Chancellor Announces £5m Funding for NFTS' Digital Village in his Autumn Statement.

Sky gives contracts to 6 out of 9 students on Broadcast Production course!

The Chancellor Greorge Osborne today announced in his autumn statement that the government “will invest £5 million in the National Film and Television School's Digital Village to expand and upgrade its existing facility into a world-class training centre to provide a sustainable supply of UK talent for the digital and creative industries."

The Oscar and BAFTA winning NFTS was this year voted ‘the world’s best film and television school’ by CILECT (the international association of film and television schools) and its alumni include Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park and David Yates who directed four of the Harry Potter films – the world’s highest grossing film franchise.

This year, the NFTS's student films were nominated for an Oscar; won a student Oscar (the School's 6th); won the Grierson award for documentary; the Annie and Cartoon d’Or for its animation films. Its very recent graduates won the Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival; four Golden Horses (the ‘Asian Oscars’) and the Scottish BAFTA for best film. Its Alumni have now won more than 100 BAFTAs including 10 Oscar and BAFTA nominations this year.

However, lack of investment in infrastructure has left the NFTS in need of expansion and modernisation. The School’s planned £20m Digital Village will improve teaching facilities and capacity. Phase I has already been built with private investment and today’s £5m government funding announcement, together with £2.1m funding from Creative Skillset, will enable Phase II to start at the end of 2014.

Ed Vaizey, UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, said: "The NFTS is one of the leading film schools in the world. This investment will enable the NFTS to forge ahead in to the future, giving its students the cutting edge skills they need to succeed in the new digital era of film.

Patrick McKenna, Ingenious Media CEO, who recently became chair of the NFTS’ Board of Governors, said: “This £5m funding demonstrates the confidence the government has in the NFTS and its commitment to training the next generation of film and television makers in the UK."

The funding announcement comes hot on the heels of an announcement by Sky TV that it is offering contracts to six out of nine students on a Broadcast Production diploma course that the NFTS delivers in partnership with Sky. The broadcaster was originally committed to only provide one graduate contract, but due to the quality of the students has expanded this to six.

The course, that launched in January this year, provides training for vision mixers, sound, lighting and camera specialists, some of the highly sought after craft skills that HRH Prince Charles highlighted as needed in his recent RTS Craft Skills Masterclass at the Royal Television Society. More details on the brand new Digital Content diploma course, also to be delivered in partnership with Sky, will be announced next week.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This fantastic funding will enable the NFTS to train more students in the globally competitive high level skills required by the creative industries. It is a tremendous vote of confidence in the School and its ability to train Oscar and BAFTA winners as well as the craft skills needed to support the creative industries. This is shown by Sky TV’s keenness to take on so many of the students from our Broadcast Production course before they’ve even graduated.”

There are still places  available on our 2014 Broadcast Production course. For more information about the Broadcast Production course click here 

Sky’s PICK to broadcast NFTS TV Entertainment show

'Best of SCREAMING GOAT' TX on Sunday December 8

PICK, Sky’s free-to-air entertainment channel, has broadcast the ‘Best of SCREAMING GOAT’ - a culture review magazine show made by television students from the NFTS. This is the first time that a major production from the Producing & Directing Television Entertainment course has been shown on a major TV channel.

Screaming Goat is an extremely exciting project, it shows that individuals who are just starting out in TV are equally as important to us as those who are established in the industry," comments Stephen Ladlow, Director of PICK. "It's a great opportunity for them to show how talented they are and we’re looking forward to be able to support them and bring their work to PICK viewers.”

SCREAMING GOAT aims to bring an alternative and accessible outlook to the world of arts to 18-26 year olds. The four episodes of the show filmed in November have already been screened direct via the internet by into UK university student halls of residence reaching a target audience of 100,000 viewers. A ‘Best of SCREAMING GOAT’ compilation episode aired on PICK (Sky channel 152; Freeview 11; Freesat 144, Virgin Media 180) on Sunday 8th December 2013 at 10am.

Featuring live bands, studio demonstrations, interviews with young entrepreneurs and on location VT shoots, SCREAMING GOAT takes a light-hearted look at the current cultural landscape, offering a unique view. Students from the Broadcast Production diploma course, which is run in conjunction with Sky, also worked as studio crew on SCREAMING GOAT.

Presenters Kate Soulsby and Jeri-Marie Summer deliver daily news and discuss emerging trends as well as exploring the UK’s alternative art scene in the Goat Getaway. Self described culture geek Joana Nastari gives her verdict on exhibitions, films, books, theatre and new technology.

NFTS Head of TV Entertainment David G Croft said: “This signifies the successful relationship with Sky and the NFTS TV Department and it is an industry endorsement of the high standard of work that the students produce here.”

You can follow SCREAMING GOAT on Facebook and Twitter.





NFTS launches new Digital Content & Formats course in partnership with Sky

Apply by June 5

The NFTS has partnered with Sky to deliver a new 12 month diploma course on Digital Content & Formats.

Starting in September 2014, the course will take place both at the NFTS and Sky with students taught by leading industry tutors responsible for some of the UK’s most cutting edge multi-platform projects including Got to Dance, Million Pound Drop, The Voice, The X Factor, Misfits and Embarrassing Bodies.

The course will look at how to build and engage audiences around films, television programmes and formats. Students will create standalone digital projects and also work alongside students from Documentary, Comedy and Television Entertainment to create extensions to linear television programmes.

And Sky is committed to awarding a paid contract to one of the graduates from this new course. Apply by June 5, 2014.

Nik Powell, NFTS Director, says the course has been developed to meet an industry need: “Sky is a key partner for the NFTS and has played a pivotal role for almost 20 years. We’re launching this course together in recognition that the film and television industry needs people who have ‘interactive’ and ‘new media’ skills in order to maximise the potential of their films and television programmes and formats across platforms.”

Emma Lloyd, Director of Corporate Business Development at Sky: "At Sky we understand the value of building skills and nurturing talent and are pleased to be continuing our longstanding partnership with the NFTS through our support for this new course.”

“We look forward to sharing the passion and expertise of Sky’s own people with students and ensuring that anyone attending this course leaves with a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in TV's rapidly changing digital ecosystem. This promises to be a fantastic opportunity for emerging talent in this space."

In February 2014 Sky will announce details of scholarships that will be available for this course as part of the new Sky Academy, a series of initiatives to inspire young people and support emerging talent, creating opportunities for 1 million young people by 2020. For more information, go to

Sky is also the industry partner on the NFTS Broadcast Production diploma course that launched in January 2013. This course provides training for vision mixers, sound, lighting and camera specialists, some of the highly sought after television craft skills. The broadcaster has recently awarded six of the students on the course paid contracts, despite being originally committed to provide only one contract to a graduate from this Broadcast Production course.

For more information and to apply click here

NFTS Cinematography Student wins Cameraimage Prize

Polish Film Institute and Mastershot Special Award

An NFTS 2nd year Cinematography student, Paul Ozgur, has won the prestigious Polish Film Institute and Mastershot Special Award for Best Cinematography in the student Etude competition.

This award is voted on by a distinguished jury comprised of some of the best and busiest cinematographers in the world. The prize is for a film called ‘Magnesium’.

Pictured is Paul Ozgur receiving his award.

The NFTS Head of Cinematography is BAFTA and BIFA-winning and EMMY-nominated cinematographer Brian Tufano BSC, whose credits include Trainspotting and Billy Elliott. Other tutors who often teach at the school include award-winning commercials cinematographer Stuart Harris, Barry Ackroyd (Riff RaffMy Name is Joe), Sean Bobbitt (HungerShame), Nina Kellgren (Young Soul RebelsLooking for Langston) and Academy Award winner Billy Williams (Gandhi).

To find out more about this course come to our Cinematography Open Day on March 14, 2014 or go to

The deadline for applications for this course is May 8, 2014.


2012 Sound Recording Grad Wins Broadcast TECH Award...

& Sound Designer wins Underwire Festival Award

Congratulations to James (JJ) Benson who, just a year after graduating from our 2012 Sound Recording course, has won the Broadcast Magazine Tech Award for Production Sound.

He received the prize at the inaugural Broadcast TECH Young Talent Awards, which honour those under 30 who work with technology in the fields of production, post and delivery. The ceremony took place at the Hospital Club and was hosted by BBC Click presenter LJ Rich.

Since graduating from NFTS in September 2012, JJ joined Oscar winning Sound Mixer Chris Munro on the Disney film "Maleficent (2014)" starring Angelina Jolie as Sound Trainee. At the end of the job, Chris Munro recommended JJ to fellow Sound Mixer Andrew Sissons, who was about to start shooting ITV’s Poirot and Miss Marple.  JJ worked on these productions for nine months gaining knowledge, experience and great friends, booming the final scenes of the 25 year run for David Suchet’s Poirot. He then went on to work on ITV’s Mr Selfridge as an assistant after which he was asked to join Sound Mixer David Stephenson’s team for the upcoming Ridley Scott film The Book of Exodus (2014) starring Christian Bale.

JJ was nominated by NFTS Head of Sound Recording Andrew Boulton who retired last month after 19 successful years at the School. Speaking from the awards, JJ Benson said: "I'm very honoured to receive this award which tops off an amazing year. I owe a lot of thanks to Andrew Boulton and the NFTS for giving my career such an excellent start."

Andrew Boulton praised JJ saying: “He is an enthusiastic and hardworking person with an eye /ear for detail. His technical background, training at the NFTS and friendly professional attitude has made him a valuable member of his various teams and has a bright and promising career.”

JJ also received an endorsement from Producer David Boulter who he worked with on the Poirot TV series. David Boulter explained the important role that JJ played in the team: “JJ had his work cut out on a demanding schedule, location shooting period drama with an experienced, professional crew, international cast and a production with very high expectations indeed: to cap 25 years of David Suchet's Hercule Poirot in a dramatic finale for all his millions of fans worldwide. The attention and support David Suchet needed to complete the series relied on the hard working courtesy of the professionals around him. JJ played a key part in this.

JJ embraced his role with an open smile, great care and enthusiasm, and demonstrated a detailed technical knowledge of his equipment as we faced every challenge: open water, flight paths, motorways, building sites... which all had to sound like 1930s Britain.”

Congratulations to all of the winners and the nominees, which included fellow NFTS graduate Jay Price.

Congratulations also to Sound graduate Ting Li Lim who has won the award for Best Sound Designer at the recent Underwire Festival for her work on the NFTS animation film Robomax.

The Underwire Festival has been running since 2010 and celebrates short films by women filmmakers.

Other alumni who worked on the film Robomax are as follows:

Director Moayad Fahmi

Producer Dan Demissie 

DoP Jack Wilkinson

Production Designer Will Houghton-Connell

Editor Radoslaw Sienski

Composer Sarah Warne

Production Manager Natalie Langowski

VFX James Miller

VFX/Online Editor/Grade Janis Skulme

The new Head of Production Sound, Fraser Barber, who starts in January, has 45 credits on popular TV programmes such as Silent Witness, The Tunnel, Full Circle with Michael Palin, Black Mirror, and Little Dorrit.

For more information about the NFTS’ Sound Recording diploma course click here. The Deadline for applications for this 15 month course is June 5, 2014.

For more information about our Sound Design for Film and Television course, click here

Two NFTS recent grads from same class win top film awards in same week!

4 Golden Horse Awards and 2 Scottish BAFTAs

Two recent NFTS Directing Fiction graduates from the same class have won top international awards for their first feature films – in the same week! 

Ilo, Ilo directed by Anthony Chen has won a staggering four Golden Horse Awards - Asia's equivalent of the Oscars – scooping Best Picture, Best New Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. The awards jury was presided over by double Oscar-winning Director Ang Lee. Congratulations to Anthony Chen (pictured above, third from right) and his team that includes many NFTS graduates.

Paul Wright’s film For Those In Peril has snapped up Best Film at the BAFTA Scotland Awards. And one of the film’s central characters, actor George Mackay, who is also appearing on cinema screens at present in Sunshine on Leith, picked up the prestigious Best Film Actor award.

Paul Wright’s moving film about the impact of a fishing tragedy on a close-knit north-east community claimed the glory at Scotland’s flagship film and TV awards. For Those In Peril won two of the four categories it was nominated in at the ceremony, which saw the cream of the TV and film industry descend on Glasgow, including Scots-born Hollywood stars Kelly Macdonald and Brian Cox. Guests of honour at the ceremony included broadcaster Kirsty Wark and veteran actor Richard Wilson, who both received outstanding achievement awards from author William McIlvanney and Dr Who favourite David Tennant respectively.

Paul Wright’s film, which was only released last month, wowed critics when it was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring, and later when it had its UK premiere in Edinburgh. BAFTA Scotland director Alan de Pellette said: “For a first-time director to win an award like this is a phenomenal achievement. “He’s already had a good run of things because his short films have already won awards, he has made his first film at a pretty young age and he got his first film shown at Cannes, which was obviously massive, and now this.”

Paul, who is already working on his follow-up to 'For Those In Peril', which will be a “strange love story,” said: “It’s probably taken about three years from having a blank page to getting the film out, which isn’t too bad for a feature.

“We knew the film was a bit different and strange, but we hoped that those people that connected with the film would really connect with it, and so far that’s been the case.

“With it being a really low-budget film there hasn’t been the money to throw around on marketing, but hopefully winning the award will mean more people hear about the film and check it out.”

Congratulations to Paul Wright and his team.

NFTS Doc ‘Sodiq’ Scoops 2 Awards at Africa International Film Festival

Win Grierson award & is nominated for an IDA - America's biggest documentary award

NFTS documentary Sodiq has been nominated for an International Documentary Association award - the foremost event dedicated to the art of documentary film. Well done to Director Adeyemi Michael and his NFTS team. Winners of the 29th Annual IDA Documentary Awards will be announced on December 6, 2013 in Los Angeles at the Directors Guild of America. 

This nomination comes hot on the heels of three other major awards for Sodiq: the Best Student Film Award and the President’s Special Award at the Africa International Film Festival, in Nigeria and a Grierson Award.

Director Adeyemi Michael recently flew out to Calabar, Nigeria, to receive the AIFF awards where he was presented with the prizes by the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who said he chose Sodiq as his favourite short film of 2013.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Adeyemi, from South London, said: “It is a great honour to be able to come back after 26 years to Nigeria – the country I was born in - to receive this prestigious award from the President of Nigeria himself! My family are very proud.

“Although I have been brought up in London and I am British, I am also proud to be of first generation Nigerian origin and feel it is important for film makers who are part of the African diaspora to stay connected and help to further the ever growing film industry in Nigeria and Africa."

The documentary follows the lives Sodiq Adeojo who dreamed of becoming a doctor and Sylvester Akpalara, who had a promising career as an athlete ahead of him. Five years later (2012), Sodiq was convicted of murdering Sylvester and is now serving a 30-year jail sentence.

Adeyemi Michael grew up with and knew both of the men. In a heart-felt speech he added: "One of these AFRIFF awards represents Sylvester and the other Sodiq - two young Diaspora Nigerians who had dreams of a better life."

The film Sodiq has also won the Sky Atlantic Best Student Documentary prize at the 2013 Grierson Awards, was nominated for a Sheffield Docs Fest Best Student Film Award and also nominated for a HBFF award in the Film Diaspora category. It received its London premiere last month at the Film Africa festival at which Adeyemi gave a Q&A.


Best Picture, Best Debut director, Best Short Film & others

Four NFTS graduates’ films have been nominated for the prestigious British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) including the NFTS 2013 graduation film Z1. Plus our graduates are involved in nine other nominated films.

Writer Director Clio Barnard’s film The Selfish Giant has been nominated for Best Independent Film, recent graduate Paul Wright’s film For Those in Peril is nominated for Best Debut Director, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England (which had graduate Anna Higgs as Executive Producer) is nominated for the Best Achievement in Production award and the NFTS 2013 graduation film Z1 co-written and directed by Gabriel Gauchet has been nominated for Best British Short Film.

Z1 will be competing against two other shorts with alumni involvement: Jonah, which was shot by Chloë Thomson and had Jens Rosenlund Petersen as Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor and Dr. Easy (Executive Producer Anna Higgs; Line Producer Jessica Levick; Sound Mixer Tarn Willers; Consultant Editor Nick Fenton).

Clio Barnard’s film is also nominated for Best Director, Best Writer, Best Supporting Actress, Best Achievement in Production and Most Promising Newcomer and involved the following graduates: Editor Nick Fenton; Rerecording Mixer Martin Jensen; Development Editor Jamie Wolpert. In Best British Independent Film Award it is up against Philomena in which NFTS graduates are involved as Editor Valerio Bonelli, First Assistant Editor James Devlin, Sound Editor Jason Price and Sound Assistant Michael Lee Taylor.

Graduates were also involved in two films in the The Best Documentary category: The Great Hip Hop Hoax (Executive Producer Jonny Persey) and The Moo Man (Composer Stephen Daltry).

And graduates were involved in four films contending for the Raindance Award: Everyone’s Going to Die (DoP Daniel Stafford-Clark; Supervising Production Designer Kristine Maj De Neergaard), The Machine (Dialogue Editor Ian Morgan), Titus (Supervising Sound Editor James J Morgan; Rerecording Mixer Steve Bond; Production Accountant Louise Malin) and The Patrol (DoP Stuart Bentley).

The award ceremony on December 8 will be hosted by James Nesbitt at the Old Billingsgate. Good luck to all graduates involved.

Further credits for some of these films are as follows:

For Those in Peril

Producer Polly Stokes;

DoP Benjamin Kracun;

Editor Michael Aaglund;

Additional Sound Effects Recordist Dario Swade


Producer Suzanne Mayger;

DoP Charlie Goodger;

Designer Isona Rigau;

Production Manager Suzie Frize-Williams;

Editor Alice Petit;

VFX Supervisors Chang Liu & Kathleen Squire;

SFX Artist Philip Chapman;

Sound Recordist Michael Sinden;

Boom Operators Thomas Markwick, Matthew Forrester & Amée Simpson;

Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Raoul Brand;

Composer Alex Harwood;

Online Editor/Grade Chang Liu

Richard Branson gives Skype Q&A to EPCRI students

One of world’s most successful entrepreneurs shares business advice

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and one of the most successful businessmen in the world, impressed NFTS students on the Entrepreneurial Producing for the Creative Industries (EPCRI) diploma and second year producing MA courses when he took time out to speak to them on Skype.

Speaking from his private island Necker, Richard talked to students about setting up a business and staying innovative. Richard, who founded Student Magazine and then ground-breaking company Virgin Records with NFTS Director Nik Powell, said: “It is much more difficult to run a small business than a big business – just surviving is very tough. We had a huge amount of stress in the first 15 years of the business – it’s a thin line between success and failure – and we came close to going on the wrong side many times.”

Talking about where he gained his inspiration, Richard said: “Most of the ideas for businesses came out of personal frustration. It’s about finding areas that you feel you can do better – if someone’s not doing something well it drives you to do it better. We try to do things that make us the best in each field – something that means you’ll survive.”

Virgin Group now includes Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Trains and Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, as well as a host of other businesses. ‎He said it was also important to be passionate about your work and to motivate staff so that they supported your company’s aims: “You need to come up with an idea that will make a positive difference but it has to be your personal passion. A small business should look after the community around you – a large one should look at national and international issues. Make sure the staff can be proud of the company and give them all the tools to do their jobs right.”

In this digital age, using social media to market your company was essential, he said, as well as personally promoting your business: “If you set up a company you have to let people know about it. If it’s a business that’s appealing to the public you need to use yourself to get out there – I’ve done many foolish things to make the Virgin brand known!”

He urged the up and coming entrepreneurs to: “Think big and think global. We are, after all ‘one world’. You shouldn’t simply think about your own country, and should get a brand that can be communicated globally. You should get out there and try to conquer the world.”

Speaking candidly about the ups and downs of building a business, Branson encouraged new entrepreneurs to enjoy every day of business and stay inspired: “The day that Virgin Atlantic took off and we had a record company – everyone thought we were mad. But when the plane took off it was an incredibly euphoric moment. Fortunately nothing toppled the whole boat. The most exciting thing at the moment is the space company. It’s a tremendous challenge, building the spaceship and rockets, and that will be a truly transformative business. We’re going to be putting up satellites that will make a huge difference to telephone and internet access for everyone in the world.”

After taking students’ questions, Richard rounded off by answering whether you can learn entrepreneurship? “Yes but you also need to get out there and do it. Be thrown into the deep end and learn survival, marketing, looking after people. By being taught it, and learning from others, you get a better chance of survival – or have another career to go to if it doesn’t work!”

The 12 EPCRI participants graduate from this innovative course, next week, when they then hope to set up businesses in the creative industries. During the past 10 months, they have reaped the benefits of 150 guest speakers from the creative industries.

For more information about this course click here  

To apply to join this course in 2014, apply to the registry by emailing

NFTS Holds Fantasy Day at Channel 4

Insights into Doctor Who, Prometheus, Merlin & Game of Thrones

The NFTS celebrated Sci-Fi and fantasy television and film with a special Fantasy Day at Channel 4.

Students were treated to a day of inspiring speakers including Game of Thrones production designer Gemma Jackson; Torchwood, Doctor Who and Primeval writer James Moran; Monsters producer Allan Niblo; Torchwood composer Ben Foster and Doctor Who and Merlin director Jeremy Webb.

Writer James Moran emphasised the importance of locating fantasy in real, human experiences: “I start with the ‘what if’ idea. What if the Doctor landed in Pompeii? What if you found out you were an alien sleeper agent? Then I ask if I was in this insane situation, no matter how bizarre, how would I react?”

Recent NFTS graduate Len Rowles, producer of Encounters award winning short Orbit Ever After, advised students about being inventive to achieve high concept, stylish looking fantasy with a limited budget.

Composer and orchestrator Ben Foster, who graduated from the NFTS in 2003 talked about his extensive work in film and television including composing for Torchwood, orchestrating Doctor Who, conducting the Doctor Who Proms as well as orchestrating Prometheus and The Grey. Discussing his work on Doctor Who, Foster admitted, “It's daunting and you have a respect for the legacy of it.” But he added, “There's an opportunity to be inventive with sounds that people have never heard before in sci-fi – it's an opportunity to do something new."

Foster explained he found working in this genre particularly inspiring because, “Sci-fi needs a lot of music; directors often want you to hold the audience's hand through an alien landscape but they also need to provide an emotional pull and music can do that.”

Gemma Jackson, head production designer for the first three series of Game of Thrones, showed students some of her background research and talked about the creative process that inspired her designs: “When you're doing fantasy, you don't do a 'fantastical' set – you make a world where all your different characters can operate. You don't want it to be ridiculous or farcical.”

Writer-director Caradog James, whose new film The Machine has just won Raindance film festival, told students about early mistakes he felt he’d made and hoped to steer them away from the first mistake is sending out scripts too soon: “Once you send that script out to financiers and producers that first impression lasts…It's not good enough these days to just send a script – package it with visual material.”

Students also heard from NFTS graduates Allan Niblo, producer and co-founder of Vertigo Films, and Tom Green, director of forthcoming Monsters: Dark Continent. He showed early trailers for Vertigo films’ Monsters: Dark Continent and robot film Kill Command.

Green, whose previous work includes the first series of Misfits, said of Monster: Dark Continent: “I had this mantra that I would tell the human story of it and if I got that right then the monsters would be the allegory that I wanted them to be.” He encouraged young filmmakers not to be intimidated by a small budget: “It's really about imagination and being limitless with that, expanding your vision.”

Allan Niblo agreed adding: “What they're [financiers, producers and critics] looking for is ambition – someone who can really show that whatever they've been given, they can take that and make it much more than anyone could have imagined. Had Monsters (dir. Gareth Edwards) been a 10 million film it wouldn't have been noticed but because it was made on 1 million the industry sat up.”

The day was rounded off by graduate Jeremy Webb, director of Doctor Who, Merlin and Downton Abbey who was introduced as ‘the king of Saturday night TV’ by the NFTS’s Steven Boneham who hosted the day. Webb described directing Merlin as, “tremendous fun - it's melodrama, fundamentally, so you're allowed to have fun.”

Pictured above: Allan Niblo, Gemma Jackson, Caradog James, Tom Green, Steve Boneham