David Lean Foundation praised for supporting the NFTS

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey ‘saluted’ the National Film and Television School and the David Lean Foundation

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey ‘saluted’ the National Film and Television School and the David Lean Foundation , which has previously donated £1million to the school to support up and coming British film-makers. Speaking last night at the NFTS’ annual Stars of Tomorrow, hosted by BAFTA, the Minister highlighted the importance of inward investment into the UK’s film industry and praised the Foundation for its long-term financial support.

Mr Vaizey said: “It is important to remember the massive investment made by the Film and Television industry in this country and we will continue to support this through tax breaks. David Lean has set an inspirational benchmark of quality filmmaking for many generations of British film makers, and the support the David Lean Foundation has provided to the NFTS has been instrumental in identifying and nurturing new and emerging talent. It's a wonderful example of how industry and others can assist the next generation in accessing centres of excellence like the NFTS."

The Foundation has provided £1million funding over the past 10 years to provide 48 student scholarships, first class teachers from the film industry, such as Stephen Frears and maintain the library, which is a repository of the country’s greatest film-makers’ work.

Nik Powell, Director the National Film and Television School said: “We are immensely grateful for the support from the David Lean Foundation. The funding has been the life-blood of the school and fundamental to the school’s success. David Lean’s legacy can be seen not only in the wealth of Oscar winning films that he produced and directed but in the immense wealth of creative talent that his foundation has helped to develop over the years.”

'The Stars of Tomorrow’ event presented some of the NFTS’s best new films and TV shows produced by students and graduates. This year it included the film Head Over Heels, which was selected for the Cinéfondation Selection at Cannes and won the major audience award at Hiroshima International Festival this week; Gasp which was nominated for the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Palm D'Or; Paranoid which won the Firefox Flicks competition awarded at Cannes Film Festival; Newton's Law TV show which has been optioned by Warner Brothers; Mass of Men which this month won the Golden Leopard at Locarno; and Volume whose director Mahalia Belo is one of Screen International's official 2012 Stars of Tomorrow.

David Lean Foundation Trustee Anthony Reeves says: “Almost all of the royalties from David Lean’s films enable the Foundation to support excellence in screenplay writing, film direction and editing and the arts principally by providing grants to NFTS, BAFTA, BFI and Royal Academy of Arts.  The Foundation is delighted with the progress of the numerous “David Lean scholars” who have graduated in recent years from NFTS.”

David Lean worked as an editor at the NFTS and was one of the founding members of the British Film Academy (later the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA) and was appointed its first chairman in 1947. He is best remembered for big-screen epics The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984); for bringing Charles Dickens' novels to the silver screen with films such as Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948); and for the renowned romantic drama Brief Encounter (1945). Many of these films have been recently restored and are part of the BFI archives.

Graduate named UKs Hottest Director

NFTS Directing Fiction Graduate, Yann Demange, tops Industry Hot List

NFTS graduate Yann Demange has just been named Hottest Director in the UK by Broadcast Magazine in their yearly Hot 100 List.

He certainly deserves it. Since graduating in 2006, he has directed Secret Diary of a Call Girl; BAFTA-nominated Dead Set (written by Charlie Brooker); 5-part BBC series Criminal Justice, receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Director; and four-part series Top Boy, for Channel 4, which won Best Drama Series at the Royal Television Society Awards, and got him nominated again for Best Director at the BAFTAs. With this impressive list of credits after only a few years of leaving the NFTS, it is no surprise that Broadcast have picked him out as the hottest director in the UK.

Our recent graduates haven’t gone unnoticed either. Broadcast also picked out 2012 Producing & Directing TV Entertainment graduate Sean O’Riordan and 2011 Screenwriting graduate Francesca Gardiner as Broadcast Hotshots 2012. Sean was noticed when his graduation TV Entertainment pilot Newton’s Law won the New York TV Festival prize for Best Original Pilot – and he became the first student and first UK entrant to win the prize. Sean now has his pilot optioned by Warner Brothers and we are excited to see what lies ahead for him in the coming months. Mark Robson (previously executive producer at Fresh One and Disney commented “I am both impressed by, and envious of, the quality of Newton’s Law”, and described Sean as “exceptional”.

Francesca Gardiner has recently worked with Frank Spotnitz (X-Files) on his new BBC1 drama Hunted. He wrote that as well as her possessing “incredible drive and clarity of purpose”, “Francesca has such a great work ethic. She will go very, very far”. Alongside Director Afarin Eghbal, Francesca co-wrote the NFTS graduation animation film Abuelas, a film about Argentinian grandmothers and their ongoing search for their missing grandchildren. It has won many awards, received a BAFTA nomination and has got her noticed in the Industy. It seems she is jumping at every opportunity given, as she has been offered the chance to write her own episode of Hunted when the second series goes into production.

Read the Broadcast Hot 100 supplement
Read the Broadcast Hotshots 2012 supplement

NFTS EPCRI Course Launched

Lord Puttnam says EPCRI course will provide a vital launchpad for entrepreneurs

Lord Puttnam warns the UK could be caught ‘asleep at the wheel’ during the digital ‘revolution’ unless it wakes up to opportunities in the creative industries.

Eminent British film producer Lord Puttnam has warned that the UK risks being ‘caught asleep at the wheel’ during the digital revolution unless it stimulates entrepreneurship and job creation in the creative industries. Among many other films, Lord Puttnam produced the Oscar-winning (1981) Olympic-themed film Chariots of Fire which was re-released earlier this month in cinemas and on Blu ray and has been turned into a West End theatre production.

Speaking on July 25 at the launch of the world’s first Entrepreneurial Producing diploma for the Creative Industries, run by the NFTS and supported by Ingenious Media, Lord Puttnam told an audience of entrepreneurs from across Film, TV, Music, Games, Theatre, Publishing, Online, that the course had a vital to role to play in ensuring that the UK responded to the opportunities and challenges of the digital revolution:

“It is vital that people such as yourselves retain an understanding of the developing technologies that drive your markets as well as the simple economics. Had we in the UK really focused on those digital skills and entrepreneurship two decades ago, we might now be in a position to generate the type of growth in jobs and revenue we so desperately need.”

A recent report on UK film from the British Video Association indicated that just over 12% of the revenues in the video/DVD window were from digital rental or retail. This is one indicator of changing patterns of consumption which are transforming the creative industries across the world. With this in mind, Lord Puttnam said the UK risked missing opportunities in Asia and elsewhere around the world: “Just looking at the broadband speeds available in some of the more affluent areas of Asia, such as Singapore or South Korea, you begin to get a sense of the direction in which things are heading and the nature of the opportunity that’s opened up.”

He added : “I’d argue that we have focused far too much on supporting and protecting subsidies for the supply-side of production, and nothing like enough on growth of the demand-side – particularly beyond our European boundaries.
If anything we’ve developed something of that same ‘soup kitchen’ mentality that’s bedevilled much of the European industry for the past forty or so years.”

He underlined the way in which much greater development of entrepreneurial skills was imperative if the UK is maintain its competitiveness in the face of massive change: “In fact, it is my belief that we have reached a Radio Caroline moment. This is the type of political societal shift in which mainstream attitudes find themselves having fallen badly behind what’s probably best described as ‘the cultural zeitgeist. The reality is that consumer behaviour has changed and unless we find ways to effectively exploit these new digital platforms then the overall revenues available to us will continue to shrink. We need every scrap of entrepreneurship available to us."

Comparing the UK to the United States, Lord Puttnam called for more jobs to be created by encouraging more ‘start-up’ companies: “…(it is) what the UK should be doing, and arguably could be doing rather more easily than the U.S given the wealth of creativity and imagination we have at our disposal.”

He praised the NFTS’ new Entrepreneurial Producing diploma course, saying that it could ‘inspire’ a generation of new entrepreneurs: “It is my most sincere hope that this new (Entrepreneurial Producing) course will be a catalyst which inspires a whole series of “launch pads” right across the 7 sectors it covers.”

Patrick McKenna, whose company Ingenious Media has been a significant financier of British films, television and music over the last decade, says: “I am delighted to support this new course. Building business capacity in the UK’s cultural and creative industries is vital to our future competitiveness. We need entrepreneurs, financiers and managers who truly understand the creative process as well as business and commerce. My hope is that this course will make a significant contribution to achieving these goals.”

Nik Powell, Director of the NFTS and co-founder of Virgin and Palace Pictures, says:
“The creative industries no longer operate in restricted silos – they’re converging in exciting and innovative ways driven by the digital revolution. So whether it be the Metropolitan Opera in New York securing millions in new revenue from feeds to global cinema audiences; new online film services like MUBI reaching into countries like Poland and Turkey; the phenomenal rise of e-publishing; or disruptive technologies bubbling up in music, television and branding, this really is a brave new world and entrepreneurs need to adapt or get left behind.”

Pictured above at the course launch: NFTS Director Nik Powell, Lord Puttnam CBE, Founder & CEO of Ingenious Media Patrick McKenna, and EPCRI Course Leader Chris Auty.

For more information on the course and how to apply online, click here.

Student's Pilot TV Show to be Optioned by Warner Bros. International Television Production

“Newton's Law” optioned by studio and will screen as an Official Selection at 2012 New York Television Festival in October

July 2012: NFTS TV student Sean O’Riordan, Warner Bros. International Television Production (www.wbitvp.com) and the New York TV Festival (www.nytvf.com) announced this month that NFTS graduation TV Pilot Newton's Law as the winner of an inaugural development opportunity offered by the studio to an outstanding UK-based non-scripted format submitted to the NYTVF's annual Independent Pilot Competition.

O'Riordan's winning format – a non-scripted psychological game show (promo pic above) – earned a cash prize of $5,000 and an option deal with the studio, as well as an early bid as an Official Selection of the 2012 New York Television Festival, which is slated for October 22 – 27 in lower Manhattan.

Announced during the inaugural NYTVF London held at BAFTA's London headquarters last November, the opportunity, along with a similar deal offered by Fox TV Studios and Apostle for scripted/narrative programming, marked the first international NYTVF awards offering guaranteed development deals exclusively to producers based in the UK.

“We are grateful to Andrew Zein and everyone at WBITVP for their support of the independent television community and congratulate Sean O'Riordan on his winning submission,” said NYTVF Founder Terence Gray. “This opportunity stemmed from a genuine interest on the part of many of the NYTVF's Industry Partners to access and nurture great producing talent in the UK, and we hope this will be the first of many opportunities we can offer to producers there and around the world.”

O'Riordan, who created Newton’s Law as a graduation project while studying on the NFTS Producing and Directing TV Entertainment MA course, will have the opportunity to screen his pilot as an Official Selection at the 2012 New York Television Festival and has also earned designation as an Official Artist for the event. As an Official Artist, he will enjoy exclusive opportunities to participate in NYTVF Connect – the industry-focused artist-only track at the Festival – which includes additional development opportunities through NYTVF Pitch as well Executive Access and Artist Development Chats.

Irish-born Sean O’Riordan, aged 24, who now lives in London, said: “It has always been my dream and passion to work in television entertainment and I hope this award will help to open doors to an opportunity to become a development producer for innovative formats that include audience interactivity, not just in live shows but in recorded programmes too.”

He said he hoped this would signify a change in attitude within the television industry towards graduates by showing the high caliber of work they can produce:

“Broadcasters often seemed reluctant to take on graduates like me but I now hope they will open their eyes to the wealth of talent coming out of schools like the NFTS and start to take us more seriously by offering jobs higher up the ladder.”

“The NFTS is pretty unique – it’s the only educational institution where you get 2 years to develop an idea, the space and support to explore wacky paths and see what works while being taught by leading players in the field with great industry contacts and professional studio equipment. By the time we graduate, we know how to take an idea from development right through to production and editing at a professional level.”

David G Croft, Head of Television at the NFTS, said: “We are delighted with this news and very proud of Sean.  This is the first time that a student, or indeed anyone from the UK, has won such a prestigious award. We hope that it makes other broadcasters sit up and take notice of the high caliber of graduate work coming out of the NFTS. We are training TV Entertainment Producers and Directors of the future and giving them the opportunity to turn their Entertainment ideas – the lifeblood of the industry – into real shows. Sean O’Riordan and  Newton’s Law demonstrates that such talented graduates can compete with the professional TV industry in creating imaginative formats capable of being made for broadcast television internationally.”

NYTVF's current 2012 development roster features a record 24 guaranteed development deals from 16 partners, including exclusive opportunities for UK-based producers from  WBITVP (non-scripted) as well as Fox TV Studios, in partnership with Apostle (scripted/narrative). Other partnered initiatives include the fifth annual FOX Comedy Script Contest and the first-ever Comedy Central Short Pilot Competition as well as Unscripted Development Pipelines with A&E and Lifetime. Additionally, the NYTVF just completed the submission period for its annual Independent Pilot Competition, with guaranteed deals from partners IFC, MTV, Syfy and VH1 as well as the partnered NYTVF-Just for Laughs Sitcom Search. Semi-finalists and finalists in these and all NYTVF initiatives will be invited to participate in the 2012 New York Television Festival as Official Artists, where they will enjoy the exclusive benefits associated with NYTVF Connect, including NYTVF Pitch which is currently offering guaranteed deals from Sundance Channel, BIO Channel, Logo, Hasbro Studios, SevenOne International and Channel 4.

4 NFTS Students named Screen International Stars of Tomorrow

Graduates to to keep an eye on in the future

Screen International has picked out four NFTS graduates in its yearly list of hottest new talent - Stars of Tomorrow.

Directors Mahalia Belo and Jamie Stone, Composer Stuart Earl, and Cinematographer Annemarie Lean-Vercoe all caught the eye of the Industry magazine and it's hard not to see why.

Mahalia Belo was an award-winning filmmaker even before she joined the NFTS, and since graduating has seen her 2012 NFTS film 'Volume' get enough interest for her to develop it into a feature film. Jamie Stone's 2012 NFTS graduation film Skyborn was shortlisted for a Student Oscar, and equally has seen enough interest in it that he is now progressing with expanding it to a full-length feature. Stuart Earl on the 2009 Edinburgh Trailblazer Award and has had films he composed for shown at Cannes and Edinburgh Festivals, and seen those films win awards in the UK and abroad. Annemarie Lean-Vercoe graduated in 2003 and has gone on to work on a number of documentaries, dramas, comedies, music videos and commercials, including the promos for Coldplay's latest album Mylo Xyloto. Her latest DoP project is on the feature film 'The Girl In the Corn', directed by Laura Smith, having already worked with the director on 'Wreckers'.

We are delighted that Screen International have chosen to highlight our graduates as Stars of Tomorrow. To read the full article on their site click here.

Lynne Ramsay receives Honorary Fellowship

Lynne Ramsay and Barbara Broccoli OBE will be joining the distinguished company of NFTS honorary fellows whose achievements are an inspiration to young film and television programme-makers.

On 2nd March 2012, the National Film and Television School held its annual graduation ceremony, with Academy Award nominee and recent recipient of a BAFTA Outstanding Achievement award, John Hurt, presiding over the Graduation Ceremony and presenting certificates to the NFTS graduates. Amongst the recipients, Lynne Ramsay and Barbara Broccoli OBE were presented with Honorary Fellowships for their outstanding contribution to the British film and television industry.

Lynne Ramsay and Barbara Broccoli OBE will be joining the distinguished company of NFTS honorary fellows whose achievements are an inspiration to young film and television programme-makers. Previous recipients include Lord Attenborough CBE, David Lean CBE, Nick Park CBE, Alan Parker CBE, Jonathan Ross OBE, Ashley Pharoah, plus NFTS graduate, David Yates, Director of the final Harry Potter series of films - currently ranked as the third highest grossing film of all time.

The NFTS show, sponsored by YouTube, is a yearly event that showcases NFTS animation, documentary fiction, and TV entertainment shows to the industry. Last year, the students’ work went on to receive an Oscar nomination and won a prestigious BAFTA award. This year’s show, held at BFI on the London Southbank from 29 February - 2 March, a ‘must attend’ event for the film and television production industries, was no different. Last year’s NFTS Animation Abuelas secured a BAFTA nomination in 2012, making the NFTS the only school with a nomination in the animation short category. This is the second consecutive year that an NFTS student film has received a BAFTA nomination. Last year, NFTS student film, Until the River Runs Red, won the BAFTA Award. Documentary, The Betrayal, which was shown at this year’s NFTS Show, has already won Best Student Documentary at IDFA, the world’s largest documentary film festival and there is also interest from a number of major UK terrestrial broadcasters to secure the screening rights. Other highlights at the 2012 show were screenings in 3D.

Speaking at the ceremony John Hurt told the graduates how Noel Coward had once given him a book, signing it with the message ‘press on!’ He said that this single piece of advice is what he would pass on to them as they embarked upon their careers in the film industry.

NFTS graduate and honorary fellowship recipient, Lynne Ramsay, is an award winning film Director with a fresh and innovative voice in British independent filmmaking. Lynne Ramsay won the 1996 Cannes Prix de Jury for her graduation film, the short Small Deaths and her debut feature film, Ratcatcher (1999), won both critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Guardian New Director prize. She also won the Carl Foreman Award for Newcomer in British Film at the 2000 BAFTA Awards and her latest hit film, We Need to Talk about Kevin, received three BAFTA nominations and was recently named Best Picture at the London BFI Film Festival.

On being awarded her Honorary Fellowship Lynne Ramsay said, "Thank you to the NFTS. There is no school like you in the world! It was wonderful to be able to experiment in such a special environment and make invaluable relationships with the filmmakers I met there and still work with today."

Acclaimed film producer, Barbara Broccoli OBE, is best known for her achievements as producer of the Bond film franchise, and continues to drive the successful franchise as it enters its 50th year. Barbara has also been a long-standing personal supporter of the NFTS. In her role as Chair at First Light she also plays an important role in encouraging the next generation of filmmakers from diverse backgrounds to take the first steps into a career in the creative sector.

On receiving her Honorary Fellowship from the NFTS, Barbara Broccoli OBE said, "I feel very honoured to be receiving this fellowship award from the NFTS. NFTS graduates have the credentials to enter the industry with confidence and pride and I look forward to seeing their work on the big screen very soon."

Peter Barron, Director, External Relations EMEA, Google UK said, “We are delighted to sponsor the NFTS Show 2012, showcasing the talents of this year’s graduates. YouTube seeks to help the next generation of creative stars to innovate and thrive online. To that end, we're proud to be partnering with the NFTS, home of some of the UK's best new talent in Film and TV.”

Nik Powell, Director of the NFTS added, “Lynne and Barbara’s contribution to both our industry and the NFTS is truly exceptional and I’m thrilled that they have accepted their awards of NFTS Honorary Fellowships. This year’s Graduation Show proves that, although the bar is set high, it is possible to raise it even further, and we wish all of our graduates every success with their new ventures!”