lynne Ramsay, was the talk of the town at Cannes this year with her film, You Were Never Really Here, receiving critical acclaim across the board. The film was awarded ‘Best Screenplay’ (shared with The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and the ‘Best Actor’ accolade went to its star, Joaquin Phoenix. Further NFTS involvement came from Cinematography MA graduate, Thomas Townend who worked as DoP on You Were Never Really Here.
 
(Still from You Were Never Really Here)
 
The Telegraph gave You Were Never Really Here a five star review, describing it as ‘an experience fully capable of blowing you away’ while Variety stated: ‘Lynne Ramsay makes a stunning return with this stark, psychologically raddled hitman thriller, led by a quietly furious Joaquin Phoenix’. 
 
This is Lynne’s second nomination for the Palme D’Or with her best known film, We Need to Talk About Kevin also receiving a nomination in 2011. She hails from Scotland where she studied photography in Edinburgh before coming to the NFTS to enrol on the Cinematography MA in 1992. She won BAFTAs for her short film, Swimmer in 2012 and for ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ for Ratcatcher in 2000.
 
(Still from Ratcatcher)
 
We Need to Talk About Kevin star, Tilda Swinton, couldn’t have summed it up better when she said in a recent interview that Lynne is “one of those rare directors who creates the kind of films that just would not be there if she didn’t make them.”
 
(Still from We Need to Talk About Kevin)
 
All in all, this was a fantastic Cannes for NFTS students and graduates. NFTS students enjoyed their sixth consecutive Cinéfondation short film selection at the festival with Wild Horses, directed and written by Rory Alexander Stewart and produced by Rebecca Smith and A Drowning Man, directed and produced by Directing Fiction graduate Mahdi Fleifel and edited by NFTS alumnus, Michael Aaglund was one of just nine films selected from 4,843 submissions to compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or.
 

 

NFTS Natural History Students Learn How to Film Wild Birds at RSPB Sandwell

Apply by 6th July!

This month, NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA students experienced their first foray into filming wild birds at an RSPB Reserve in Sandwell Valley from putting up hides to using telephoto lenses.

The MA is delivered in partnership with the RSPB and includes a Scholarship to support a student through their two-year course starting in January 2018 (applications are open until 6th July – more info at www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory ). The RSPB is working closely with the NFTS 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 students spent a long and productive day at the Sandwell Valley Reserve. It started with a talk on the ethics of wildlife film-making by conservation filmmaker, Madelaine Westwood, which stimulated a fascinating discussion. The students then practiced their recce skills working out where would be best to film the wild birds on the reserve.

After lunch, wildlife cameraman, Toby Hough gave a talk on telephoto camera work and the use of hides. There were plenty of questions from the students about this essential skill, not least what do you do in the little canvas box for 12 hours at a time?!  Appropriately the day finished with all the students learning the arcane skill of putting up hides.

On the second visit, the students returned to film from the hides and found out for themselves what it’s like to film wild animals from the little green box. They used 400mm telephoto lenses with 1.5 teleconverters which allowed them to get great close-ups of the ducks, geese and lapwings, and even some of the more shy denizens of the reed beds.

NFTS Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA course leader and experienced producer of wildlife documentaries and series, Paul Reddish said: “We would like to thank the RSPB for providing such an invaluable opportunity for our students to learn how to film for real at the reserve. They have all really enjoyed the experience and are inspired to learn more.”

If you are an aspiring wildlife filmmaker, apply by 6th July – more info at www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory

 

Remembering Sir Roger Moore & His NFTS Links

From Ivanhoe to Supporting the School

We were incredibly sad to hear of the legendary Sir Roger Moore’s passing, especially since he had so many connections to our School. Not only did he shoot 1950s British TV Series, Ivanhoe, at Beaconsfield Film Studios (where the NFTS is now sited), he also very kindly supported the School with a contribution towards the building of our ‘Yellow Block’, which currently houses the Cinematography base and engineering.

The longest reigning 007, Sir Roger also donated two reels – the trailers for Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only and even recommended the NFTS on his Facebook page when asked: ‘Is film school worth my money and time?’ His reply? ‘Yes, most definitely – so long as it’s a good film school. You’ll learn all the important basics and techniques there and it will really help launch you. Just look how many Oscar nominations students from the National Film and Television School in the UK have snagged. Good luck.’

(Beaconsfield Film Studios in the 1920s)

Producer of the Bond films, Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli also made a contribution to the NFTS and EON Productions continue to be big supporters of the School with a gift for our new buildings and sponsorship of our new Director's workshop for directors from under-represented  ‎communities. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson of EON Productions said: “Sir Roger's legacy shall live on through his films and the millions of lives he touched".

As Daniel Craig tweeted, ‘Nobody does it better’ - rest in peace Roger.

4 NFTS Alumni Selected for BAFTA Elevate

Focus on female directors seeking to progress in high end television and features

An impressive four NFTS graduates have been selected for BAFTA’s prestigious new programme, BAFTA Elevate, a series of bespoke programmes that elevate individuals from under-represented groups to the next stage of their career.

Directing Fiction MA graduates, Alicia Duffy, Christiana Ebohon-Green, Emma Sullivan and Cathy Brady have been selected for this year’s programme, which is focussing on female directors seeking to progress in high end television and features.

The aim of the programme is to help to address the gap between 50/50% male/female film school graduates and 87/13% male/female industry directing hires and producers’ desire to hire female directors but saying that they are often hard to find. The programme includes networking introductions, mentoring and expert workshops.

The series of programmes are a result of research carried out in partnership with Creative Skillset and the BFI, to examine the career success factors of film, television and games practitioners from under-represented groups. 

Alice Duffy

Alicia Duffy is a BAFTA-nominated director. While at the NFTS, she directed two short films: Numb (2000) and Crow Stone (2001), both of which screened at numerous festivals internationally. Numb received a Special Commendation at the Edinburgh Film Festival and the Arri Prize, while Crow Stone was a prize-winner in the Cinefondation Competition in Cannes 2001 and received awards at festivals including Edinburgh, Chicago and Bologna, and was an RTS award-winner in the same year. In 2002, Duffy was selected for the Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation Residence in Paris, and later that year made the short film The Most Beautiful Man In The World, for which she received a BAFTA nomination in 2003. In the same year, the film was in the Official Selection at Cannes and won Best International Film at the Hamburg Short Film Festival, as well as receiving further awards at The Rhode Island Film Festival and Chicago Film Festival, and the Turner Classic Movies Short Film Prize. Alice Duffy’s first feature, All Good Children, screened internationally and was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival 2010. 

Christiana Ebohon-Green

Christiana Ebohon-Green is an award-winning drama director, who has worked in television for 15 years. Her credits include EastEnders, Doctors, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. Ebohon-Green has also written and directed several short films, including St Clare (1997) and In Your Eye (1998), which won the Kodak Award USA 1998, and was screened at the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker’s Showcase at Cannes in 1999. In 2015, Ebohon-Green won a place on Directors UK's High-end Drama Mentoring scheme, and worked alongside director Carl Tibbits (Humans, Black Mirror) in the production of The Tunnel as part of the initiative. She was also a mentee on Women in Film & Television's 2015 mentoring scheme. Ebohon-Green recently received funding from Creative England under their Emerging Talent scheme to direct a short film, Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote (2017), starring Lenny Henry, Wunmi Mosaku, Colin Salmon, and Fatima Koroma, and to develop her first feature film.

Emma Sullivan

Emma Sullivan’s short film After Tomorrow (2009) was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, and won several awards worldwide including Best Short Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2009. That year, she was also named one of Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow. She was later mentored by director John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless) on the prestigious Guiding Lights scheme. Sullivan has also directed television drama for the BBC, with credits including The 4 O’Clock ClubHolby City and Doctors. She is currently developing a feature script set in New York, a high end drama series and has written several other features and shorts. Sullivan is a graduate of the National Film and Television School, where she was awarded a scholarship from the David Lean Foundation for her MA in Fiction Direction.

Cathy Brady

Cathy Brady is a two-time IFTA-winning director, having won Best Short in 2011 for her first film Small Change and again in 2013 for Morning, which was also selected for the BFI London Film Festival 2012 and won the Short Film Nominee prize for the European Film Awards at Cork Film Festival. In 2011, Brady directed the BIFA nominated short Rough Skin (written by Laura Lomas and starring Vicky McClure) as part of Channel 4's Coming Up scheme. Her short film, Wasted, competed at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2013. In the same year, Brady was named one of Screen Daily’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’. In 2014, Brady directed on the BAFTA-nominated drama-thriller series Glue. Most recently, Brady directed Stefanie Preissner's TV comedy series Can’t Cope/Won’t Cope for Dead Pan Pictures and RTE, which is currently showing on BBC Three. Her debut feature as writer-director, Wildfire, is currently in development, and will be produced by Carlo Cresto-Dina (The Wonders, Cannes Grand Jury Prize 2014) along with Cowboy Films.

More information at http://www.bafta.org/supporting-talent/elevate/elevate-female-directors-2017

Pages