NFTS Students Win Prestigious Annie Award

‘Poles Apart’ Directed by Paloma Baeza Wins Best Student Film

(Poles Apart trailer)

NFTS graduation film, Poles Apart, directed by Paloma Baeza and produced by Ser En Low has won a prestigious Annie Award for Best Student Film. The Annie Awards honour overall excellence in animation in a total of 36 categories from best feature, production design, character animation, and effects animation to storyboarding, writing, music, editing and voice acting, and have often been a predictor of the annual Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. 

(L-R: Rocio Gimenez, Art Director, Paula Gimenez, Production Designer, Paloma Baeza, Director & Ser En Low, Producer)

This is the second time that NFTS students have won an Annie Award and the fifth time NFTS graduation films have been nominated. Head Over Heels directed by Timothy Reckart won an Annie Award in 2012 and also received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film.

Poles Apart has also won the Maclaren Award for Best British Animation at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival and received a nomination for Best British Short Animation at this year’s BAFTA Awards.

(Poles Apart Making Of Video)

About Poles Apart:

Poles Apart tells the story of an unlikely meeting between Nanuk, a tough female polar bear, and Aklak, an enthusiastic male grizzly bear, brought together by their changing habitats. The lack of food in a melting Arctic has left the solitary Nanuk desperately hungry. When the hopeful and eager Aklak crashes into Nanuk's world, she has to decide if the naive grizzly bear is her food or her friend.

The team:

Director/ Writer/ Animator – Paloma Baeza; Producer, Ser En Low; Cinematographer, Jon Muschamp; Production Designer, Paula Giménez; Production Manager, Florencia Casas; Production Co-ordinator, Sophie Halton; Editor, Zsofia Tálas; Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer, Morgan Muse; Compser, Hollie Buhagiar; VFX Supervisor, Gillian Simpson; CG Supervisors, Ollie Brummell, Shivani Shah; Colourist & Online Editor, Alex Davis.

If you are a budding animator and would like to find out more about our Directing Animation MA, sign up to our Animation open day on the 27th April 2018 – more information at www.nfts.co.uk/animation

10 BAFTA 2018 Nominations for NFTS Alumni

Fifth Consecutive Short Animation Nomination

The 2018 BAFTA nominations have just been announced and it’s a record year for NFTS students and alumni with an amazing ten nominations in total and 126 alumni credited across all the nominated films! NFTS graduation animation, Poles Apart, directed and written by Paloma Baeza and produced by Ser En Low, has been nominated for a British Short Animation BAFTA, an award that has been won for the last four years by NFTS graduating students.

In addition, there are a further nine nominations for NFTS alumni including:

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director of Producer:

Emily Morgan (Producer) – I Am Not A Witch (Emily is nominated with Writer/ Director, Rungano Nyoni)

Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Producer) – Lady Macbeth (Fodhla is nominated with Writer, Alice Birch and Director, William Oldroyd)

Outstanding British Film

Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly (Producer) - Lady Macbeth (Fodhla is nominated with Writer, Alice Birch and Director, William Oldroyd)

Animated Film

Hugh Welchman  – Loving Vincent (Hugh is nominated with Co-director, Dorota Kobiela and Producer, Ivan Mactaggart)

Original Music

Dario Marianelli – Darkest Hour

Cinematography

Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

Sound

Stuart Wilson – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Stuart is nominated with Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Matthew Wood)

British Short Film

Mahdi Fleifel – A Drowning Man (Mahdi is nominated with Signe Byrge Sorensen and Patrick Campbell)

Aneil Karia – Work (Aneil is nominated with Scott O’Donnell)

The 71st British Academy Film Awards takes place on Sunday 18th February 2018 and will be hosted by Joanna Lumley - good luck to all the nominees!

If you are inspired by our fantastic alumni, sign up to one of our upcoming open days to find out which course might suit you! www.nfts.co.uk/opendays

NFTS alumni credits in full:

Best Film

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

Dunkirk: Art Department Assistant, Jelle Rebry; Location Co-ordinator UK, Caroline Houghton; Animator, Thomas Phillips Howard                

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Lead Compositor, Dillan Nicholls

Best British Film

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

The Death of Stalin: Editor, Peter Lambert; Graphic Designer, Louise Begbie

God’s Own Country: Production Designer, Stephane Collonge; Art Director, Pedro Moura

Lady Macbeth:  Producer, Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly; Associate Producer, Pete Smyth; Art Director, Thalia Ecclestone; Production Coordinator, Daphnée Hocquard; Boom Operator, Jodie Campbell

Paddington 2: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Concept Artist, Elo Soode; Art Director [Additional Photography], Dominic Hyman; Art Department, Assistant Jelle Rebry; Digital Compositor, Luke Hardisty; Sound Mixer, Danny Hambrook; Sound Effects Editors, Dayo James & Robert Malone; Cashier, Marta Henriquez; Compositor, David SheldonDigital Lab Operator, Carl Thompson                  

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  Lead Compositor Dillan Nicholls

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer

Emily Morgan (Producer) for I Am Not a Witch: Associate Producer/Location Manager, Gabriel Gauchet; Composer, Matthew James Kelly; Supervising Sound Editor, Maiken Hansen; Sound Effects Editor, Ania Przygoda; Dialogue Editors, Raoul Brand & Jens Rosenlund Petersen

Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Producer) for Lady Macbeth: Associate Producer, Pete Smyth; Art Director, Thalia Ecclestone; Production Coordinator, Daphnée Hocquard; Boom Operator, Jodie Campbell

Adapted Screenplay

Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool Digital Intermediate Operator, Andrew Scattergood      

Best Animated Film

Loving Vincent: Producer/Co-Writer/Co-Director, Hugh Welchman; Rerecording Mixer, Markus Moll; Boom Operator, Jodie Campbell; Boom Operator [Dailies], Alex Bryce

Best Original Music

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049: DoP, Roger Deakins

Best Production Design

The Beauty and the Beast: Concept Artist, Eva Kuntz; Junior Draughtspersons, Isona Rigau & Alexandra Toomey; Work Experience, Sara Taddei; Compositors, Ruochen Wang & Nicholas Zissimos

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

Dunkirk  Art Department Assistant Jelle Rebry; Location Co-ordinator UK Caroline Houghton

Best Sound

Star Wars: The Last Jedi:  Production Sound Mixer, Stuart Wilson; Boom Operator, Tom Fennell; Compositor, Adam Arnot; Compositing Supervisor, Dan Snape; Location Coordinator, Caterina Boselli; Stand-By Art Director, Huw Arthur; Concept Designer, Kim Frederiksen; Concept Artist, Tim Browning; Junior Set Designer, Paul Savulescu; Layout Artist ILM, Jake FerrisLayout Artist ILM; Shivani ShahScanning Coordinator, Kathleen Squire               

Best Special Visual Effects

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Production Sound Mixer, Stuart Wilson; Boom Operator, Tom Fennell; Compositor, Adam Arnot; Compositing Supervisor, Dan Snape; Location Coordinator, Caterina Boselli; Stand-By Art Director, Huw Arthur; Concept Designer, Kim Frederiksen; Concept Artist, Tim Browning; Junior Set Designer, Paul Savulescu; Layout Artist ILM, Jake FerrisLayout Artist ILM; Shivani ShahScanning Coordinator, Kathleen Squire   

Best British Short Animation

Poles Apart: Director/Writer/Animator, Paloma Baeza; Producer, Ser En Low; Script Advisor, Shaun Raad; DoP, Jon Muschamp; Designer, Paula Giménez; Production Manager, Florencia Casas; Production Co-ordinator, Sophie Halton; Editor, Zsofia Tálas; Sound Designer/Rerecording Mixer, Morgan Muse; Composer, Hollie Buhagiar; VFX Supervisor, Gillian Simpson; CG Supervisors, Ollie Brummell & Shivani Shah; Compositors, David Sheldon & Suoran Li; Colourist/Online Editor, Alex Davis; Animator, Alex Crowley

Best British Short Film

Aamir: Additional Editor, Matteo Bini

A Drowning Man: Writer/Director/Producer, Mahdi Fleifel; Editor, Michael Aaglund; Sound Designer, Dario Swade; Editor, Ross Leppard

Work: Director, Aneil Karia

Wren Boys: Art Director, Alexandra Toomey

NFTS To Receive Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema BAFTA

London 26th January 2018: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced today that the National Film and Television School (NFTS) will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 18 February at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon, the British film producer known for his work with Ealing Studios. Previous recipients include Mike Leigh, Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Ridley and Tony Scott, Working Title Films, Lewis Gilbert, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Peter Greenaway, Tessa Ross, BBC Films and Angels Costumes. Curzon received the award last year.

(BBC 6pm news feature on the NFTS BAFTA win)

Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee, said: “I am thrilled that the National Film and Television School will receive this honour. The NFTS provides a fantastic training ground for the next generation of creative talent - each year many of BAFTA’s talented scholarship recipients receive their training at the school, and an overwhelming number of its students and alumni go on to become BAFTA-winners and household names. The NFTS is a truly integral part of our industry, and is hugely deserving of this award.”

Dr Jonathan Wardle, Director of NFTS said: “This award is a huge honour. For almost five decades the NFTS has trained and educated people who go on to power British cinema. Our graduates have been responsible for some of British film and television’s greatest moments in recent years. With the generous support from our donors and the wider British film, television and games industries, we will continue to provide the people that ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the creative industries globally for years to come.”

(Some of NFTS' BAFTA and Oscar winning alumni including Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit), Emilie Jouffroy and Nina Gantz (Edmond), Anushka Naanayakkara (A Love Story) and Dario Marianelli (Atonement))

Patrick McKenna, NFTS Chairman says: “For decades the National Film and Television School has been at the heart of Britain's creative industries and I am delighted that this has been recognised by BAFTA. This award marks a pivotal time in the School’s history as it enters an exciting period of growth and builds on its worldwide reputation for developing the talent that fuels our film, TV and games industries.”

The National Film School (as it was first named) opened in 1971, the culmination of a major effort by the industry and government to create an institution to educate and train talent for the British film industry. The NFTS bought the old Beaconsfield Film Studios in Buckinghamshire and set about refitting it to professional industry standards. Founder Colin Young established four permanent departments - production, camera, editing and sound - and in 1971 the first intake of 25 students passed through the studio gates. Directors Mike Radford (The Merchant of Venice, Il Postino), Bill Forsyth (Local Hero) and Ben Lewin (Ally McBeal), pioneering documentarist Nick Broomfield (Aileen: Portrait of a Serial Killer), and visual effects specialist Dennis Lowe (Cold Mountain, The English Patient) were among their number.

(Recent photo of NFTS staff)

In 2003 Nik Powell took over the running of the school. Under his leadership, Powell oversaw a huge growth in size and scale of the NFTS, and during his time as director he cemented its reputation as one the finest film schools in the world. Powell stepped down from the role in July 2017. In January this year, BAFTA and Oscar-nominated writer, producer and director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) was appointed as the school’s first associate director.

Today the NFTS focusses on producing career-ready students across a wide range of practical disciplines that meet industry needs. With more behind-the-camera courses than any other film school, the NFTS is recognised internationally as a model of excellence in specialist higher education and one of the world’s pre-eminent institutions in film and the moving image. The NFTS boasts alumni including BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated cinematographer, Roger Deakins (No Country For Old Men); BAFTA-winning director, David Yates (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them); BAFTA and Oscar-winning animator Nick Park (Wallace And Gromit), Oscar-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer Dario Marianelli (Darkest Hour), BAFTA-winning director, Sarah Gavron (Suffragette), Cannes Film Festival Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist winning Cinematographer, Charlotte Bruus Christensen (Molly’s Game) and BAFTA-winning director, Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin).

(NFTS students on set of graduation film, Blood Type, credit Adam Cross)

The NFTS leads the way in bringing forward the best film, television and games design talent and is an essential talent pipeline for the UK’s creative industries. The school’s awards success is a testament to its teaching. The 2018 EE British Academy Film Awards marks a record year in this respect, with NFTS students and alumni garnering a total of ten nominations, and 126 alumni credited across all the nominated films.*

Across the school’s history, NFTS students and alumni have won an incredible 129 awards across the BAFTA’s various awards ceremonies, including 20 at previous British Academy Film Awards. NFTS alumni have also won 10 Oscars and received a further 49 Oscar nominations for their feature film work. 12 graduation films by NFTS students have won BAFTAs, eight have received Oscar nominations and six have won Student Academy Awards.

The EE British Academy Film Awards will will take place on Sunday 18 February at the Royal Albert Hall. The ceremony will be hosted by Joanna Lumley and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD. The ceremony is also broadcast in all major territories around the world. On the night, www.bafta.org will feature red carpet highlights, photography and winners interviews, as well as dedicated coverage on its social networks including Facebook (/BAFTA), Twitter (@BAFTA / #EEBAFTAs), Tumblr and Instagram.

For further information, please contact:

Vicky Hewlett, NFTS Head of PR
vhewlett@nfts.co.uk

Notes:

NFTS alumni nominated in the 2018 EE British Academy Film Awards are: Emily Morgan (Producer - I Am Not A Witch), Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly (Producer - Lady Macbeth) Hugh Welchman (Co-Director-  Loving Vincent), Dario Marianelli (Composer – Darkest Hour), Roger Deakins (Cinematographer – Blade Runner 2049) Stuart Wilson (Sound – Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Mahdi Fleifel (Short Film Writer/Director– A Drowning Man), Aneil Karia (Short Film Director – Work) and Paloma Baeza and Ser En Low (British Short Animation – Poles Apart)

About BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.

Three 2018 Oscar Nominations for NFTS Alumni

Over 70 Graduates Credited

We are proud to announce that three NFTS alumni are nominated for Oscars in this year’s Academy Awards, which takes place on the 4th March 2018.

Roger Deakins incredibly gets his 15th Oscar nomination in the ‘Cinematography’ category for Bladerunner 2049; surely 2018 will be his year! Stuart Wilson clocks up his fifth nomination, this time for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the ‘Sound Mixing’ category. Hugh Welchman receives his second Oscar nomination, having won an Oscar previously for short film, Peter and The Wolf. His 2018 nomination is in the ‘Animated Feature’ category for, Loving Vincent, which is the world’s first fully painted animated feature film.

In addition, over 70 NFTS graduates are credited on Oscar nominated films (see below for full credits) meaning that there are an incredible 199 NFTS alumni credits across 2018 BAFTA and Oscar nominated films and thirteen individual 2018 Oscar and BAFTA nominations!

If you are interested in following in our graduates’ footsteps, why not sign up to one of our many upcoming open days – more info at www.nfts.co.uk/opendays

Best Picture:

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

Dunkirk: Art Department Assistant, Jelle Rebry; Animator, Thomas Phillips-Howard; Location Co-ordinator UK, Caroline Houghton

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Lead Compositor, Dillan Nicholls

Best Animated Feature:

Loving Vincent: Producer/Co-Writer/Co-Director, Hugh Welchman; Rerecording Mixer, Markus Moll; Boom Operator, Jodie Campbell; Boom Operator [Dailies], Alex Bryce

Best Animated Short:

Revolting Rhymes: Sound Designer/Sound Mixer, Adrian Rhodes; Foley Artist, Peter Warnock

Best Cinematography:

Blade Runner 2049: DoP, Roger Deakins

Best Sound Editing:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Production Sound Mixer, Stuart Wilson; Boom Operator, Tom Fennell; Compositor, Adam Arnot; Compositing Supervisor, Dan Snape; Layout Artists, Jake Ferris & Shivani Shah; Scanning Coordinator, Kathleen Squire; Location Coordinator Caterina Boselli; Stand-By Art Director, Huw Arthur; Concept Designer, Kim Frederiksen; Concept Artist, Tim Browning; Junior Set Designer, Paul Savulescu

Best Sound Mixing:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Production Sound Mixer, Stuart Wilson; Boom Operator, Tom Fennell; Compositor, Adam Arnot; Compositing Supervisor, Dan Snape; Layout Artists, Jake Ferris & Shivani Shah; Scanning Coordinator, Kathleen Squire; Location Coordinator Caterina Boselli; Stand-By Art Director, Huw Arthur; Concept Designer, Kim Frederiksen; Concept Artist, Tim Browning; Junior Set Designer, Paul Savulescu

Best Production Design:

The Beauty and the Beast: Concept Artist, Eva Kuntz; Junior Draughtspersons, Isona Rigau & Alexandra Toomey; Compositors, Ruochen Wang & Nicholas Zissimos; Work Experience, Sara Taddei

Darkest Hour: Composer, Dario Marianelli; Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Assistant Art Director, Isona Rigau; Set Designer, James Collins; Scoring Assistants, Jessica Jones & Tim Morrish; Production Coordinator, Lawrence Mason

Dunkirk: Art Department Assistant, Jelle Rebry; Animator, Thomas Phillips-Howard; Location Co-ordinator UK, Caroline Houghton

Best Visual Effects:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:  Visual Effects Artist, Cat Harris; Compositors, Luke Hardisty & Felipe Olid Guerrero; Creature Effects TD, Samuel Walsh

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Production Sound Mixer, Stuart Wilson; Boom Operator, Tom Fennell; Compositor, Adam Arnot; Compositing Supervisor, Dan Snape; Layout Artists, Jake Ferris & Shivani Shah; Scanning Coordinator, Kathleen Squire; Location Coordinator Caterina Boselli; Stand-By Art Director, Huw Arthur; Concept Designer, Kim Frederiksen; Concept Artist, Tim Browning; Junior Set Designer, Paul Savulescu

Best Film Editing:

Baby Driver: First Assistant Editor, Jerry Ramsbottom

17 NFTS Alumni Credited on Aardman’s ‘Early Man’

An incredible 17 National Film and Television School alumni are credited on Aardman’s highly anticipated prehistoric comedy adventure, Early Man, which is released in the UK on Friday 26th January 2018.

Early Man is directed by NFTS alumnus and four-time Academy Award® -winning director Nick Park, who created Wallace & Gromit during his time at the School. Shot in Aardman’s distinctive style, the film will take audiences on an extraordinary journey into an exciting new world unleashing an unforgettable tribe of unique and funny new characters voiced by an all-star British cast including Tom Hiddleston, Eddie Redmayne and Maisie Williams.

In addition to Nick Park, NFTS Directing Animation MA graduates credited on the film include Senior Storyboard Artist, Richard Phelan; Supervising Sound Editor, Adrian Rhodes; Sound Recordist, Danny Hambrook; Animator, Gareth Love and Assistant Animator, Suraya Raja who graduated from the Directing Animation MA in February 2017.

Graduates credited from the NFTS Character Animation Certificate course, which is delivered in partnership with Aardman, include: Animators – Raul G Eguia, Marie Lechevallier, Emanuel Nevado, Maria Moreira Castro, Maria Ribas, Laura Tofarides; Assistant Animators - Alex Crowley, Hywel Roberts, Adam M. Watts and CG Animators - Lian Mattson, Marta Arisa Clotet.

If you are interested in following in our graduates’ footsteps, sign up to one of our upcoming open days – the general open day takes place on Saturday 10th February and there is a dedicated Animation open day on the 27th April 2018 – more at www.nfts.co.uk/opendays

Applications for the NFTS Directing Animation MA are open until the 5th July 2018 (the two year MA course starts in January 2019) – for more information and to apply, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/animation

16 NFTS DFX Credits on BAFTA 2018 Nominated Films!

In addition to a record 10 individual BAFTA nominations for NFTS alumni and 126 alumni credits in this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards, there are a stunning 16 NFTS Digital Effects alumni credits across eight of the nominated films. That means over 10% of our Digital Effects graduates worked on 2018 BAFTA nominated films, which is a fantastic achievement for the course, which was set up in 2005. Credits include:

Dunkirk

Thomas Phillips Howard, Animator

The Last Jedi

Adam Arnot, Compositor ILM; Jake Ferris, Layout Artist ILM; Shivani Shah, Layout Artist ILM; Dan Snape, Compositing Supervisor ILM; Kathleen Squire, Scanning Coordinator

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Dillan Nicholls, Lead Compositor

Paddington 2

David Sheldon, Compositor; Luke Hardisty, Digital Compositor; Carl Thompson, Digital Lab Operator

Beauty and the Beast

Ruochen Wang, Compositor; Nicholas Zissimos, Compositor

Jawbone

Andy Quinn, VFX Supervisor

Film Stars don’t Die in Liverpool

Andrew Scattergood, Digital Intermediate Operator

Victoria and Abdul

Sara Buxton, Assistant Colourist; Dillan Nicholls, Lead Compositor

If you are interested in following in our DFX graduates’ footsteps, there is a general open day coming up on the 10th February and a dedicated Digital Effects and Games Design open day on the 16th May 2018 – sign up at www.nfts.co.uk/dfx The application deadline for the Digital Effects MA is the 5th July 2018 and the two year course starts in January 2019 – apply at www.nfts.co.uk/dfx

NFTS Appoints Oscar Nominee Alex Garland as Associate Director

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces that Oscar and multi-BAFTA nominated writer, producer and director, Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) has been appointed as the School’s first Associate Director.

(Still from 28 Days Later)

Alex is best known for his novel, The Beach and his Oscar nominated screenplay for Ex Machina, which he also directed and which won an Oscar for ‘Best Visual Effects’. He has written screenplays for films including 28 Days Later and Never Let Me Go and is directing and writing the forthcoming thriller, Annihilation, which stars Natalie Portman.

(Still from Ex Machina)

In his role as Associate Director, Alex will play a key role as a creative figurehead for the School, supporting the Director both internally with key creative decisions and externally in inspiring students. He will serve a term of two years. Key responsibilities will include:

·         To act as a role model and creative figurehead for the NFTS student body

·         To contribute to student learning through masterclasses and special events

·         To act as an ambassador for the School to promote its achievements and to enhance its profile both nationally and internationally

(Still from Never Let Me Go)

Alex Garland says: “It’s a great honour to be appointed as the National Film and Television School’s first Associate Director. I am a huge fan of the School, its achievements and unique focus on practical, career focussed learning across the widest available spectrum of film, TV and games disciplines. I look forward to being a part of the NFTS and working with the next generation of talent.”

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director says: “Since my appointment as NFTS director in August 2017, I’ve focussed on creating the best possible environment at the School to enable our film, television and games students to thrive and fulfil their potential. Adding to this, I think it’s important that the School has eminent creative people at its helm in prominent leadership positions, which is why I and the Board developed the idea of appointing Associate Directors. Alex is our first appointment of two and we are thrilled that he has accepted and will start in January 2018. He is an excellent fit for the role thanks to his commitment to and achievement within the film, television and games industries.”

Contact for further information:

Vicky Hewlett, Head of PR and Communications, NFTS: vhewlett@nfts.co.uk

NFTS Reaches Highest Ever Position on 2018 Top 100 International Animation School Rankings

(Behind the scenes of NFTS graduation film, Poles Apart, directed by Paloma Baeza)

NFTS has reached its highest ever position on this year’s prestigious ‘Top 100 International Animation School Rankings’, taking the number four spot.

Over a hundred animation schools across the globe were considered and the top 25 were picked based on their academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the programme, value and location. The list aims to help students find the School that is the best fit for them.

(Annushka Naanayakkara and team picking up the 2017 Short Animation BAFTA)

2017 was a memorable year for the NFTS Directing Animation MA department. Not only did its students win the British Short Animation BAFTA for the fourth year in a row with NFTS graduation film, A Love Story, directed and co-written by Anushka Naanayakkara, there were also big wins at The Edinburgh Film Festival (Poles Apart directed by Paloma Baeza won the Maclaren Award for Best Short Animation), CILECT (A Love Story won Best Short Animation) and Rhode Island Film Festival (Poles Apart won Best Short Animation).

(Behind the scenes of NFTS graduation film, Tête-à-Tête directed by Natasha Tonkin) 

In addition, NFTS graduation film, Tête-à-Tête directed by Natasha Tonkin was selected for 2017 Annecy Film Festival and Poles Apart has received a nomination in the Annie Awards, which takes place in February 2018.

(Still from A Grand Day Out directed by NFTS alumnus, Nick Park)

NFTS Directing Animation alumni credits include Oscar winning Nick Park (Creator of Wallace & Gromit), BAFTA winning Mark Baker(Peppa PigBen and Holly's Little Kingdom), Emmy award-winning Benjamin Sanders (Nickelodeon’Peter Rabbit), Oscar nominated Sharon Colman (How to Train Your Dragon), BAFTA winning Daisy Jacobs (Bigger Picture), BAFTA winning Nina Gantz(Edmond) and Stephen Warne (Kubo and the Two Strings; My Life As A Courgette). There are also no fewer than 14 NFTS alumni credits on the highly anticipated, upcoming Early Man directed by Nick Park.

Applications for the NFTS Directing Animation MA close on the 5th July 2018 (the two year MA course starts in January 2019) – for more information and to apply, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/animation

 

Are The Kids Alright?

A European Film Celebration by and for the Youth

Are The Kids Alright is a film programme curated by NFTS Film Studies, Programming and Curation student, Nicolas Raffin in partnership with the Institut Français.

The programme takes place on the 12th and 13th January 2018 at Ciné Lumière in London and centres around three coming of age feature films as well as a selection of some of the best recent European shorts curated by a group of young people led by Nicolas.

Are The Kids Alright is part of a series of film programmes curated by finalist students from the NFTS MA in Film Studies, Programming and Curation , led by Sandra Hebron. The season comprises eight exhibition projects running until January 2018. They range from themed programmes and national cinema seasons to expanded cinema and online initiatives.

What is the inspiration behind your graduation project?

Nicolas: “I have nurtured two main interests during my MA in Film Programming and Curation: Film literacy and European cinema. I think these interests come from my personal assessment that both are not supported enough in the UK. The lack of film tuition in schools delays the exposure of British students to foreign-language films, and partly explains why it is so hard for the films to then perform well in UK cinemas. The tense political climate the UK is going through will not help European films get released; the UK film industry might even be withdrawn from European funding schemes.  

In reaction to this, my intention was to bring those elements together and shape an event that would both expose teenagers to European cinema, and have a wide reach. With support from the Alec Reed Academy in Ealing, I have been running workshops with a small group of teenagers, and we have programmed two shorts sessions that will screen at the event. These shorts, all European, have toured in international festivals in the past couple of years. In addition to these two shorts programmes, three feature films will screen, each portraying teenage life in a unique way.”

Which films have you selected and why?

Nicolas: “The programme is voluntarily eclectic and aims to provide the audience with a sense of what European cinema has recently produced. The short films selected are very diverse and will be revealed on December 15th on social networks and on the website.” 

“The Latvian film Mother, I Love You will open the event. This touching coming-of-age drama, winner of the Grand Prize of the Generation Plus section of the Berlinale, follows 12 year-old Raimond through his rather unstable everyday life, punctuated by minor crimes and a rocky relationship with his mother. Director Janis Nords delivers a strong social commentary about growing up in Latvia. This is a rare screening of a film that has not been released in the UK.”

“The second film from French animator and film director Sylvain Chomet, L’illusioniste, is one of the great French animated films of this century. Adapted from an original script of Jacques Tati, the film portrays an ageing illusionist suffering from the disappearance of music-halls and moving to London full of hope. He will encounter Alice in a Scottish pub, a young lady that will impact his future. It is a melancholic film, essentially about growing up and discovering, with fascination, a new form of art.”

“The event will close with a special screening of Sami Blood, a powerful Swedish drama that won the Lux Prize at the European Parliament last November. It tells the story of 14 year-old Ella-Marja, belonging to the Sami community, mostly present in the North of Scandinavia. Director Amanda Kernell talks about exclusion, minorities, and acceptance in 1930s Scandinavia, and, as we understand that we have not achieved much since in regard to these topics, her film also comments about us today.”

How can I book?

Tickets can be booked at a reduced fee of £5 per screening at the following link:

https://www.institut-francais.org.uk/cine-lumiere/whats-on/festivals-series/are-the-kids-alright/

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Producer Describes How Making The Movie Was “The Best Experience In The World!”

With one of the most highly anticipated films coming out this weekend, NFTS students were thrilled to be treated to a masterclass with the Producer of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ram Bergman (Brick; Looper). According to a roundup of reviews on the BBC website, the critics are “in raptures” using words like "rousing", "thrilling" and "addictively bold” to describe the film.

The session was hosted by director, screenwriter and Empire’s Contributing Editor, Nev Pierce, who opened by asking Ram what it was like to work on one of the biggest franchises of all time. Ram reflected back to his childhood where he grew up in Israel and was 8 or 9 when the first Star Wars movie came out: “It was the first time I realised what you can do in movies. A whole new world opened up for me. That was the period that got me interested in making movies.”

On how the opportunity came about, Ram explained, “Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy approached Rian (Rian Johnson is Star Wars: The Last Jedi director and Ram’s long-time collaborator) and asked him to direct episode 8 before JJ had even started filming episode 7. He was shocked! He then called me. We had never made a big studio movie or a studio movie, period. We wanted to make sure we would have a good experience but we were so excited and thought we’ve got to do this! Three and a half years later, I can honestly say we had the best experience in the world.”

According to Ram, Disney and Kathy gave them as much freedom as they wanted in making the film: “It felt like we were making a Rian movie. We got complete freedom and I cannot speak more highly of the experience. There was really no difference between making this film and our movie, Brick. Apart from the budget and the scope, the day to day process felt intimate and just like the indie filmmaking process we were used to.”

Nev asked Ram what kind of challenges he faced in making the film. Ram replied: “There were 125 sets, which is a lot! With a 100 day shoot, that meant more than one set a day and some of the sets were huge! We took over the whole of Pinewood and that still wasn’t enough space for us. But we had a phenomenal crew. I really appreciated the craftsmanship of every department from the art department to the creature department. From construction to VFX, we were working with the best people in the business, which was hugely rewarding.”

Ram and Rian brought in DoP, Steve Yedlin and Editor, Bob Ducsay. The rest of the crew were either hired by Rian and Ram or had already worked on Star Wars. Ram continued: “It’s part of my job as Producer to create an environment that’s best for the movie and to make sure everyone works together in the best way. I like to work with people who have a point of view and are not afraid to share it. People who push you rather than simply implementing the director’s vision ultimately lead to a better result.”

One of the students asked Ram about making his first feature with Rian, Brick. Ram said: “Rian was trying to make Brick for seven years but hadn’t managed to get anywhere with it. I read the script and said the way he was trying to make it was wrong. He was going after the wrong budget level. The seven years meant he knew every detail of the movie so by the time we shot it, he had a clear vision and was very prepared.”

Nev asked Ram how he chooses who to work with. Ram explained: “As I progressed in my career, I decided I only wanted to work with talented people who are good human beings, which is a rare combination in our industry. Rian is a truly good human being and a unique filmmaker. If I just work with Rian for the rest of my left, I’ll be happy. There’s no ego, it’s purely about the work.”

On working with editor, Bob Ducsay, Ram said: “Bob played an integral part in Star Wars. He is a guy with great energy and is not afraid to give his point of view. So much is about dynamics, to know when and how to say, we should do it this way.”

Nev wrapped up the session by asking Ram to give the students some advice for their future careers. Ram pondered and then said: “All I know is hard work pays off. You need a vision of what you want to be doing and then you need to figure out how to get there. Be committed to your vision. Connecting the dots isn’t as hard as committing to what to do.”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out in cinemas from today.

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