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.


Work placements on ITV’s ‘Downton Abbey’, BBC film ‘The Whale’ in Malta, BFI’s short film ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’

Sargent-Disc has announced the new Sargent-Disc Scholarship for two NFTS students on the Production Management for Film and Television diploma starting in September 2013 for two years. Apply for the course before the June 6 course deadline.

The scholarship is being established in recognition of the importance of this key production department and to support the training of talented individuals - demonstrating the commitment Sargent-Disc has to the UK industry (the company provides integrated payroll and residuals, accounting and software services for the entertainment industry and is also the European distributor of international industry standard software).

Students on the NFTS Production Management diploma course have recently enjoyed work experience placements on productions as diverse as the BBC/Discovery film The Whale; Keeping up with the Joneses, a British Film Institute short film starring Maxine Peake, and on the critically acclaimed ITV hit Downton Abbey.

One month of the Production Management course is spent on work placements, which not only provide valuable contacts, but also opportunities for paid work during or after the course.

Keith Abela first started working in film as a runner on the French feature film Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia. He also worked as a Production Assistant on World War Z and the Sky series Sinbad before specialising in Production Management at the NFTS. Studying on this course gave him the opportunity to work for five weeks as Trainee Assistant Director on the much-anticipated BBC One/Discovery epic feature film The Whale, shot on location in Malta and at the Mediterranean Film Studios. The coming-of-age adventure film starring Robin Hood actor Jonas Armstrong is based on the experiences of cabin boy Thomas Nickerson on the ship The Essex, which inspired the classic novel Moby Dick. 

Keith said it was an eye-opening experience: “It was an amazing opportunity to be so close to the HoDs and see them working. It was great to be on set and see how they make decisions and problem solve.“

Gina Marsh, Line Producer of The Whale said having an NFTS student on the crew was a positive experience: “Keith was an absolute delight and threw himself into the production. It was a very happy production and he was an important part of the team. No doubt he'll be joining me on another production at some point. Thanks for training him up so well and sending him to us!”

Before coming to NFTS, student Maria Salcher worked on large-scale fashion events such as London Fashion Week. Her five-week placement as Production Co-ordinator on the BFI short film Keeping Up With the Joneses, included six days shooting on location with the Bafta-award winning actress Maxine Peake and gave her an opportunity to work closely with the Producer Megan Stuart-Wallace.

“I learned so much about how to work with big actors, working with a small production team and on a small budget. The NFTS training gave me the confidence to go beyond my comfort zone and take on a range of roles – making myself useful. As a result, I benefitted from a breadth of experience,” says Maria.

Student Síle Jane Culley came to the NFTS after experience on low-budget films in Ireland. She found her time spent on the set of Downton Abbey very rewarding: “It’s a massive production involving helicopter shots, a big crew and cast and all the excitement of being filming on location at a historic building. It gave me a real insight into working on large-scale productions and I saw a well-gelled crew in action. The NFTS course enabled me to slip into the crew confidently and raised my ambition; I definitely want to work in high-end TV drama now.”

Other work placements included the Moli Films feature film Montana; the BFI SciFi 48hr Challenge – produced by Alexandra Breed and directed by Michael Earnest. Students also worked with Origin Pictures, Bedlam Productions, Endemol, StudioCanal, Passion Pictures, Academy Films and All 3 Media.

Don’t miss out on your chance to join the NFTS’ Production Management diploma course. Apply before June 6, 2013. A £5,000 Northern Ireland Screen scholarship available to a successful applicant from Northern Ireland. To find out more about our scholarships and bursaries here

Pictured: Crew on location for the BBC in Malta, filming The Whale

Games Design and Digital Effects students pioneer latest technology

Oculus Rift 3D virtual reality headset used


Year 2 students on the NFTS' Games Design and Development MA recently wow’d the audience at a presentation of their innovative games projects, which included a demo of the Oculus Rift (3D virtual reality headset) - hailed as "the future of gaming."

The Oculus Rift is a headset through which the player enjoys a completely immersed first person 3D view of a game environment. Prototypes of the Rift have only been made available to select developers and the full consumer device will not be released until well into next year.

Year 2 Games Design and Development student Albert Bentall is using the Oculus Rift to envelop the player in a dream-like narrative experience for his graduation game project- the Sandman - which explores ideas around mortality, the subconscious and the transformative journeys within a sleeping child's mind.

NFTS Head of Games Jon Weinbren said: “While most developers are excited about the Oculus Rift's potential in traditional First Person Shooter games, Albert's project uses the technology in a less obvious and much more interesting way. Throughout the department we're not just embracing new technology; we’re always looking for ways to push things forward creatively. In other work we've developed our own new pipelines for character performance and facial expression using new tools and techniques whenever the current tech doesn't work the way we would like it to."

Other Games students’ projects cover a wide range of game play and narrative styles, including Richard Cridford - 'Starrworld' (Working Title); Alexander MacLeod's 'Voice Of The Silent Land'; Richard Metson and Pontus Schonberg's 'Off Grid' (Working Title) and Bojan Brbora's '4PM'.

You can watch a Showreel of their Games projects in progress here. They’ll showcase their projects at trade and consumer events in the autumn. 

“There’s an imaginative spark and strong narrative to all of our Games projects,” adds Jon Weinbren. “The caliber of their work is also a credit to the collaborations with students on other NFTS courses such as Screenwriting, Sound Design, Composing and Production Design.”

Students on this course have come from diverse backgrounds ranging from theatre directing, philosophy, physics, psychology, architecture, television and cinematography. There are a few spaces left on the Games Design & Digital Effects Open Day at the NFTS on 29th May.

Don't miss out on your chance to join the Games Design and Development MA, the Digital Effects MA and other courses - apply before the June 6, 2013 deadline.

(Pictured is student Albert Bentall with NFTS Director Nik Powell trying out the Oculus Rift headset)


For the first time, Digital FX students on this year's Take One Painting project were trained to use 3D scanning technology in the VFX pipeline; something which is increasingly prevalent in the industry as a whole. 3D scanning broadly divides into two sectors:

To create precise and complete 3D computer models of spaces, places, locations and sets there is increasing use of LIght Detection And Ranging or LIDAR scanning technology. These 3D scanners use lasers to bombard the scene, capturing millions of individual measurements that precisely map out the exact geometry of the environment used within the filming. Applications of this LIDAR data range from simple camera tracking and match moving through to highly-detailed photorealistic 3D CGI.  

The second application of advanced measurement technology in VFX has been termed Cyber scanning. This involves the use of 3D scanners to precisely measure and model people and props. These digital characters, known as ‘digi-doubles’, and props are then used in high end CGI animation in which the digital and live action elements are seamlessly blended.

All of this 3D technology has become commonplace in virtually all modern movie production, not just in the myriad, effects laden, blockbuster films such as Iron Man 3 or Thor 2, but also in the more subtle period drams such as Great Expectations and Les Miserables.

NFTS Head of DFX, John Rowe, commented, “We are extremely grateful to Duncan Lees and 4DMax for making this happen. The students have benefitted tremendously from using state of the art techniques very early on in their DFX MA course. It sets the bar high and encourages them to explore and understand the very latest VFX techniques.”

Following a more traditional SFX route, the DFX MA students also understand how pyrotechnics are used for a variety of explosive effects! As part of their training in pyrotechnics, students last year had the opportunity to work under the supervision of instructor Richard Conway (28 days, Indiana and the Temple of Doom) to explode a Saab 9-3 convertible car, and film it at high speed (slow-motion). This popular video of the car exploding has attracted over 33,000 website hits so far. 

“Despite being a Digital FX MA it is vital that our students understand the design and creation of practical special fx," said John Rowe. "Understanding practical SFX is very much a core part of the FX courses we run at the NFTS, and will continue to be so, as it allows our students to be fully conversant with using both digital VFX and practical SFX in the storytelling process. It’s also fantastic fun!”

Over eight years, nearly all (95%) of the DFX graduates have gone straight into the film and television industry. Here’s what some of the DFX Alumni have to say about this course.

"If I hadn't been to the NFTS, I would never have...worked on over half a billion dollars worth of movies! My time at the NFTS has allowed me to work with the highest echelons of film makers.”James Osborne  DPP Grad. 2007 Credits include: The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian; The Chronicles of Narnio: Voyage of the Dawn Treader;Jack The Giant Slayer; I Give It A Year.

"If I hadn't been to the NFTS I wouldn't now be a co-owner of one of the most successful prosthetic and creature effects companies in the UK. The School guided me towards a career so amazing that I thought it only possible in dreams; I'm still pinching myself!” Kate Walshe, SFX/VFX GRAD. 2007 Credits include: Doctor Who; The Wolfman; Being Human.

“If I hadn't been to the NFTS, I  would never have got a Job in the biggest European VFX house, and got to work on BAFTA, VES and Oscar winning Films. I would also not have been able to stick an axe in the back of a zombies face, so its win win!" John Seru, SFX/VFX GRAD. 2007 3D Artist/Sequence Leader Double Negative. Credits include: Skyfall; Total Recall; Captain Americ: The First Avenger; Inception; Kick Ass

Don’t miss out on your chance to apply for the Digital effects MA course –Apply before the June 6 deadline.

NFTS wins full house at the RTS Student Awards

School wins more prizes and nominations than any other college

NFTS students and tutors have been celebrating winning a full house at the Royal Television Society Student Awards (RTS) with students winning all four of the post-graduate prizes - plus four other NFTS films nominated.

• The Mass of Men won Post Graduate Fiction

Newton’s Law won Post Graduate Entertainment

The Betrayal won Post Graduate Factual

Head Over Heels won Post Graduate Animation

The RTS is Britain’s leading forum for television and related media and its prestigious awards attracted competition from 381 films submitted by 75 colleges across the country. The NFTS won in all of its categories – more than any other college in the UK.

Speaking after the awards ceremony at the Barbican in London, NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees who have both gained well-deserved recognition from the industry’s and made the School proud." 

The films' success relied on support from the skills of students on many other courses including Digital Effects, Production Design and Sound Recording.Don’t miss out on your chance to join one of these and other award-winning film, television and animation courses. Apply before the June and July deadlines

We offer generous Scholarships and Bursaries including a NEW Scholarship from Zodiak Media for students on the NFTS Television Producing and Directing course just announced.

The NFTS Winners:

Postgraduate Animation Winner: Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly and Team National Film and Television School

“A genuinely moving film using a simple metaphor to explore a relationship. The lack of dialogue is one of the film’s main strengths, as it drew us closer to the characters, empathising with their story.”

Also Nominated

Buy Buy Baby – Gervais Merryweather, Sarah Senior and Henry Lambourne National Film and Television School.

Postgraduate Entertainment Winner: Newton's Law – Sean O'Riordan and Team National Film and Television School

“Great initial concept with ambition and genuine pure entertainment. With good design and advanced technical knowledge this was a really watchable gameshow that made all the jury excited about how this could be developed.”

Also Nominated

Doubt on Loan – Ian Aryeh-Thompson and Team National Film and Television School.

Postgraduate Factual Winner: The Betrayal – Karen Winther and Team National Film and Television School

“A remarkable and unsentimental personal journey back into a deeply troubled past that was both highly compelling and moving. It was told with an integrity of style and direction, allowing the gradual unfolding of a narrative that gripped the viewer.”

Also Nominated:

One More Kiss – Chris Christodoulou, James Taylor, James Morgan and Gautier Galard National Film and Television School.

Postgraduate Fiction Winner: The Mass of Men – Gabriel Gauchet, Rungano Nyoni, Emily Morgan and Team National Film and Television School.

“The jury described this film as shocking in a good way, something they couldn’t stop watching. The minute you thought you knew where it was going it switched direction. Fantastic performances in a brilliant Kafka-esque, shocking and disturbing film.”

Also Nominated:

Skyborn – Jamie Stone, Len Rowles and Team National Film and Television School

Congratulations also to Nick Rowland, one of our Year 1 Directing Fiction MA students who won the Undergraduate Award for Fiction for his film Dancing in the Ashes made at the Arts University at Bournemouth.

NEW Warner Bros, Zodiak Media & Sargent-Disc Scholarships announced

Apply now for these and other generous scholarships & bursaries

Do you aspire to become a world-class professional in the film, television or games industry and have the talent to match your enthusiasm?

At the NFTS we believe that great talent shouldn't be held back by fees, which is why we provide a range of scholarships and bursaries - thanks to the generousity of benefactors such as Warner Bros. who have just announced a new scholarship of up to £10,000 for MA courses starting in 2014, Zodiak Media who have announced a new £10,800 scholarship for students on the Producing and Directing Television Entertainment MA course and Sargent-Disc who have announced a new scholarship for two students on the Production Management diploma course.

Sargent-Disc - which provides integrated payroll and residuals, accounting and software services for the entertainment industry and is also the European distributor of international industry standard software – Movie Magic Budgeting, Movie Magic Scheduling and Vista Accounting - has announced the new Sargent-Disc Scholarship for two NFTS students on the Production Management diploma starting in September 2013 for two years.

The scholarship is being established in recognition of the importance of this key production department and to support the training of talented individuals - demonstrating the commitment Sargent-Disc has to the UK industry. 

Laurence Sargent, Director, Sargent-Disc said ‘The NFTS and its students make a massive contribution to the long term health of the British film industry and we wanted to recognise its efforts in achieving excellence, and to encourage talented individuals to train to become high calibre Production Managers."

Leading independent TV company Zodiak Media has just agreed a two year sponsorship arrangement with the NFTS marking the beginning of a new partnership between the two organisations. Their first scholarship to be awarded in Autumn 2013.

David G. Croft, Head of Television Entertainment, NFTS said: “I am delighted that Zodiak Media, a leading force in the global TV marketplace, is investing in the talented Producing & Directing students of the Television Entertainment department here at the NFTS. This scholarship will help us attract talented students for whom the fees might otherwise have been a barrier.”

The Warner Bros. scholarship is part of the company's Creative Talent programme which will support the next generation of UK creative industries’ talent with scholarships attached to work placements and mentoring, apprenticeships and training courses, giving young people of all backgrounds invaluable industry experience and insight across Warner Bros.’ UK film, TV, games and theatre operations.

NFTS is one of a small number of higher education institutions to have been specially selected in the UK. The scholarship will provide a contribution to course fees, a short paid placement within the Warner Bros. group of companies or our associates, a mentor within the business, invitations to attend Warner Bros. Creative Talent master classes and opportunities to network and collaborate with fellow members of the Warner Bros. Creative Talent Season and to meet WB staff.

Warner Bros. Creative Talent is part of Warner Bros.’ long-term commitment to the UK’s creative industries, which has seen significant, recent investment in Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden; in TV production company, Shed Media; in leading video games companies Rocksteady Studios and TT Games; in Soho post-production house, De Lane Lea; in the forthcoming West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; and in Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

Nik Powell, Director, NFTS said, “We’re excited to be working with Warner Bros. on this new scholarship because, as well as financial assistance, it will provide a work placement and additional networking opportunities that will be invaluable to our students as they embark on their future careers in film and television.”

Josh Berger CBE, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland & Spain, speaking at the recent launch of Warner Bros. Creative Talent said: “As we continue to make more films, TV shows, video games and stage plays here, as well as investing in state-of-the-art studios, we will be calling upon the very best talent the country has to offer. To that end, it is crucially important to us to invest in the next generation, so that we not only have a diverse pool of exceptional talent to work with, but that we also play our part in maintaining the UK’s position as a global creative industries leader.”

The NFTS provides a range of generous scholarships and bursaries with support from of other benefactors, such as the Leverhulme Trust that offers £100,000 a year to students who can’t afford the fees. 

And we’re very excited to have a £5000 Northern Ireland Screen Scholarship available for successful Northern Ireland applicants for the one-year Production Management diploma course at NFTS. The course starts in September 2013 and the application deadline is 6th June.

In 2012, the NFTS was able to offer students from all over the world 61 scholarships from 35 separate donors totaling £331,500 and bursary support of £322,835. And 85% of UK students received financial support because we believe investing in behind-the-camera talent today will guarantee a successful British film industry tomorrow.

So if you’ve got talent and ambition don’t let the fees hold you back. Apply now before the June + July deadlines for the courses are on our site here:

NFTS launches new Animation course with Aardman

3 month Certificate in Character Animation will be led by Aardman Head of Animation Loyd Price

The NFTS  has launched a new animation course in partnership with Aardman Animations.

The exciting new three-month Certificate in Character Animation course will be taught by industry professionals, including main tutors Loyd Price, Head of Animation at Aardman (Nightmare before Christmas, Chicken Run, The Curse of the WereRabbit, Flushed Away and Pirates!​In an Adventure with Scientists) and Mathew Rees, Supervising Senior CG Animator (commercials for clients such as Serta, Chevron, British Gas, Hershey’s as well as work on Pirates!).

Loyd Price said: “The UK is very much a powerhouse of animation at the moment. Our continued success at Aardman and that of others such as the NFTS means that people are travelling to the UK from all over the world to learn our style of stop frame and CG animation. We’d like to build on that success by developing home-grown talent to work in this exciting entertainment industry.” 

The Bristol based studio has enjoyed continued popularity at both the box office and the Academy Awards. It has won four Oscars and had 10 Oscar nominations including the animated feature film Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists which was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film this year. 

The stop-frame animated NFTS'  film Head over Heels was nominated for Best Short Animation this year – the only film school nominated for an Oscar in 2013. The School’s stop-frame animated film – Miss Todd – has just been selected as a winner in the Oscar qualifying 2013 student Academy Awards (a competition it has previously won 5 times!) and its charcoal animated film Magnificent Lion Boy is the only UK film school film in Cinéfondation at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Nik Powell, NFTS Director said: “We’re looking for applicants with a real passion for animation to join this flagship course." 

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director of Curriculum and Registrar added: "This course will give participants a chance in a life-time opportunity to train with Aardman animators and gain the highest level of animation skills that can help them get jobs in this growing industry.”

The 12 –week intensive course will take place at Aardman’s Bristol headquarters and provide the core practical skills needed to become professional animators. The majority of the course is practical with participants working on animation exercises to improve their skills, knowledge and experience. This will also be supported by animation theory. It culminates in a short character animation sequence - pre-planned and boarded - to showcase the skills learnt during the course.

Don't miss out - Apply for the Certificate in Character Animation course with Aardman by Friday 21st June, 2013. Apply for our MA in Directing Animation before the deadline of July 11th, 2013.

Television BAFTA wins for 3 NFTS graduates

Key roles for others on 6 BAFTA-winning programmes.

NFTS Graduates proved to be big winners at the British Academy Television Awards with three graduates winning BAFTAs and a further 8 being involved in key roles on BAFTA-winning programmes.

Directing Fiction graduate Aisling Walsh and Screenwriting graduate Amanda Coe won Best Mini-series for their work on Room at the Top adapted from the novel by John Braine and broadcast on BBC4.

Directing Documentary graduate Alison Millar (pictured above) went on to win Best Current Affairs for her film The Shame of the Catholic Church part of the ‘This World’ series and produced by BBC Northern Ireland.

HBO’s Game of Thrones won the BAFTA Audience Award; among our graduates on the series are William Quinn (Sound FX Recordist), Max Berman (Concept Artist) and Emmy-winning cinematographer David Katznelson BSC has recently shot some of season three.

The BAFTA for Best Single Documentary went to 7/7: One Day in London which featured Producing graduate Hussain Ahmed as its Production Co-ordinator.

The BAFTAs for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor were taken home by Ben Whishaw and Simon Russell Beale respectively for their work on The Hollow Crown trilogy. NFTS Sound graduate Adrian Rhodes won the BAFTA for Best Sound for his work on The Hollow Crown at the BAFTA Craft Awards earlier in the month.

Olivia Coleman won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Accused (Mo’s Story), which features the work of graduate Stuart Hilliker who was nominated for Best Sound at the BAFTA Craft Awards earlier in the month.

BAFTA gave the Award for Best Sports and Live Event to the Channel 4 team of The London 2012 Paralympic Games, on which NFTS graduate Abigail Dankwa participated as Stage Manager for the Closing Ceremony. The team, which included many reporters and presenters with disabilities, were trained by thinkBIGGER! using NFTS facilities as part of a bespoke Short Course

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This again shows the range of talent coming out of the NFTS and how NFTS graduates are taking up key roles in BAFTA winning television and film productions. Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees."

Other recent graduates nominated for awards include 2013 Directing Animation MA graduate Ana Caro and her crew whose charcoal animated film The Magnificent Lion Boy is in Cinefondacion at the Cannes Film Festival and Director Kristina Yee's stop-frame animated film Miss Todd has just  been selected as a winner in the Oscar-qualifying Student Academy Awards.

Don't miss out - apply for our award-winning courses before June 6, 2013 and you could be following in the footsteps on our BAFTA-sinning Alumni.

The deadline to apply for our documentary directing short course SummerDocs in partnership with DocHouse is May 23. 

World premieres for Two NFTS Films at Sheffield Doc/Fest

31 NFTS graduates play key roles in 11 films at UK's most important documentary festival

Two of our 2013 Directing Documentaries graduates’ films - Sodiq directed by Adeyemi Michael (pictured above) and Boys directed by Marc Williamson - will both have their World Premieres at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival in June.

This festival is recognised as one the most important documentary festivals so it is a huge achievement to have films from two out of eight of our 2013 graduates selected in the student section. The announcement was made at a London press conference by Festival Director Heather Croall and Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhay and the Doc/Fest Awards will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on June16.

Congratulating both directors, NFTS Head of Documentaries Dick Fontaine said the films were both significant achievements.

The first version of Sodiq was made by Adeyemi Michael when he was 19. It features his friend from a London housing estate called Sodiq Adeojo, then aged 14, and the football team they started to keep younger boys out of trouble with gangs. At that time Sodiq’s ambition was to become a lawyer. That film got  Adeyemi into the NFTS. The final version of the film catches up with Sodiq 5 years later and finds that while Adeyemi has graduated, Sodiq is serving 30 years in prison convicted under the law of joint enterprise for murder. The film questions how this happened.

Dick Fontaine said: “The film Sodiq represents a tragic landmark in the young life of London teenager Sodiq Adeojo, as well as a landmark for the NFTS filmmaker, Adeyemi Michael, who was his friend and mentor. “This is a moving and uniquely personal film about the tragic outcomes of so many young men of African heritage in our society, which has also been shown at the House of Commons to inform the crucial debate about how to transform the lives of young people in the inner cities.”

Sodiq Director Adeyemi said: "We are proud as a team that our efforts to say something that we feel is important is having its World premiere at one of the top documentary film festivals in the world to an international audience. Being at Sheffield Doc/Fest will help to speak to many more people about the tragic loss of young people's lives caught up in gang culture."

Marc Williamson's film Boys follows the lives of two children at a school for boys with behavior problems. Dick Fontaine said it was a real achievement for Marc who was only able to make the film due to trust he gained from the staff, parents and students.

“This trust resulted in an extraordinarily intimate and moving portrait of two of these young men through intense observation without interviews or intervention. For an emerging filmmaker to achieve this in a short time is a real achievement,” he added.

Boys Director Marc Williamson has now partnered with Minnow Films and is in discussions with Channel 4 about making an hour-long film at the school.

Marc said: “We're delighted to premier at Sheffield Docs Festival and that there's been such a positive reaction to the film. We think its a very important and often misunderstood subject and are really pleased that it will have the chance to reach a wider audience.”

(Pictured is a still from the film 'Sodiq')

Don't miss out of your chance to join the documentary making short course SummerDocs in partnership with DocHouse. APPLY BEFORE THE MAY 23, 2013, DEADLINE

List of Alumni involved in Sheffield Docs Fest.

The Act of Killing- Editor Charlotte Munch Bengtsen; Co-Editor Ariadna Fatjo-Vilas
Bravehearts - Producer Tone Grøttjord
Mirage Men - Director John Lundberg; DoP Zillah Bowes; Sound Recordist Emma Meaden
The Moo Man - Composer Stephen Daltry
The Murder Workers - Composer Miguel d'Oliveira
Rafea: Solar Mama - Sound Editor/Mixer Adrian Rhodes
Salma - Director/Producer/Camera Kim Longinotto; Sound Recordist Sara Lima
The Stuart Hall Project - Editor Nse Asuquo
Reindeer - [Short] Director Eva Weber; Editor Fiona DeSouza
Sodiq - [NFTS] Director/Producer/DoP Adeyemi Michael; Additional DoP Robin Whenary; Production Manager Derek von Sternick; Editor Carmela Iandoli; 
Sound Recordists Thomas Marwick; Vytas Kizala & JJ Benson; Title Sequence Adam Arnot; 
Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Tom Lock Griffiths; Composer Matt Kelly; 
Online Editor/Grade Kevin McDonald; Motion Graphics Ram Tripathib (current student)
Boys - [NFTS] Director/Producer/DoP Marc Williamson; Editor Johannes Bock; Production Manager Georgia Orwell; 
Sound Recordist Amee Simpson; Sound Designer/Dubbing Mixer Peter Warnock; 
Composer Finn McNicholas; Online Editor/Grade Ruochen Wang; Producer Emma Lamont

“Fear is a Great Motivator” Says BAFTA-Winning Director Joe Wright

Atonement, Anna Karenina, Hanna and Pride and Prejudice director gives NFTS Masterclass

British Director Joe Wright, whose films include the multi Oscar & BAFTA nominated Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, for which he won a BAFTA, action thriller Hanna and his inventive adaptation of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina which was nominated for 4 Oscars and 6 BAFTAs gave a candid and inspiring Masterclass at the NFTS.

“I consider myself a student of film, the day I stop learning I’ll give up and take up, I don’t know… rose cultivation,” said Joe Wright speaking in conversation with film director Corin Hardy to the packed audience of student film makers.

His films have been praised for their beauty, inventiveness and modern reworkings of classic novels such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. “Joe Wright…has given Austen's novel a beguilingly youthful spin without compromising the novel's late-eighteenth-century manners," said one film critic. “An extraordinary film, a visual treat and an emotional rollercoaster,”said another critic about his adaptation of Anna Karenina. “If anyone was worried Tolstoy’s world might be too intense or outdated for modern audiences, they can rest assured: this is a very modern piece of film-making indeed.”

Talking to students at the NFTS about the famous long single shot with no cuts through the ballroom in Pride and Prejudice, in Joe Wright explained “…the medium of film is about time, I like the idea of the single shot, there’s no trickery. And it’s really good fun and gets the crew excited.”

For his film Atonement starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy - described as "…as beautiful as it is thought-provoking and soulful" – Joe Wright explained how he gained the stunning shot on Dunkirk beach with 1000 extras as WWI soliders. He only had three hours to get the shot, because of the tide coming in – but he still took time to talk personally to each of the extras so they understood what their character was there for in the story.

“Our primary job as a director, before sound, before image, before anything, is to work with the actors and try and realise the best in them,” he said.

The first 2 takes “were rubbish”, the third take is the one used in the film. They tried for a 4th but didn’t get it in time. “It was an incredible day; one of those days you get to the end of and think you won’t see the like of this again.”

His 2011 high adrenaline action film Hanna was a departure from the classics that was widely praised for its visual mastery. “Joe Wright demonstrates a savant-like mastery of visual film language with a mercenary skill focused on making you feel exactly what he wants,” said one film journalist. “An ultra-modern, über-cool original action adventure infused with elements from fairy tales and video games and choreographed to a thumping Chemical Brothers soundtrack,” said another.

Explaining how he chose his films, Joe Wright said he took the good advice his agent who said: “If there’s a project you feel like you know a secret about, a way only you could tell that story – that’s the one you should do…If I’m not scared by a project then I think there’s something wrong. Fear is a great motivator. One should confront one’s fears. Or at least I should.”

Asked by students what inspired him as a film-maker, he replied: “I try to keep my eyes open in life, to see the drama and the beauty and the poetry around me and that’s what informs my films. I try and work with people who have that sense of wonder and innocence. Cynicism is the death of creativity.”

The Joe Wright Masterclass came just a week after a Masterclass with the great Italian Director Bernardo Bertolucci and another with the award-winning British Director Peter Strickland.

Sign Up For Summer School

Learn to Direct and join the roll call of graduates who’ve gone on to work in film and television

Don’t miss out on these two Summer courses that will give you the skills you need for a successful career in Directing film and television taught by world-acclaimed tutors.


Apply before May 23 deadline for our 10 week Summer Docs in partnership with DocHouse course and you could follow in the footsteps of Vanessa Stockley who later graduated from the NFTS and has had her documentaries broadcast on the BBC2 strand Wonderland and Channel 4's series First Cut (Emma and Ben, Can We Get Maried, The Kids who Play with Fire, Soldier Girls on the Road to Afghanistan).

This is one of the world's best dedicated documentary courses and is led by our award-winning Head of Documentary Dick Fontaine who was one of the founders of the Granada TV World in Action documentary strand and has made over 40 films including the acclaimed James Baldwin: I Heard it Through the Grapevine and Beat This! A Hip Hop History. His recent film BBC2 co-produced film Sonny Rollins Beyond the Notes was nominated for a Grierson award in 2012 and he has a retrospective of his music films in Brazil in May 2013.

The course involves:

• documentary storytelling, including masterclasses with some of the country's leading practitioners in the art of creative documentary

• viewing of classic and difficult-to-obtain documentaries from the DocHouse's unique collection of international documentary films

• guidance in the basics of shooting on location, clearances and legal and ethical issues

• technical training in camera, sound and editing techniques

• individual tutorials with award-winning filmmakers to help you develop and shape your ideas

Course dates: Thursday 4th July 2013 - Friday 6th September 2013

Deadline for applications is 23 May 2013

To apply, send your application form together with a one-page proposal for the film you want to make to


And there’s still time to send in your CV’s to to be added to the reserve list for the popular Directors’ Series starting Monday, 29 July - Friday, 23 August, 2013.

This four-week script-to-screen intensive directing course is currently oversubscribed but, as many of our applicants are freelancers, we anticipate last minute withdrawals due to work commitments.

Past participants include Dana-Lee Mierowsky who went on to direct long-running TV hit series Neighbours and Uzanenkosi Mahlangu who made the thought-provoking, award-winning South African TV series, Intersexions and has recently signed a three-project Hollywood film deal. Other graduates include Rob Hackett, award winning short film and music promo director, who is currently developing his first feature and Andrew Carolan who is working in TV directing prime time series such as Geordie Shore, Young Pioneers and The Gadget Show.

This course will give you the creative confidence to realise your film and is limited to 8 participants. It gives you exceptional opportunities to practice your technique and have 1-2-1 access to our tutors, not to mention a raft of industry personnel. Using professional actors and crew as well as specially constructed sets, you will have the opportunity to rehearse actors, direct a full crew, and most importantly, receive running feedback on your work.