NFTS bags IFTA gold

Irish Film & Television Award win for 'Morning'

An NFTS student film Morning has won Best Short Film at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

The film Co-Written by Sarah Woolner with Director/ Co-Writer Cathy Brady is a moving depiction of a grief-stricken mother who has tragically lost her daughter. The cause of her death is slowly and emotively revealed through a conversation with a tabloid newspaper paparazzi who has been sent to pick up a photograph of the child.

Hosted by Irish actor Simon Delaney and broadcast primetime on Irish television on RTÉ One, the Annual Irish Film & Television Awards are the highlight of Ireland’s entertainment and cultural calendar celebrating the very best of Irish screen talent across film and television.

Sarah and Cathy (pictured at the IFTAs) both graduated in March 2012 and have signed to leading talent agency United Agents.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This is a brilliant and well deserved result for a highly talented team. Cathy and Sarah are now working on new feature length material and we are sure they have successful careers ahead of them.”

Commenting on the night, Chief Executive of IFTA, Áine Moriarty congratulated all winners and Nominees on what is the tenth anniversary of the Awards, saying “This is a wonderful night of celebration for the Irish film and television industry which continues to punch above its weight in terms of production values, creativity and entertainment. Tonight we honour the outstanding achievements of Irish directors, writers, actors, television and film makers, which has been showcased here this evening. Many congratulations to all of this year’s winners and nominees.”


We also saw awards success at the BAFTAS with NFTS graduate Lynne Ramsey winning best Short Film for Swimmer. Congratulations also to Roger Deakins who reaped the ASC Cinematography Award for Skyfall.

Roger was also among the NFTS alumni nominated for Oscars this year. The others are Dario Marianelli (Composing for Film and Television, 1997) who received his third career nomination for his Original Score to the film Anna Karenina and Stuart Wilson (Sound, 1994) who receives a nomination for his sound mixing on Skyfall. And 2012 graduates Timothy Reckart (Writer/Director) and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly (Producer) were also nominated for their stop-frame animated film Head Over Heels.

At the Golden Globes in January, 17 NFTS graduates were involved in 3 award-winning films:

Les Miserables (Winner Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, Best Actor, Comedy or Musical and Best Supporting Actress) has 4 Graduate credits.

Skyfall (Winner Best Song) has 11 Graduate credits. • Game Change (Winner Best Miniseries, Best Actress in a Miniseries, Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries) has 1 Graduate credit.

Downton Abbey (Winner Best Supporting Actress - Miniseries) has 1 graduate credit (3rd series)

Inside Pictures Celebrates 10TH Anniversary

Applications open for 2013 programme 'From Europe to Hollywood'

Inside Pictures, the leading film industry business training and leadership skills development programme for 24 high-flying executives and producers has launched its 2013 programme as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Applications are now open for this top level and highly regarded programme that includes three intensive one-week modules and a tailored project based both in London and Los Angeles between June and November 2013. The focus of the programme will be to develop the cutting edge industry business knowledge, management skills, profile and cross-industry contact network needed for leaders to thrive in the global business of film.

Seminars, workshops, studio visits and events will cover all aspects of the international film business from development through production, financing, worldwide distribution, marketing and exhibition and latest digital developments. The successful applicants will be executives from across the value chain who display determination to succeed. They will have at least five years’ experience in film or an associated creative industry, such as television. Applications can be made online from The deadline for applications is 15th March 2013.

This year marks the 10th edition of the Inside Pictures programme, which was originally conceived and designed as an initiative by Qwerty Films. The programme is now delivered by the NFTS, the UK's national centre of excellence for postgraduate education, and is supported by the MEDIA Programme and Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund as part of A Bigger Future 2.

Jill Tandy, the programme’s Executive Producer, said: “10 years on, we have the most impressive group of 147 alumni for across Europe – Oscar winners, BAFTA winners, executives from the highest echelons of many of Europe’s most successful companies - a very hard act for the 2013 participants to follow and yet, with our fabulous speaker line-up, this promises be the best year ever!”

Many of the most experienced and very highest level industry professionals in America and Europe will take part as speakers, including Romain Bessi, EVP Strategy Finance & Technical, Studio Canal; Kieran Breen, EVP Intl Marketing, 20th Century Fox International; Jim Buckle, COO, LOVEFiLM; Christine Corner, Partner Media & Entertainment Group, Grant Thornton; Eddie Cunningham, President, Universal Pictures International Entertainment; Will Davies, Screenwriter; Kristina Fugate, EVP Marketing Theatrical Release, Warner Home Video; Steve Golin, CEO, Anonymous Content; Vincent Grimond, Chairman and CEO, Wild Bunch; Steve Knibbs, Chief Operating Officer Vue Cinema; Johannes Larcher, SVP International, Hulu; Ian Lewis, Director of Sky Movies,
BSkyB; Bill Mechanic, President and CEO, Pandemonium Films; Belinda Menendez, President, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution & Universal Networks International, NBCUniversal; Charles Moore, Partner, Wiggin LLP; Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix; Nico Simon, CEO, Utopia S.A.; Paul Verhoeven Director; Robert Walak, SVP Acquisitions Worldwide, Alliance Films; Jeremy Zimmer, Founder, Board Member and Agent, United Talent Agency. A full list of speakers can be found at

Agnieszka Moody, Director of MEDIA Desk UK, said: “I am delighted to witness the added value this programme is now delivering for professionals, and it’s the benefit of developing contacts with their like-minded peers from other European countries. This international mix of participants is a value in itself, and is as relevant as the quality and level of learning provision. I’m happy to see the MEDIA Programme contributing to it.”

Dan Simmons, Head of Film at Creative Skillset said: “Improving Business Skills across the film spectrum continues to be a funding priority for Creative Skillset on behalf of the UK creative industries. Inside Pictures targets and nurtures the film business and industry leaders of tomorrow, helping to keep the UK film industry at the forefront of the global marketplace. We have supported Inside Pictures for many years and are proud of the achievements of the impressive alumni of the scheme who are testimony to the enormous value of this programme to the UK Film Industry.”

Nik Powell, NFTS Director, says: “The NFTS is extremely proud to be presenting Inside Pictures alongside our partners, the MEDIA Programme and Creative Skillset. During the ten years since the programme began, we have attracted the elite of the European film industry. We look forward to another successful edition in 2013 and, beyond that, ten more years to come. I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone in Europe with ambitions of leading our industry.”

Inside Pictures thanks Ingenious Media, the Film Distributors Association and the Irish Film Board for providing scholarship funding for this year’s edition of the course.

Warner Bros. Options 'The Big Steal'

4th Student TV Show Format to be Optioned in Two Years, 2nd by WBITVP

The Big Steal - an NFTS quiz show format in which it pays to steal from your opponents – has been optioned by Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP) from the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in a deal that will involve the students in the production. The aim is for the series to go into production in the Autumn.

This is the fourth National Film and Television School (NFTS) original format to be optioned in the past two years and the second to be optioned by WBITVP in the past 18 months.

The Big Steal was created by students André Sousa and Anti Reinthal as their graduation project for the NFTS two year Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA.

Anti Reinthal said: “We are really thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Warner Bros. – responsible for such great entertainment hits. We hope that our show is their next big hit series.”

Andre Sousa said: "We always believed our show had potential and we are ecstatic at the prospect of having The Big Steal in such good hands as Warner brothers. It's simply amazing."

In the high-stakes strategic quiz show, The Big Steal, contestants are given £40,000 each to play with and a chance to ‘steal’ money off their opponents if they answer questions correctly. But they must hold their nerve because the longer they wait the more they can win. If they wait too long or fail to answer correctly, they lose money so the skill lies in knowing when to buzz. The battle is played over three stages and there’s a nerve-wracking big money finale. It’s aimed at 18-45 year old male and female viewers. The show also features a strong audience interactive element.

NFTS Head of Television David G Croft said: “I am delighted that yet another NFTS Television Department format has been optioned by such a serious international player as Warner Bros. It is proof positive that our TV students can develop and produce entertainment pilots that can match anything in the professional sector. The Big Steal was made for a fraction of an industry budget and I am justly proud of Andre Sousa & Anti Reinthal and we wish them and the show all success.”

“The Big Steal fits in well with the type of formats we are looking for, entertainment shows that are original, well structured, with the capacity for returning series and a concept that will travel well around the globe. We look forward to working with Andre and Anti to develop the format further and bringing it to the international market” said Andrew Zein, SVP, Creative, Format Development and Sales WBITVP.”

A pilot version will be screened to the Industry at the NFTS Graduation show hosted at the BFI on 27 February 2013. You can watch the teaser on our YouTube channel here.

127 credits for NFTS graduates on 24 Oscar and Bafta nominated films

Student graduation film is 3rd to be nominated for an Oscar in the short film categories in 7 years

The NFTS has a reputation for producing some of the most talented film-makers in the world and already has 5 Oscars and 8 BAFTAs under its belt for student films. But this year is exceptional with 127 graduate credits on 24 films nominated for Oscars and BAFTAs. 

This includes  Head Over Heels – a graduation film written and directed by Timothy Reckart and produced by Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly that poignantly captures the emotional distance between a long married husband and wife in an unusual and humourous way. It is the third NFTS film to be nominated in the short film category in the past 7 years.

Timothy, aged 27, who is currently based in New York where he’s editing a comedy pilot show that he also directed, said: “We're thrilled that Head Over Heels is nominated for an Oscar! It's such a great honour. We are so glad that this news will bring our film to more audiences around the world!”

Fodhla, aged 26, is working as a producer for Parallel Films in London. She says she’s still can’t believe its happened: “It’s incredible -it hasn’t sunk in yet. I always knew that Tim was incredibly talented but this is the first film he's written and directed so to be nominated for an Oscar is pretty amazing. We honestly couldn’t have done this without the NFTS - it's an amazing stepping-stone to the film industry.”

They are now busy making arrangements to fly out to Hollywood for the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24th.

Praising the students for their achievement, NFTS Director Nik Powell said: "Head Over Heels is an original, heart-warming and beautifully rendered film that has obviously captured the Academy's imagination. It is a huge honour for the students and the school, which is getting quite a track record in producing animated short films that can compete at such a prestigious level."

The 3 NFTS alumni also nominated for Oscars are: Roger Deakins (Cinematography, 1975) was nominated for Best Cinematography for his work on Skyfall, always a bridesmaid never a bride, Roger has been nominated 9 times previously but never won (The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Reader and True Grit). Dario Marianelli (Composing for Film and Television, 1997) received his third career nomination for his Original Score to the film Anna Karenina. Dario previously won for his work on Atonement in 2007. Stuart Wilson (Sound, 1994) receives a nomination for his sound mixing on Skyfall.  This is Stuart's second Academy Award nomination, his first was for the film War Horse.

In addition, at the Golden Globes, 17 NFTS graduates were involved in 3 award-winning films:

• Les Miserables (Winner Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, Best Actor, Comedy or Musical and Best Supporting Actress) has 4 Graduate credits.

• Skyfall (Winner Best Song) has 11 Graduate credits.

• Game Change (Winner Best Miniseries, Best Actress in a Miniseries, Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries) has 1 Graduate credit.

• Downton Abbey (Winner Best Supporting Actress - Miniseries) has 1 graduate credit (3rd series)



Lloyd Phillips (1950-2013)

Oscar-winning NFTS graduate passes away

The National Film and Television School wishes to pay tribute to one of our graduates, Academy Award winner Lloyd Phillips who passed away last week.

Lloyd who was born in South Africa but raised in New Zealand came to the NFTS in 1977 and graduated in 1979 specialising in Producing. During his time at the school Lloyd honed his talent for storytelling and proved popular among his peers with his film Half Way Round The Circle Now proving to be one of the most successful graduation films of that year. After leaving the NFTS Lloyd went on to direct the short film The Dollar Bottom for which he won the 1981 Academy Award for Best Short Film, at the same time becoming the first ever New Zealander to win an Oscar. His career then spanned out, producing such films as 12 Monkeys, Inglourious Basterds and The Legend of Zorro; his most recent film, Man of Steel a reboot of the Superman series, is due out later this year.

Nik Powell, Director of the NFTS commented ‘It’s always with sadness that we learn of the death of one of our alumni. The loss of Lloyd, a fantastic storyteller and supporter of the school, at such a young age, is a huge loss not just to the school but to our industry’.

Lloyd is survived by his wife, Beau St. Clair and his sister Avril.

Head Over Heels wins MPSE award

11th Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing


Academy Award nominated stop-frame animation film – Head Over Heels -  has won over judges at another international awards show in Los Angeles, USA. Having bagged the Annie Award for Best Student Animated Film, plus a host of international festival awards, the NFTS student film has now won a Motion Picture Sound Editor's Golden Reel Award - recognised as the sound world's equivalent to the Oscars.

Student Axle Kith Cheeng (pictured above right with producer Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly) flew out to L.A to receive the Verna Fields Award for Best Sound Editing by a student film-maker. This is the NFTS' 28th nomination and 11th Golden Reel award win since 1996, making it consistently the world's best school for sound editing.

Axle said: "It is a great honour to receive this award amongst the finest sound and music editing professionals. Everyone who is here tonight appreciates the value of the Golden Reel Award because we share a passion and love for  sound and music."

The Oscar-nominated film also received praise from Aardman's Nick Park, rave reviews in the world's film Press as well as the public's vote with over 300,000 hits on You Tube and a strong Facebook

Chris Pow NFTS Head of Sound said: "This is an incredible achievement when you consider that the Verna Fields award is open to every film school in the world. Given our repeated success at the Golden Reel Awards it goes to prove that the NFTS MA in Sound Design is among the best in the world. Axles work played a huge part in what makes this film so outstanding."

NFTS graduate James Morgan was also awarded the Mike Hopkins Memorial Scholarship, which was set up in memory of Mike who tragically died at the end of last year. Mike shared Academy Awards with EthanVan der Ryn for work on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and King Kong.

James who flew to Hollywood to attend the Oscars said: "To be awarded by the illustrious sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn was a huge honour. The $1000 prize money is most welcome and will be used to help fund this excellent trip to the Oscars, however it's the recognition by professionals in the sound editing industry that means the most to me."

NFTS Director Nik Powell: “For one of our graduation films to be nominated for an Academy Award as well as winning a Golden Reel and an Annie - the pinnacle of awards for animation and sound editing - is an extraordinary feat for the student filmmakers who achieved it! We are very proud of the students for bringing such credit to our film school. And this extraordinarily human and humorous film richly deserves the success and credit it is receiving.”



NFTS Flies the Flag for the UK

Students bag 2 nominations in Golden Reel Sound Awards

The NFTS has beaten off stiff competition to become the only institution in the UK to be nominated for Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards - recognized as the world’s equivalent of the Oscars for expertise in Sound Editing.

Two out of the 8 contenders are NFTS students. Students Axle Kith Cheeng has been nominated for the short animation film Head Over Heels and James Morgan has been nominated for My Face Is In Space in the Verna Fields Award category for Sound Editing by student film-makers.

This is the 28th time that NFTS students have been nominated since 1996 and with 10 wins already under the school’s belt, it’s becoming known in the U.S as the one to watch.

Chris Pow, NFTS Head of Sound, said: "This is an incredible achievement and just goes to prove that the NFTS' MA in Sound Design is among the best in the world. Our students regularly fend off strong competition in the U.S to beat the Americans on their own Hollywood turf. Congratulations to all of the filmmakers that worked on the film and good luck to Axle & James!"

The first NFTS student to win this award was Ian Morgan who was promptly snapped up by Sony Pictures to work in their sound department and has since spent 19 years working at the highest level on hit TV shows Seinfeld, NYPD Blue, Six Feet Under and Any Day Now as well as Sound Supervisor Editor on over 20 feature films for HBO, Showtime, CBS, ABC and Disney, receiving three more MPSE Golden Reel nominations.

The winners will be announced on Sunday 17th February in Los Angeles.

Still taken from nominated NFTS animation My Face Is In Space.

NFTS To Hothouse Nation's Most Promising Young Film Talent

Search begins for 54 stars of the future

The BFI today announced that the new BFI Film Academy residential two-week Talent Campus will be delivered by the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

The BFI Film Academy is the result of a unique partnership with the Department for Education in England, which has provided £3m funding for the programme over 3 years, and forms a key part of the BFI’s ambitious plans to revolutionise film education for 5-19 year olds across the UK over the next five years.

Providing opportunities for talented and committed young people to develop new skills and build a career in the film industry, no matter where they live or what their background, is a core aim of the BFI’s Film Forever five year plan to support the future success of UK film and forms the central tenet of the BFI Film Academy programme.  Alongside the NFTS, the BFI is working with 24 regional delivery partners across England for the BFI’s Film Academy Network and with support from BAFTA, Pinewood Studios and Creative Skillset.

From today, the NFTS will be taking applications from 16-19 year olds all over England, to select 54 participants for this unique educational opportunity. The BFI Film Academy Talent Campus is an intensive 13-day training course which will enable the UK’s most promising young film talent to develop a range and breadth of film disciplines.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education comments: “The new academy is open to young people from all backgrounds and will play its part in helping ensure the British film industry remains competitive.”

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO said:Finding and supporting the talent of tomorrow is fundamental to the future success of the UK Film Industry.  I am so thrilled that we have yet another eminent partner in the NFTS helping to bring this new strategy alive. The NFTS is ideally placed, with all its skills and dynamism to offer an extraordinary opportunity to any young person with ambitions for a career in film.’

Nik Powell Director of the NFTS said:The NFTS has a commitment to educate the best creative talent to the highest professional standards for tomorrow’s screen industries. We are very excited to be able to open our doors to younger students and offer them tuition by some of Britain’s best film experts in our world-class studio facilities.”

Participants in the Talent Campus will choose a specialism, such as Directing, Producing, Editing, Cinematography or Sound Recording, and form teams that will be tutored by film industry experts to make short films using the School’s film studios and world-class teaching facilities. Tutors include Cinematographer Brian Tufano (Trainspotting, Billy Elliot), Director Brian Gilbert (Wilde, Tom & Viv) and Producer Michelle Eastwood (In Our Name). There will also be Masterclasses from some of the country’s leading film-makers, tailored industry support from BAFTA and visits to the BFI National Archives and Pinewood Studios.

 The students’ films will be screened at the end of the course at a London event attended by industry professionals. Following the Talent Campus, support will be given to the participants in obtaining further training, work placements or jobs in the industry.

The residential course will be based at the NFTS and the Lane End Conference Centre, in Buckinghamshire, during the Easter holidays (April 2-12) with an introductory weekend on March 9-10th. Every 16-19 year old across England who can show talent and enthusiasm for film is eligible to apply for the Talent Campus, including the approximately 500 young people already enrolled in the BFI Film Academy Regional Network programme. The deadline for applications is Monday February 18, 2013.

The Talent Campus is free but participants need to cover the cost of travel to and from the residential locations and a £75 administration fee is payable on being awarded a place. However, Bursaries are available to cover these costs in order to make this incredible opportunity available to people from all backgrounds. For full details go to the BFI Film Academy page and  the NFTS Talent Campus page

The NFTS was founded 40 years ago with the help of its President Lord Attenborough and runs Post Graduate MA and diploma courses but this is the first time it has opened its doors to younger students.

The School has a reputation for producing some of the most talented film-makers in the world. Its student films have won 5 Oscars, 8 BAFTAs and graduates include 2013 Oscar nominees Roger Deakins and Stuart Wilson (Skyfall) and Dario Marianelli (Anna Karenina) and students Timothy Eckhart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly whose graduation film Head Over Heels is in the short animated film section.

Download the application form here and complete it following the instructions on page 1. Please note your date of birth much fall between 13th April 1993 and 18th February 1997 to be eligible to apply. Proof of age must be supplied on acceptance of a place.

Multi Oscar-Nominated Director Visits NFTS

PT Anderson masterclass packs out NFTS cinema

Multi Oscar-nominated Director PT Anderson (The Master, There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, Boogie Nights) gave a masterclass at the NFTS last Sunday to a packed cinema.

He talked about his work over his six magnificent films as well as his writing, and the amazing actors he has worked with over his career.

Regarding his preparation for filmmaking, PT Anderson commented "You immerse yourself in the research, then at some point you have to throw it away & trust yourself to make a film. Otherwise you might as well go be a historian."

and on his writing - "I try to write every day. I probably end up having a better day if I get up just a little bit earlier & write."

Hosted by NFTS Director Nik Powell, it was followed by a discussion with the students on all aspects of filmmaking.

Student film praised in Parliament

NFTS documentary could now be shown in schools.

An NFTS graduating student’s film about the lives of two young men from a Peckham housing estate has been applauded following a special screening in front of a packed audience of MPs, lawyers, youth workers and campaigners in the House of Commons.

The documentary, provisionally titled, Sodiq & Sylvester, is directed by NFTS student Adeyemi, and follows the lives of 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 in Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

Guests at the event MP included former professional footballer Andy Ansah who presented the documentaries Wayne Rooney Street Striker and Ronaldo Tested To The Limit, Peter Herbert OBE from The Society of Black Lawyers, world-leading defence advocate Courtenay Griffiths QC from Garden Court Chambers and Psychologist Dr Marie Stewart MBE among others. Following a lively debate chaired by Diane Abbott MP on the law of Joint Enterprise, a form of secondary liability used when prosecuting gang related crime, there were calls for the film to be shown in secondary schools to raise awareness of the issues among young people.

Adeyemi, who also spoke at the event, said he was heartened by the public response: “It never occurred to me that I could craft a film that would be shown in Parliament and affect people’s view of society. And the story’s not nearly over yet. Sodiq’s appeal is yet to be heard. It is a work in progress. An unfinished story... ”

NFTS Head of Documentary Direction Dick Fontaine said: “It’s immensely encouraging that the passionate commitment of a brilliant young filmmaker who is so intimately involved in this deeply troubling case of ‘joint enterprise’ is being listened to by politicians.”

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Pictured above: Diane Abbott, MP, with Adeyemi at the screening.