Hotter than Hell

Horror Film Made by NFTS Students in Final of FrightFest Competition.

A micro-horror movie made by NFTS students has been selected as a finalist in a competition run by prestigious genre festival Film4 FrightFest.  They successfully answered the challenge laid down by Short Cuts to Hell to create a killer three minute film within restraints of a budget of just £666, no more than six lines of dialogue, six hours shoot time, six cast and six crew. 

Director Weronika Tofilska and producer Helen Gladders’ film puts an entertainingly feminine spin on the traditionally male horror genre and features a deadly song, written and performed by fellow NFTS students.  The film focuses on a young woman nervously starting her first day working alone in a morgue as the make-up artist charged with making dead bodies more life-like for their funerals. 

Tofilska, in the second year of her Fiction Directing MA at the NFTS, said We entered the “Short Cuts to Hell” competition from a love of filmmaking and our naive enthusiasm that a short film can be made in six hours. It was, although hard work, a truly enjoyable and unforgettable experience. Being recognised for our work means that we can share the fun and joy we had while making the film with viewers.”

Award-winning writer-director and horror aficionado, who inspired students alongside Ben Wheatley at last year’s NFTS Horror Day, Corin Hardy whose highly anticipated debut horror feature The Woods is due to shoot this year, commented “With its succulent pastel cinematography, assured set design and killer soundtrack I was pleased to see Weronika Tofilska's '6 Feet Under' reach the 'Short Cuts To Hell' final. Her dark, sexy film has a playfulness at its bitter-sweet core, making it very difficult not to fall in love with!"

The six finalist films will be screened on the Horror Channel and at Film4 FrightFest , held at the Empire Leicester Square from 22nd – 26th August, where the winning film will be announced.  The overall winner will receive a prize of £6,666 and the opportunity to develop a horror short or feature with mentorship from production company Movie Mogul.  


Award winning Directors Cathy Brady and Afarin Eghbal celebrate

2013 Directing Fiction graduate Cathy Brady & 2012 Directing Animation graduate Afarin Eghbal celebrated being named ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ at the prestigious Screen International party, hosted at the Langham Hotel, London, last night.

Screen International - the UK's leading film industry magazine - annually picks out the hottest rising talents from behind and in front of the camera and hosts a celebratory party.

Cathy Brady’s graduation film 'Wasted' was selected for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. From Northern Ireland, her film ‘Small Change’ and NFTS graduation short film ‘Morning’ both won Irish Film awards. Cathy is now working on a feature project with screenwriter Laura Lomas, who she previously collaborated with, on a short for Channel Four’s Coming Up strand called Rough Skin.

Speaking at the Stars of Tomorrow event, Cathy said she hoped being named a ‘Star of Tomorrow’ would help her directing career: “I hope this opens opportunities to meet more people, have my ideas heard and that it enables me to make more films.” 

Following the amazing success of her animated documentary film 'Abuelas', which was nominated for a BAFTA, has been shown at over 150 festivals and won almost 70 awards, Afarin Eghbal is working on several feature projects including ‘The London Syndrome’

Afarin said: “The success of Abuelas has been fantastic, but I’m keen to show that I don’t just direct documentary animation; I’m interested in all mediums. What I’m most interested in is the subject matter and at the moment I’m hoping to film a live action film.”

‘The London Syndrome’ is a low budget live action psychological horror film whose senior crew are all NFTS graduates, including Producer Len Rowles and Writer Frances Poletti.

“We are all from different graduation years but when we met up there was a real meeting of minds. NFTS graduates are just the best,” added Afarin.

Don’t miss your chance to join the Directing Animation MA course starting in September or the Directors Series short course held from 29 July – 23 August. Apply before July 11.

Scholarships and bursaries are available for our MA courses.

You can read about the NFTS and the “Stars of Tomorrow” feature in the latest edition (June-July) issue of Screen International or online here 

Picture: Afarin Eghbal and Cathy Brady at the Screen International event.


'SEXTERS' TX Sunday 21 July at 12.15am

An NFTS TV entertainment documentary commissioned by Channel 5 is to be broadcast on this Sunday July 21 at 12.15am after the 10pm movie.

Channel 5 asked the NFTS TV Department students to pitch ideas last year and finally chose ‘Sexters’ – which takes a light-hearted look at the modern phenomenon of of people sending sexually explicit messages and photos via mobile phone.

It features a gay party-goer who uses mobile apps to sext strangers; a young open-minded woman; a middle-aged married couple who sext to spice up their relationship; a man who sexts before first dates and many others. It is the first time that Channel 5 has commissioned a student TV department to make a programme for transmission and it forms part of the broadcasters' drive to develop talent in the UK.

The idea was developed by recent graduate Cynthia Colucci (Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA 2011), who also directed it; she co-produced the documentary along with Justine Ost (Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA 2011), plus a crew of graduates and current students using the school's production facilities.

Producer Director Cynthia Colucci said: "It’s a light-hearted programme talking about sexting, which does relate to sex, spicy messages and nude pictures sometimes - but it’s not only about that. It’s also about flirting, love, and emotional insecurities. It’s entertainment and I hope viewers find it entertaining. "It’s a controversial topic but there is a huge world of people out there that sext. Finding them was not an issue. The tricky bit was to get hold of those who wouldn’t mind showing their faces, pictures, messages and sharing their stories.”

Producer Justine Ost, said: "Making a documentary that delves into people’s personal sex lives has been quite an experience. It’s been great meeting all of the contributors and hearing about the positive, funny sides of the sexting phenomenon. I think it hasn’t been talked about as openly as this before so I’m glad to have contributed to bring something new to TV audiences.”

Head of Television David G.Croft said: “This is a unique partnership – a Film & TV School making an entertainment programme for a broadcaster and operating under the same kinds of pressures as the professional world of TV production.”

Justine is now working as Assistant Producer on a BBC 2 new property show pilot. Cynthia is working on Coca-Cola commercials this summer and shooting some pitch reels for future TV pitchings.

Warner Bros. Television in the UK are also to invest in an NFTS graduation project that is currently in development. Shooting starts in September on the project whose working title is ‘LIONS SHARE’, which is a new formatted hidden camera show.

To apply for the 2014 NFTS Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA course contact the NFTS registry by email

Scholarships and Bursaries are available including one from Zodiak Media Group specifically for students on the TV Entertainment course.


EMMY award nominations for NFTS alumni

Downton Abbey and Olympics ceremony

Jeremy Webb (Directing Fiction graduate, 1997) has been nominated for an EMMY award in the Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series category in this year’s Primetime EMMY Awards for his work on series three of Downton Abbey, for which he directed two episodes.

The nominations for Best Miniseries or Movie include the History Channel’s The Bible, on which 2012 Digital Post Production graduate Helen Brownell worked as VFX Artist on a couple of episodes, and Top of the Lake, on which Richard Flynn (Sound graduate, 1994) acted as Sound Recordist.

The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony is a nominated in the Outstanding Special Class Programs Category.

Several NFTS recent graduates were involved in this event: Aneil Karia (Live Action Director) and Abigail Dankwa (Stage Manager) are both NFTS Producing and Directing Television Entertainment graduates; Animator/Video Engineer Zsolt Balogh (SFX/VFX, 2010); Cinematography graduates Stuart Bentley (DoP), Chloë Thomson & Vanessa Whyte; Editor Joseph Pierce graduated from Directing animation (2008) and Orchestrator Ben Foster is an NFTS Composing for Film and Television graduate (2003).

The EMMY presentation ceremony will take place on September 22.


Private tour of Kenneth Branagh's film 'Cinderella'

Year one students on the NFTS’ Production Design MA course have recently returned from an inspiring visit to Pinewood Studios where they were given a personal tour of the sets on Kenneth Branagh’s new film ‘Cinderella’.

The eight students also got to see the sculpture works department, viewed esteemed Production Designer Dante Ferretti’s set drawings and met the Supervising Art director and NFTS graduate Isona Rigau Heras who is working as the Art Department Assistant on the film.

Year one Production Design student Daniel Warren said the visit was inspiring: “It was fascinating to see how the film was made and to see all the creative effort put into the sets. It was especially inspiring to see Dante Ferretti’s drawings and to meet Isona; it made the possibility of working on a film at Pinewood seem achievable.”

Fine Art BA graduate Daniel decided to turn his hand to production design after visiting the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesdon: “It was the first time I’d seen concept drawings, set models and then the scale model of Hogwarts. I thought ‘why am I not doing this? This is what I want to do!’”

Other recent NFTS Art Department alumni working at Pinewood include Alexandra Toomey, John Merry. Four NFTS Production Design graduates worked on the Oscar and BAFTA-winning film Les Miserables (Art Director Gary Jopling, Assistant Art director Jane Harwood, Junior Draughtsmen Sophie Neil and Patrick Harris).


Scholarships and bursaries are available for the Production Design course. On a previous visit they got to see the sets for ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ and ‘Prometheus’ - where students met Production Designer Arthur Max. NFTS Head of Production Design Caroline Amies said: “These set visits are great opportunities for students to see what it is like to work on a real film set and make the contacts that they need to get work in the industry.” The NFTS a has a tremendous track-record for graduates getting work, which is in part due to the fact that the tutors are all still working in the industry and are able to secure work experience placements for many students over the summer on TV shows and feature films such as Harry Potter, Dark Shadows, Les Miserables; Skyfall and Call the Midwife.

Picture: 1st year Production Design student working in the Production Design base at the NFTS



Congratulations to NFTS 2013 Directing Documentary graduate Marc Williamson, 2011 Producing graduate Emma Lamont and their team whose film Boys has won the Student Documentary Award at the 20th Sheffield Doc Fest - the UK's premiere documentary and digital media festival.

This is the third time the NFTS has won this award at the Sheffield Docs Fest in the past four years. Boys has also been selected for the Open City Docs Fest, in London this week.

Student Award Jury spokesperson Kate Townsend, who is executive producer for BBC Four's flagship international documentary strand Storyville, said: “The student competition showed an impressive range in subject and approach. But this particular documentary stood out for two components key to a documentary – remarkable access and sensitivity of approach. Boys is an observational film which follows the struggles of two pupils over a term in a boarding school for boys with emotional and behavioural disorders.

“There are no interviews in the film and the director shows an impressive ability to shape his self-shot footage to pursue the narrative of the boys’ slow progress and the challenges of the staff who try to help them. What emerges is a powerful film, which unpeels layers of destructive behaviour to show the vulnerable children beneath. So for grasp of its material, for some gut wrenchingly memorable scenes and deep humanity, this year’s student award goes to director Marc Williamson and producer Emma Lamont for Boys.” 

Kate Townsend also announced that Channel 4 has commissioned a new version of the documentary to be broadcast on the ‘First Cut’ strand. Marc was presented with the award by Jeremy Hardy at the festival closing on Sunday June 16.

Marc Williamson said he and the team were delighted to win the award, adding: “It was a privilege to make this film and even more so to be able to share the devoted and challenging work that Muntham House School does and to highlight the moving and ultimately uplifting journeys the boys go on.”

He added: “We are currently shooting a second film at Muntham House for Channel 4's 'First Cut' strand, which is being Produced by Emma Lamont (NFTS Producing Graduate) and Exec Produced by Minnow Films. We are incredibly grateful to Lina Prestwood for commissioning the film and for the chance to reach a wider audience.”

NFTS Head of Documentaries, Dick Fontaine said: “Congratulations to Marc, Emma and the whole NFTS team. They managed in a short time to gain access and trust and to structure a film which any semi professional would be proud of.”

The NFTS crew who worked on Boys are as follows: Director/Producer/DoP Marc Williamson; Production Manager Georgia Orwell; Sound Recordist Amee Simpson; Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Peter Warnock; Editor Johannes Bock; Composer Finn McNicholas; Online Editor/Grade Ruochen Wang; Producer Emma Lamont.

The Student Doc Jury members included: Dr. Ian Dodgeon The Wellcome Trust; Seb Feehan Next Door Films; Jing Hasse Nordisk Panorama; Cinza Spironello Some Like it Short and Kate Townsend.

Boys was competing against other films including another NFTS documentary – Sodiq – by Director Adeyemi Michael.  Sodiq is also showing at the Open City Docs Festival this week in London.

The NFTS previously won this award in 2012 with the documentary The Betrayal and in 2010 with No Easy Time.

Pictured are Heather Croall Director CEO of Doc/Fest with NFTS Directing Documentary graduate Marc Williamson and and Hussain Currimbhoy Doc Fest Programmer.

Credit: photographer Jacqui Bellamy, Pixelwitch

‘Miss Todd’ wins student Academy Award + makes history

1st time an animated film has won international prize

The NFTS student film ‘Miss Todd’ has just won gold in the foreign section of the Student Academy Awards – the first time in the Awards’ 33 year history that an animation has won in this category – beating off competition from film schools across the world.

Directed by Kristina Yee, co-written by Frances Poletti and produced by Suzanne Mayger, Miss Todd is an innovative stop-frame animated musical using paper puppets in a story about a pioneering American female pilot.

Sixteen students from colleges and universities around the world were honored on Saturday (June 8) as winners at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 40th Student Academy Awards held at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Bob Saget, a Student Academy Award winner himself in 1978, revealed the gold, silver and bronze medal placements awarded to the honorees. Writer-director Kimberly Peirce and actors Clark Gregg, Jason Schwartzman and Quvenzhané Wallis presented the awards.

Director Kristina Yee said: "I feel so honoured to be a gold medalist. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the NFTS, which is such as wonderful creatively nourishing place to study. I always felt such strong support at every turn. It's an institute that encourages you to push yourself and the boundaries of what you think is possible. To my team I owe everything. They are not only amazingly talented, but have real and rare attributes that are invaluable in the industry, like their unflagging dedication, collaborative spirit, and endless ingenuity. Team Todd is amazing.”

This is the School’s 6th Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences Student Academy Award foreign film prize – more than any other film school. Our Animation department is one of the most successful in the world. Among the many accolades received this year alone, the NFTS is the only film school to receive an Oscar nomination (Head Over Heels); the first film school to win the 'Best Student Film' award at the Annies (Head Over Heels) and the only UK film school with a film in Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This shows yet again that the NFTS' culture of putting together teams of the brightest students, taught by teams of the best tutors, with great stories and adventurous filmmaking results in terrific award-winning films like Miss Todd.”

Nine members of the Miss Todd NFTS team flew over to Los Angeles before the Academy Awards and were given tours of the main studios including visits to Walt Disney Animation Studios where they met Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) and John Kahrs (Paperman). They also met Cinematographer Dean Cundey ASC (Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook).

NFTS Head of Animation Helen Nabarro said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Kristina and her team who worked tirelessly on this innovative film – we haven’t made an animated musical before so this was a first. We are very lucky at the NFTS to have such creative and hard-working students and dedicated tutors.”

Don’t miss your chance to join this multi-award-winning department. Apply by June 21 for the 12-week Certificate in Character Animation run with Aardman Animation at their Bristol studios. Apply by July 11 to join our award-winning Directing Animation MA two-year course run at the NFTS. Scholarships and bursaries are available for our MA courses.

Miss Todd is a character based on a real historical figure, the first female aeronautical engineer, and one who has largely been lost in history, adds Kristina Yee. “She was absolutely amazing and struggled against the standards of her time, as people continue to do today. She is worthy of a story, and deserving of a voice, which we literally give her in the musical medium of the film. I hope she serves as an inspiration to anyone who struggles to achieve their dreams. I'm so delighted to have this recognition from the Academy. I hope that this is the beginning of great things for Miss Todd!"

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight awards. The roster includes such filmmakers as John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker and Spike Lee.

Watch the trailer on the NFTS’s website Screening Room.

Miss Todd Cast: Lucie Jones

Miss Todd Filmmakers: Kristina Yee Director/Co-Writer; Suzanne Mayger Producer; Frances Poletti Co-Writer; Nick Cooke Cinematographer; Isona Rigau Production Designer; Michele Chiappa Editor; Georgia Orwell Production Manager; Philip Chapman SFX SFX/VFX; Kam Baines VFX, Online Editor and Colour Grader; Tom Lock Griffiths Sound Designer and Dubbing Mixer; Matt Kelly Composer. 

Pictured: Kristina Yee (Bottom row, second from right) with fellow Academy Award winners at the Student Academy Awards held on 8th June 2013 in Beverley Hills, California. 

'Brick' and 'Looper' Writer/Director Rian Johnson gives Masterclass

From Cult Indie Film to Blockbuster Smash

Rian Johnson, the award-winning writer/director/editor whose debut cult film Brick (2005) won a Sundance award gave an inspiring Masterclass talk to NFTS students with his cousin the Composer Nathan Johnson.

Rian said he wrote Brick straight out of film school at the age of 23 and started shooting the film the day before his 30th birthday as “…a labour of love.”

He struggled to raise the finance for the film and kept the roof over his head by editing promos: “… it’s the hardest thing in the world to get someone to write a cheque to make a movie. But I had all those years to figure out how to be a human being,” said Rian who was in conversation with Dr Jonathan Wardle, the NFTS’ Director of Curriculum and Registrar.

Eventually his own family stumped up the initial $200k investment in Brick, which cost a total $450k to make and his cousin Nathan composed the music for the film in which every character had his own musical theme, like Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf.

Rian revealed that he wasn’t able to film coverage, which led to an unintentional jump-cut style of editing. “Coverage? I didn’t have any! A lot of times it looks like it’s a stylistic choice, but in fact I just didn’t have a choice. Making that film was a real learning curve.”

The film was critically acclaimed as being "…a smart, original neo-noir that works as an ingenious mind-game as well as a slick Hollywood calling card." It won him the 2005 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision and opened doors to help make his next major film The Brothers Bloom (2009) - a con-man story starring Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz and Rinko Kikuchi and Robbie Coltrane.

“It was a cult indie film so Hollywood didn’t come knocking on my door after Sundance” but it did mean that for The Brothers Bloom he was able to attract bigger name actors and work with a professional editor for the first time. “I was used to writing, directing and editing so it was a new experience for me working with an editor. I learned a lot but I think the editor deserves an apology; I found it difficult to hold back!”

A character-based con-man film with an emotional payoff, Rian told NFTS students, “I find it much more interesting for the punch at the end of the movie to be emotional rather than plot driven. It’s more important that it’s your heart driving it than your head.”

One critic said of the film: “If Wes Anderson and Terry Gilliam ever had a child, science would be amazed and appalled. But also, it would probably end up making a film like this."

Five years after his first film, Rian got to make the Sci-Fi blockbuster Looper (2012) that gave him the chance to work with A list stars such as Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who he’d first worked before on Brick.

Looper was a huge hit praised as, "Intelligent, extremely imaginative, visually stunning and constantly surprising, this is filmmaking of the highest order from Rian Johnson." Rian explained how he’d written the treatment for Looper as a short film back when he was waiting to make Brick. “The opening of the feature and most of the ending is almost verbatim from that treatment,” he disclosed.

While film critics and fans debated the value of time-travel and whether they would ‘…go back in time to kill Hitler” or not, for Rian the film was, “…about the feeling of reacting to something you’re angry about, the primeval instinct to inflict violence as a response & the fact that’s not really healthy. The film is about violence vs. nurturing.”

His cousin Nathan Johnson has composed the music for all of Rian’s films and revealed that he often spends time on set getting to know the characters beforehand. His creative partnership with Rian started when the two were children and has continued throughout their professional lives.

Beginning with the critically acclaimed score for their first feature collaboration, Brick, Nathan said he used and abused a variety of household implements including dinner settings, filing cabinets, cheese graters, and radiators. Real instruments such as pianos were bolted and tacked, double basses were beaten with mallets, and tuned wine glasses were re-purposed in place of a string section.

Rian has recently directed two episodes of the cult American TV series Breaking Bad, the first time he directed something he hadn’t written. With only one week to prep and one week to shoot, he said, “There’s no time for any bullshit, you just have to do it. It’s really fun.”

Asked whether he’d direct any other TV shows, Rian - self-confessed Sci Fi fan – admitted he’s, “…a big Game of Thrones fan & would love to do an episode of Dr Who.”

Production design STUDENTS team up with Digital Effects to SHOOT SPACE FILM USING MOTION CONTROL

Apply for course before the July 11 deadline

Production Design students have teamed up with Year 2 Digital Effects students to create a stunning short space film as part of SFX/VFX MA workshop. The project, titled 'Terminus,' tells the story of a sleeper in a space probe being unexpectedly woken on her journey through the universe.

Directed by Oli Nedwell and produced by Chris Chidlow, the production design students designed a model space set, with a miniature model spaceship and shot the short story using a motion control camera.

Following a day spent at Mark Roberts Motion Control learning about the different kinds of camera rigs, they then spent 5 weeks at Leigh Took's workshop at Bray Studios building the miniature and the model sets. Meanwhile an NFTS Production Design student built a life-size set of the inside of the space ship for the actor. They then spent two days shooting on the TV Stage with a Talos Motion Control Rig with an Arri Alexa camera. 

Pictured is the actor inside the model space ship and the crew (including industry model-maker and art director, John Lee) with the Production Designer’s Pod.

Places are still available on the Production Design course if you apply before the July 11 deadline

This course has a great track record for graduates working in senior roles in the film and television industry. Production Designers Tom Conroy (TheTudors, Breakfast on Pluto, Titanic, Blood and Steel and Camelot)Dennis De Groot (The IT Crowd and Little Britain); Art Director Steven Lawrence (W.E., Casino Royale and The Dark Knight); Paul Kirby (Green Zone, The Brothers Bloom, Love in the Time of Cholera); Art Director Gary Jopling, Assistant Art Director Jane Harwood, Junior draughtsman Sophie Neil and Patrick Harris who all worked on Les Miserables.


NFTS graduate wins Camera d'Or at Cannes

Clio Barnard wins Europa Cinemas Label; 4 stars for ‘For Those in Peril’; roar of applause for Magnificent Lion Boy

NFTS 2010 graduate Anthony Chen has won the coveted Camera d'Or at Cannes - the most prestigious award for a first feature film director - with his feature Ilo Ilo.

Anthony is the first ever Singaporean to win this prize, which was presented in Cannes by actress Chinese star Xhang Ziyi and acclaimed French director Agnes Varda.

The film, shown in Directors Fortnight ( La Quinzaine), follows a family coping with the fallout of financial crisis and drew upon the director's own personal childhood experiences. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony, an over-awed Anthony Chen said humbly: "It is a dream for a first film to get this much support and encouragement...What really heartens me is that a story about an ordinary family in Singapore can touch the hearts of audiences miles away. It is a great honour to receive this award from the hands of one of cinemas' greatest directors and one of its greatest actresses."

The crew included NFTS graduates Benoit Soler (Dop), Hoping Chen ( Editor), and Zhe Wu (Sound Designer/ Sound Editor/ Dubbing Mixer).
Anthony Chen added: "I'd like to thank the incredible team who worked on this film for three years."

Nik Powell, NFTS Director said: "Ilo Ilo is a stunning achievement, a film of great emotional power. Congratulations to Anthony and to the other key NFTS alumni."

Lynda Myles, NFTS Head of Directing Fiction, said: "I am thrilled to hear the news about the award of the Camera d'Or to Anthony Chen for Ilo Ilo. He joins a very distinguished list of past winners, including Jim Jarmusch and Steve McQueen."

The film was given a standing ovation from the 800-strong crowd when it was shown during Director’s Fortnight and organisers had to ask people to stop because they had to prepare for the next screening!

Anthony added: "When the film stopped, it was in the middle of the birthday scene with the characters singing Happy Birthday. Yet the audience continued to sing Happy Birthday and it showed how invested they were in the film. No one walked out and we had a standing ovation at the end. I was so moved that both the audience and actors teared up, because it showed me they understood the film.”

Praised by Screen Daily as a film that “…could enjoy worldwide theatrical attention when one considers that, although the movie is set in Singapore, the issues at play are universal," Ilo Ilo has attracted so much interest, it was even mentioned on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page. There was success also for Clio Barnard, a graduate of the NFTS’ advanced course, who won the Europa Cinemas Label as Best European film in the Director's Fortnight section for her film The Selfish Giant. Her film will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas Network, with additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run on screen.

Clio has been hailed by Charlotte Higgins in The Guardian as a significant new voice in British cinema; Variety critic Guy Lodge says the “film should elevate Barnard to the bracket of streetwise femme compatriots Andrea Arnold and Lynne Ramsay,” and the Telegraph’s critic Robbie Collin gives the film 5 stars saying: “So hauntingly perfect is Barnard’s film, and so skin-pricklingly alive does it make you feel to watch it, that at first you can hardly believe the sum of what you have seen: the astonishingly strong performances from her two young, untutored leads; Barnard’s layered script; Mike Eley’s snow-crisp cinematography that makes the streets of Bradford shine.”

2010 NFTS graduate Paul Wright’s debut feature film For Those in Peril, also made waves following its screening in Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film tells the story of Aaron, who has returned to his remote fishing village following a tragic expedition from which he was the only survivor. Aaron, played by George MacKay, has to deal with survivor’s guilt, and the small religious and superstitious community turning against him. It is produced by Warp X with backing from Creative Scotland, the BFI, Film4 and Screen Yorkshire.

Robbie Collin in the Telegraph gives the film 4 out of 5 stars and says: “The film’s young cast are terrifyingly good: George MacKay ... is simply heartbreaking in a performance that leaves you feeling like your own soul has been peeled.” 

Variety’s Charles Gant describes the film as, “a visually arresting poetic reverie that should strike a chord with adventurous audiences who don't mind mood over matter.”

Paul is also interviewed by Nick Clark in the Independent, by Screen International’s Editor Wendy Mitchell and by The Guardian’s Henry Barnes for their Film Talk strand.

Paul is an NFTS Directing Fiction graduate and was a 2007 Screen International Star of Tomorrow. His acclaimed shorts include Believe and the BAFTA winner Until The River Runs Red. He is in the early stages of writing his next project.

The NFTS’ 2013 graduate film The Magnificent Lion Boy (Directed by Ana Caro and Produced by James Cotton) was shown in the Cinéfondation section at Cannes – the only film from a UK film school. It received a roar of applause from the packed audience that included Jane Campion the Head of the Jury for Cinéfondation.

Speaking after the screening, Director Ana Caro said: "It was very exciting to present the film to both the public and the jury members at Cannes, including Jane Campion, who is inspiring to me."

Producer James Cotton added: "The response from the audience was fantastic. Already, we can see that this film is something special; making people laugh and cry. It's quite a trick to pull that off, and Ana is a genius at achieving it."

This film has also received rave reviews with one critic calling it the highlight of the Cinfondation section.

 Lynne Ramsay’s BAFTA winning film Swimmer was in the Directors' Fortnight short film section and she is on the Cannes Film Festival Jury that will choose the winner of the coveted Palme d'Or. There was also a Special Screening of Director Stephen Frears’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, which was written by Shawn Slovo.

These films were all supported by a talented crew that included many graduates from the NFTS:

For Those in Peril- Producer Polly Stokes; DoP Benjamin Kracun; Editor Michael Aaglund; Additional Sound Effects Recordist Dario Swade Ilo Ilo - DoP Benoit

Soler Last Days on Mars - Editor Peter Lambert; Art Director Steve Lawrence; 

The Magnificent Lion Boy (NFTS) - Writer Jonathan Carr; DoP Alfie Biddle; Production Designer Natasha Mackey; Editor Paulo Pandolpho; Production Manager Natalie Langowski; Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Ania Przygoda;VFX Supervisor/Online Editor/Grade Jason Evans; Composer Sarah Warne; CGI Pre-visualisation James Miller & Jack Whinnett

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight - Writer Shawn Slovo

The Selfish Giant - Editor Nick Fenton; Rerecording Mixer Martin Jensen; Development Editor Jamie Wolpert

Swimmer - DoP Natasha Braier; Production Designers Jane Morton & Kiera Tudway; Art Director Kristine Maj De Neergaard; Sound Designer Paul Davies; Production Assistant Emily Morgan.

If you’d like to join our award-winning alumni, there are still places left on these NFTS MA courses: Sound Design for Film and Television; Sound Recording for Film and Television; Production Design; Digital Effects; Directing Animation as well as a new Certificate in Animation launched with Aardman Animation’s studio in Bristol.

There are also places on Diploma courses such as Production Management and Script Development. For a full list of courses click here.

Pictured: Anthony Chen receiving the Camera d'Or for Ilo Ilo.