NFTS Animation Grads Dominate British Animation Awards

'Pepper Pig', 'Amazing World of Gumball', 'Room on the Broom'

NFTS Directing Animation graduates dominated the British Animation Awards by scooping 5 prizes, including graduation film Buy Buy Baby which was named joint winner of the Audience Award for Favourite Film.

Hosted by comedian Aisling Bea at the BFI, the biennial British Animation Awards honour the finest achievements in animation produced in this country over the last two years.

The Cartoon Network’s The Amazing World of Gumball, produced by NFTS graduate Sarah Fell and with Richard Overall as Editor/Voice Director, was the big winner on the night picking up two awards for Best Children’s Series and the children’s jury judged Children’s Choice Award.

Four NFTS graduates, including Director/Designer/Co-Creator Mark Baker worked on the Astley Baker Davies series Peppa Pig which won the Best Pre-School series award.

NFTS graduate Adrian Rhodes was the Re-Recording Mixer on the Oscar-nominated animation of Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom, which swept up the BAA in the Long Form category.

 In the commercial categories, Mindfull, directed by NFTS graduate Shay Hamias picked up the best APA 2D Commercial Award.

In the Public Choice categories, voted for by the public at 14 special screenings across the country, the NFTS graduation film Buy Buy Baby, by Gervais Merryweather shared the Favourite Film honour with Car Park.

BAA Director Jayne Pilling said: “We never ceased to be amazed by the astonishing strength and depth of the animation industry in this country and 2014 is no different. We would like to congratulate all our worthy winners for once again pushing the boundaries of art, technology and innovation.”

The BAA’s are the only awards to recognise all forms of animation and reward the work of both new and established animators for short films, animated graphics for film and television, children’s series, music videos and commercials.

Congratulations to all our graduates involved and their teams. You can read more here

Here is the complete list of graduate involvement on the British Animation Award winning films.

Best Long Form:  Room on the Broom 

Adrian Rhodes (Re-Recording Mixer)

Best Children’s Series: The Amazing World of Gumball

Sarah Fell (Producer)

Richard Overall (Editor/Voice Director)

Best Preschool Series: Peppa Pig

Mark Baker (Director/Designer/Co-Creator)

Jake Roberts (Sound Design/Re-Recording Mixer)

Barnaby Templer (Sound Editor)

Julian Nott (Composer)

Best 2D Commercial: Mindfull

Shay Hamias (Director)

Public Choice ‘Favourite Film’: Buy Buy Baby (NFTS Graduation Film) joint winner

Gervais Merryweather (Director/Writer)

Sarah Senior (Producer)

NFTS grads on GRAVITY Oscar winning VFX team

Sign up for our DFX Open Day- May 14

NFTS graduates worked on ALL five of the films nominated for VFX Academy Award - including 5 on the Oscar winning film Gravity.

DFX graduates include Giacomo Matteucci (Digital Compositor) Manuel Perez, Ruochen Wang as well as NFTS 2012 Directing graduate Dave Simpson and Cinematography graduate Melissa Byers (3D Previs Stero Advisor) who all contributed to Gravity winninthe VFX Oscar. Critics are hailing the film as a gamechanger and visually ground-breaking.

Cinematography graduate Melissa Byers told the NFTS: "I'm thrilled to have worked on Gravity. There are so many UK based technicians and creatives working on Oscar nominated films every year.  The professionalism and skillset of our crew, within the UK, is a testimony to the training available here. The NFTS provided me with top class facilities and an opportunity as a student to be creative in a supportive and challenging environment."

NFTS graduates were also involved in the other VFX nominated films: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek.

A total of 38 NFTS graduates had credits on 16 Oscar-nominated films including 4 of the 5 films nominated for Best Editing (Philomena, The Square, Despicable Me 2, Captain Phillips) and the fifth nominated film Omar was co-edited by NFTS Editing Tutor Martin Brinkler.

Alumnus Roger Deakins (Best Cinematography) for the film Prisoners ( his 11th nomination) and Lee Thomas has a producer credit on the Oscar-nominated Best Live Action Short Film The Voorman Problem starring Tom Hollander and Martin Freeman.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “The NFTS is a hotbed of talent so it’s fantastic to see our graduates dominating the Oscars with involvement in so many box office hit films including the VFX winning film Gravity.”

NFTS VFX graduate credits:


Digital Compositor Giacomo Matteucci; 3D Previs Stereo Advisor Melissa Byers; Intern Ruochen Wang;

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Compositor Dean Koonjul Iron Man 3 – Digital Compositors Dean Koonjul & Giacomo Matteucci

The Lone Ranger

Digital Compositor Dillan Nicholls;

Star Trek Into Darkness

Digital Compositors Dean Koonjul & Andy Quinn

For the full list of NFTS graduate credits click here 

Read the NFTS Masterclass with Gravity Director Alfonso Cuaron here

To find out more about these successful MA courses SIGN UP for one of our Open Days coming soon.



Ken Loach, Paul Greengrass, Lord Puttnam, Sir Michael Caine & Tessa Ross made NFTS Honorary Fellows

Multi award-winning and unique directors Ken Loach and Paul Greengrass, distinguished producers Lord Puttnam, CBE, and Tessa Ross, CBE, and legendary actor Sir Michael Caine, CBE, heaped praise on NFTS students at the 2014 NFTS Graduation Ceremony, at the BFI in London, where they were bestowed Honorary Fellowships.

NFTS Chair and CEO of Ingenious Media Patrick McKenna congratulated the 135 Diploma and MA students for “the sheer quality” of their graduation films and said he recognised “…the scale of achievement and the esteem with which the school is held by the industry,” before introducing the Fellowships, which are awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry.

Ken Loach, the iconic director of Cathy Come Home, Kes, Riff-Raff and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, applauded the students’ graduation films and wished them good luck on the “… great adventure ahead” while also urging them to “reclaim the screens so that a wider variety of films can be shown in more cinemas,” and to “…use new technology to make better films and TV programmes instead of cutting costs.”

The unique director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, Omagh, The Bourne Supremacy, United 93) whose latest film - the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips - has been a box office hit, echoed Ken Loach’s advice while adding: “To make commercial films is not the same as selling out – what counts is the quality of the film and whether it has something to say and can entertain. If you are lucky enough to make films that connect with people then hold your head up high.”

Describing 2014 as a great time to be making films in Britain because it was attracting worldwide investment due to the wealth of talent in the country, Greengrass said “British talent is hugely represented on the international stage; so many people want to come here to make films. And the most important part of that is the emerging talent in our society – that’s you.”

He encouraged the graduates to “…be aware of the challenges but also see the opportunities. If you can embrace those, the future will be rich indeed.”

Fellowships were also awarded to Lord Puttnam, the distinguished producer of films such as Chariots of Fire, The Killing Fields and The Mission, described film-making as ‘…like a hobby; it is the most glorious way to earn a living,” while advising graduates to have “resilience” if they received knock backs.

The esteemed actor Sir Michael Caine praised the skills of many NFTS graduates who have worked with him films including The Dark Knight (Art Director Steve Lawrence, Huw Arthur), Batman Begins (Art Directors Steve Lawrence, Paul Kirby), The Cider House Rules (DoP Oliver Stapletonand Little Voice (Director Mark Herman, DoP Andrew Collins) and invited graduates to “follow the great tradition of film making in this nation.”

Producer Tessa Ross, one of the most influential people in film and television, (Slumdog Millionaire, Four Lions, Billy Elliot, The Iron Lady and the BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated 12 Years a Slave) praised the “hugely talented people that the school produces” and assured graduates that great talent would be recognised by the industry.

114 NFTS graduates were involved in BAFTA and Oscar nominated films this year. Full list here 


Pictured (L-R) are Paul Greengrass, Tessa Ross and Ken Loach.

Source: Roy Morris

NFTS selected for Giorgio Armani international film project

Preview the 'Films of City Frames’ pilot featuring award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino


The NFTS has been selected as one of only 6 film schools in the world to take part in a prestigious project launched by Giorgio Armani. The initiative, Films of City Frames, seeks to connect with the world of cinema through the universe built around Frames of Life.

This is a comprehensive joint project, created in collaboration with Rai Cinema, which involves the most promising students of six prestigious international film schools. 

The students will be given the task of creating short films that feature caught moments, metropolitan landscapes, and emotional situations, using Giorgio Armani’s new Frames of Life eyewear as a perceptual filter. Eyewear becomes synonymous with point of view, an instrument used to emphasise and express feelings, to tell stories of special encounters and urban adventures.

Paolo Sorrentino, Golden Globe and BAFTA and Academy Award winning director, has enthusiastically joined this initiative to support young talent. To create the pilot film that will launch the project, Sorrentino has chosen Piero Messina, who graduated from the Italian Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia and works as his assistant director.

The young director has produced an emotional, lyrical short film inspired by Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s first novel, Journey to the End of the Night, using unseen sequences from Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty.

Click on the link to get a first look and learn more! 

The stages of production of these short films will be documented on a dedicated section on the website and shared on Armani social media channels. Films of City Frames will be a visual and narrative collage that captures the growing wealth of the contemporary metropolis without stereotyping it, using individual points of view as a filter and to create work that possesses distinctive character.

6 NFTS graduates snap up industry awards

Sargent-Disc, IOSH, Panalux, Christie

Six graduating students have been awarded top industry prizes from Sargent-Disc, IOSH, Panalux, and Christie, at the NFTS 2014 Graduation Show.

The Panalux Award for Best Cinematography in a fiction film went to Craig Dean Devine for his work on the graduation film The Friday Fund, which involved shoots on multiple locations. Craig said on receiving his prize of a week’s hire of lighting equipment: “I am really pleased to win this prize and will use it on my next film project. The challenge in filming the The Friday Fund was to create 360 degree light so that the actors had the freedom to improvise. The whole shoot was hand held to make the filming more responsive to the actors improvising.”

Directing Animation graduate Bexie Bush (pictured), whose graduating film was Make Do And Mend, won the Christie Award for being the Most Outstanding Student and received a prize worth £8,000.

Two health and safety prizes were awarded by the Institution of Occupational Health’s (IOSH) Thames Valley branch to Producer Miranda Ballesteros and Production Manager Sile Culley. They were applauded for their commitment to H&S while working on graduation film The Escapist about a daring escapologist.

IOSH judges said Sile Culley demonstrated that health and safety enhances a production, keeping a cast safe while ensuring the ‘wow factor’ still exists, when shooting the film. She scooped a cash reward of £300 from the Institution and the film itself secured a trophy for best health and safety plan.

You can read more about the IOSH awards here

Sile Culley also received one of three awards presented by Sargent-Disc to production management graduates. She won the award for Best Scheduling Skills and received a Movie Magic Scheduling prize. The other winners were Maria Salcher who won Best All Round Production Manager (and received Movie Magic Budgeting and Scheduling) and Stephanie Paplow who won Best Budgeting Skills and received a Movie Magic Budgeting prize.

Sargent-Disc also sponsors two scholarships for students on the Production Management for Film Diploma course.

You can read more about the Sargent-Disc scholarships here….

Sign up for Open Days and Apply Now for these MA courses.

Pictured: Directing Animation graduate Bexie Bush receiving her prize from Christie

Credit: Roy Morris

NFTS Grads Clean Up at the BAFTA Shorts

Best Short Film and Best Animated Film awards

NFTS graduates cleaned up at the EE British Academy of Film and Television Arts Short Film awards by scooping both of the top prizes.

The BAFTA British Short Film and British Short Animation categories celebrate and reward innovative and experimental short fiction and non-fiction films and animation.

NFTS graduate James W. Griffiths won Best Short Film for Room 8 and the British Short Animation prize went to NFTS graduates James Walker, Sarah Woolner, and Yousif Al-Khalifa for their NFTS graduation film Sleeping With The Fishes.

The films will now take part in a BAFTA Shorts Tour 2014 that begins with a special screening at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London on Friday 28 February, attended by the nominated filmmakers. In partnership with Independent Cinema Office (ICO) who will handle all UK theatrical bookings, and the British Council, the films will be shown across internationally through their network of offices in 110 countries.

Congratulations to all of the graduate teams involved in these two BAFTA winning films.

NFTS Rules at the Oscars in Editing & VFX

+ Nominations for Cinematography and Producing

NFTS Editing and VFX graduates are dominating the Oscars this year.

The School's graduates are involved in ALL five of the films nominated for Best VFX Oscars at the 2014 Academy Awards (Gravity, The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek).

Editing graduates are involved in four of the films nominated for Best Editing at the Academy Awards (Philomena, The Square, Despicable Me 2, Captain Phillips) and the fifth nominated film Omar was co-edited by NFTS Editing Tutor Martin Brinkler.

In addition, there are accolades for alumnus Roger Deakins who is nominated for Best Cinematography in the film Prisoners ( his 11th nomination) and Lee Thomas who has a producer credit on the Oscar nominated Best Live Action Short Film The Voorman Problem starring Tom Hollander and Martin Freeman.

The Voorman Problem is based on a book by David Mitchell (about a prisoner who thinks he is a god) and a full feature film is due to go into production later this year.

Lee Thomas, whose other credits include Crush, The Road to Guantanamo and  Nativity told the NFTS: "It's a great feeling to be involved with a short film that has been nominated for an Oscar. It doesn't seem quite real yet, or possible! …I am extremely proud of our collaboration and the role I played in bringing The Voorman Problem to the screen. Even with a solid film education behind me from the NFTS, producing is a very tough and challenging game.”

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “The NFTS is a hotbed of talent so it’s fantastic to see our graduates dominating the Oscars with involvement in so many box office hit films.”

NFTS Editing graduate credits:

Philomena - Editor Valerio Bonelli; First Assistant Editor James Devlin

The Square - Supervising Editor Pierre Haberer

Despicable Me 2 - Associate Editor Claire Dodgson

Captain Phillips - First Assistant Editor Tom Harrison-Read

NFTS VFX graduate credits:

Gravity - Digital Compositor Giacomo Matteucci; 3D Previs Stereo Advisor Melissa Byers; Intern Ruochen Wang;

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Compositor Dean Koonjul

Iron Man 3 – Digital Compositors Dean Koonjul & Giacomo Matteucci

The Lone Ranger – Digital Compositor  Dillan Nicholls;

Star Trek Into Darkness – Digital Compositors Dean Koonjul & Andy Quinn

To find out more about these successful MA courses SIGN UP for one of our Open Days coming soon.

Producing - March 4

Cinematography March 14 + April 10

Editing March 27

DFX May 14

NFTS Celebrates Weekend of International Award Success

BAFTA, MPSE and Berlin Festival Recognition for NFTS talent

At the BAFTAs, in London, the NFTS had a record breaking 12 graduates nominated for awards (bringing the total number of NFTS graduates nominated in the school's 42-year history to 310), and it came home with not only a graduate win (James W. Griffiths winning Best Short Film for Room 8) but a win for the School: 2013 NFTS graduation film Sleeping With The Fishes, (directed by Yousif Al-Khalifa) won the award for Best Short Animation (this being the School’s 10th nomination in this category).

And in America, at the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards in Los Angeles, NFTS films were nominated for six out of seven student awards, with Sound Designer Ting Li Lim scooping the Verna Fields Award for Sound Editing in a Student Film for the graduation animation Robomax (directed by Moayad Fahmi). In addition, alumnus Simon Chase won a Golden Reel for Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film for Captain Phillips.

Over in Germany, At the Berlin Film Festival, graduate Yann Demange, who was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear, received a Special Mention by the Jury for his Debut Feature '71 - which follows on from his previous Royal Television Society Award win and 3 previous BAFTA nominations for work that includes Top Boy, Criminal Justice and Dead Set.

Nik Powell, NFTS Director said: "It is fantastic to see our graduates and the NFTS itself scooping international awards at the BAFTAs, Golden Reels and the Berlin Film Festival – all in one day! The fact that so many were also nominated for student graduation films and first features is a testament to the wealth of talent among young film-makers and the quality of training they receive. Congratulations to all involved."

Cinematography graduate Melissa Byers who was the Assistant 3D Stereographer on the winner of Outstanding British Film Gravity at the BAFTAs told the NFTS: "I'm thrilled to have worked on Gravity, which has also been nominated for ten Oscars this year.  There are so many UK based technicians and creatives working on Oscar nominated films every year.  The professionalism and skillset of our crew, within the UK, is a testimony to the training available here. The NFTS provided me with top class facilities and an opportunity as a student to be creative in a supportive and challenging environment."

NFTS graduate Paul Kirby, who was the Production Designer on the Oscar and BAFTA nominated film Captain Phillips, praised the training he received at the School: "The NFTS remains one of the richest seams of creative talent and ideas assembled under one roof. I envy new students starting their adventures there. I would willingly do it all again."

Deputy Head of Sound Chris Pow, who flew over to L.A with the six graduates nominated for Golden Reels, said: “We are thrilled to win our 12th Golden reel award; the NFTS Sound courses are now undeniably the best in the world. It was a delight to see so many of our graduates receive recognition from the industry for their sound editing skills. 

A total of 78 graduates were involved on 17 BAFTA nominated films this year:

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, The Selfish Giant, Rush, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, For Those In Peril, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Captain Phillips, Philomena, Despicable Me 2, Gravity, Keeping Up With The Jonses, Orbit Ever After, Room 8, Swimming With the Fishes.

In addition, NFTS Cinematography alumni are also being recognized in the awards season: Roger Deakins has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography in the film Prisoners; Ula Pontikos last month won the Sundance Film Festival prize for Best Cinematography for the film Lilting, which included a score composed by fellow graduate Stuart Earl.

And thirty-five NFTS graduates were involved in 14 films/ performances nominated for London Film Critics Circle Awards at which Directing graduate Clio Bernard’s film The Selfish Giant won British Film of The Year and involved four other graduates including Editor Nick Fenton and Re-recording Mixer Martin Jensen; Paul Greengrass’ film Captain Phillips included three graduates including Production Designer Paul Kirby; NFTS Visiting Fellow Stephen Frears’ film Philomena, in which Dame Judy Dench won Best British Actress of the Year, was edited by graduate Valerio Bonelli and Director Alfonso Cuaron’s film Gravity, which won Director of the Year and the Technical Achievement award,  had three graduates involved including Melissa Byers who was the Assistant Stereographer 3D.

For a full list of graduates and students nominated at this year's BAFTA awards, click here:

Picture: Producer James Walker, Writer Sarah Woolner and Director Yousif Al-Khalifa with their BAFTA for Sleeping With The Fishes. (c) BAFTA

NEW Entertainment Formats Development course includes work placement at BBC & job contract -

APPLY by April 3

The NFTS has launched an exciting new 3-month, part-time course giving people the skills they need to work in developing entertainment formats for television.

Based at the BBC, in London, and devised by the NFTS, BBC Academy and Grand Scheme Media, students on this course will learn the art of development, meet key contacts in the industry and gain practical experience pitching ideas to television commissioners.

In addition, the course also offers a money-can’t-buy a two-week placement with the BBC in one of their Development departments and a three month contract to work in BBC Entertainment Development for one of the graduates.

The course involves lectures, activities and sessions with key creatives and commissioners in television including course tutors Graham Smith, who has been a commissioner for the BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and Mark Robson who was an executive at ITV for ten years.

Students will generate ideas, participate in brainstorms, write outlines to commissioning briefs and culminate in students devising, developing and pitching an original idea to a panel of commissioning editors.This could win you a commission!

Starting on May 16, 2014, the course will run for 12 weeks until July 25, and include a two-week work placement at the BBC in June 2014.

APPLY HERE NOW Deadline for applications April 3, 2014.

Please send your completed application form to

Michael Winterbottom Masterclass

Face of an Angel, 24 Hour Party People, and Jude Director talks to NFTS students


Michael Winterbottom, the multi-award winning British director whose prolific body of work includes more than 20 directing credits on hit films such as 24 hour Party People, Jude, Welcome to Sarajevo, A Mighty Heart, 9 Songs, The Killer Inside Me and the forthcoming film Face of an Angel, gave an enthralling masterclass students at the NFTS.

Speaking in conversation with NFTS Head of Producing Chris Auty, Winterbottom talked about his passion for documentary and drama film making and the benefits of working with a trusted production team and the same actors including Shirley Henderson, Paul Popplewell, John Simm, Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Raymond Waring and Kieran O'Brien.

Starting his career working in British television in programmes such as the hit crime series Cracker, he moved into making films of which three — Welcome to Sarajevo, Wonderland and 24 Hour Party People — were nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He went on to win many international awards including a Golden Bear, BIFA and BAFTA among others. Following the success of his film Jude in 1996, which brought him wider recognition, the director was offered many Hollywood scripts but chose instead to focus on other projects.

Winterbottom talked about his use of documentary style hand held cameras in films such as the 1999 hit Wonderland with its loose, handheld photography and naturalistic, often improvised dialogue and the film 24 Hour Party People, which documents the anarchic, drug and sex-fueled rise and fall of the influential label Factory Records and the music scene in Manchester from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s.

Recent media interest in his work has focussed on the forthcoming film The Face of an Angel starring Kate Beckinsale, Daniel Brühl and Cara Delevingne written by Paul Viragh, which is inspired partly by the book Angel Face by Barbie Latza Nadeau about the dramatic headline-making trial, conviction and eventual acquittal of American student Amanda Knox for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher. However, Winterbottom told students that the drama was not about the actual Knox case, but instead centres on a fictional Italian court case, a filmmaker covering the case, and the case's impact on his family life.

You read about other recent Masterclass at the NFTS with Simon Beaufoy, Justin Chadwick, Mike Figgis, Steven Knight, Paul Webster and Guy Heelehere