Our credits tell the story.

3 NFTS Writers Selected for Channel 4 Scheme

Over 1200 Apply!

(L-R: Angelina Karpovich, Nathaniel Price and Oliver Henderson)

Despite huge competition and 1200 applicants, no fewer than three NFTS students and graduates have secured places on Channel 4’s prestigious 4Screenwriting scheme, which is open to 12 writers new to television drama.

Recent NFTS Screenwriting MA Graduates, Oliver Henderson and Nathaniel Price and current student Angelina Karpovich have been offered places on the scheme and graduate Jonathan Harbottle was also offered a place but was unable to take part due to work commissions. (There is an NFTS Screenwriting open day on Friday 30th March – sign up here!)

Script Editor, Script Consultant, Producer and 4Screenwriting Course Leader,

Philip Shelley said: 'It’s fantastic to see so many NFTS graduates take part in this year’s scheme. Having read all the stand-out scripts, it wasn't until we started looking in detail at writers' CV's that we realised what so many of them had in common! I am really impressed with their work and am sure they have successful careers ahead of them!

The NFTS seems to not only school writers thoroughly in the craft of screen-writing and effective story-telling - but also, importantly, uses its extensive industry contacts to make sure that the writers all meet a lot of important, influential people - the sort of people who can offer them screenwriting work!

The Channel 4 screenwriting course is now in its 7th year. Every year we work over 6 months with 12 new, talented writers to develop a one hour pilot script. It's a great introduction to Channel 4 Drama and the industry for the writers, and we have had a lot of exciting success stories from the course. Getting onto the course in the first place is highly competitive. This year we had over 1200 applicants for the 12 places.”

I met with Oliver, Nathaniel and Angelina and asked them how it feels to be accepted on such a sought after course as well as how the NFTS MA has prepared them and what their future plans are.

How does it feel to be accepted on the 4Screenwriting scheme and what has it been like so far?

Oliver: Having made the shortlist a couple of years ago it was great to get on the scheme at the second time of asking. The competition for places is fierce, even more so than at the NFTS, and over the last few years it has launched the careers of writers like Vinay Patel and Charlie Covell so it's very exciting. The scheme itself has been an absolute dream so far, with talks from writers, directors and scripts editors who have worked on some of the biggest productions in film and television over the last decade. I've also been assigned a fantastic script editor from New Pictures (The Missing, Indian Summers) and a development exec from Channel 4 who have helped me to expand what was an embryonic idea.

Nathaniel: I was absolutely delighted to have been put forward and selected for 4Screenwriting. It and Philip Shelley are very highly regarded within the industry. I'd been fortunate to meet and work with a few of its graduates previously and they all couldn't recommend it highly enough. The first weekend of the course definitely lived up to the hype. One thing I really enjoyed was meeting the other writers and sharing our experiences. They were all really cool (as were the script editors and trainee script editors). We had fantastic speakers (writers and script editors and commissioners) who were all open and honest and provided invaluable insight into the industry. It's just great to be writing a script and honing my craft (because let's face it, treatments can get a bit tedious), and I'm really enjoying having Philip as my script editor.

Angelina: 4Screenwriting is a hugely respected and very competitive scheme for new television drama writers, and being selected to participate in it this year feels like a massive validation of how far my writing has developed since I’ve started on the Screenwriting MA at the NFTS.

Eggshells, the screenplay with which I applied to the 4Screenwriting scheme, was developed at the NFTS, during the 1st year “Movie in a Month” module, where each of us wrote an individual feature screenplay from scratch in a month, supported by regular feedback sessions with our fantastically insightful tutors, Angeli Macfarlane and Brian Ward. I used this opportunity to venture outside my comfort zone by writing in a genre I hadn’t worked in before, by exploring some dauntingly “big” themes, and by writing something much more personal than any of my previous work. Looking back at the screenplay now, I know that I would have never achieved those aims on my own, without the structure and the support put in place by the Screenwriting MA tutors.

How has the NFTS Screenwriting MA prepared you for the 4Screenwriting course?

Angelina: If you’re serious about developing as a screenwriter, then the NFTS offers an unparalleled opportunity to examine and refine your own writing, and to work with immensely talented people who are just as passionate about storytelling as you are. You can - and should - read all the screenwriting textbooks, but none of them can teach you how to make specifically *your* writing better. This, in my experience, is what the NFTS excels in.

Nathaniel: Applying for the NFTS Screenwriting MA is one of the best decisions I ever made. Once I realised I was serious about wanting to become a professional screenwriter, the NFTS was the place I was continually advised to apply to. It gave me such a thorough training across all the mediums (film, TV, theatre, radio and games) in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere. The tutors at times went above and beyond in helping me develop my writing. Also, the fact they're all active in the industry, you can't help but find their advice helpful and inspiring. The NFTS also provides you with access to the industry prior to graduation, which has proved extremely helpful for my career.

Oliver: The TV module we do as part of the MA at the NFTS follows the same structure as the 4Screenwriting course in terms of feedback and outcome, so the transition has been relatively seamless so far. The 4Screenwriting course is a great platform for new writers and is renowned throughout the industry, acting as a bridge into the professional world of writing. Out of the 12 writers selected this year, 4 were from the NFTS, so if you apply then you've clearly got a very good chance!

What are your career aspirations?

Oliver: If I can make a living doing what I love then I'll be happy, but creating and writing my own series is the dream. Ideally I'd like to work across both film and television, and I currently have a number of projects in various stages of development, but my focus is on the script for C4 over the next couple of months.

Nathaniel: I've been lucky enough to be working constantly since I graduated last year. Recently, I've had a short monologue, Special Delivery released on BBC3 as part of the BBC ‘Writersroom's The Break II’ series. My first radio play, Baller, was broadcast earlier this month on BBC Radio 4 and was selected as their 'Drama of the Week'. I wrote Episode 5 of Five by Five, a co-production between Green Door Pictures and BBC Studios, featuring Idris Elba, which will be released on BBC 3 on Monday 27th April. I've also been selected as a trainee writer by Kudos for their new Sky Atlantic show Tin Star, and so will be involved in story lining series two. I've also just had my first feature play commissioned with the Nottingham Playhouse. Finally, my first feature film, Scandinavian Silence, that I co-wrote with director Martii Helde, will be released later this year.

My real aspiration is to continue to work on exciting and varied projects across the mediums and continue to develop my writing. Ultimately, I'd love to have my own TV series on day. I'm fortunate enough to be working on developing original ideas with a number of great production companies so... fingers crossed.

Angelina: I’m still at the start of the final year of the MA, so my plans for what to do after leaving the NFTS aren’t very firm - I feel that I still have so much to learn and explore while I’m at the School! Television is my first love, I grew up practically glued to the screen, so writing television drama would be amazing, but ultimately I just want the stories I tell to find an audience, be it on television, in film, or on the stage.

For more information on the NFTS Screenwriting MA, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/screenwriting (application deadline 4th May 2017 with a start date of January 2018). And for more information on Channel 4’s 4Screenwriting Programme, please visit http://4talent.channel4.com/get-involved/work-programmes/4-new-writers/4-screenwriting



Production Sound Takes Students from the City to the Jungle!

Course open day 26th April

“The NFTS has certainly helped to open some doors and got my career going”

We caught up with Nick Olorenshaw, Keith Morrison and Kirsty Wright who have all just graduated from the NFTS Production Sound for Film and Television Diploma, to find out about their experience of the course and what their career plans are. It was fascinating to learn that the course had literally taken them all over the world from Tajikistan to Singapore and Italy! (If this sounds like your dream course, don’t miss our Post Production open day on the 26th April – sign up here.)

What have you been doing since graduating from the NFTS Diploma in Production Sound; did studying at the NFTS help kick start your career?

Nick: Towards the end of the course, I worked as a sound trainee on a documentary/commercial for Toyota, which involved a three-week road trip through Vietnam with lots of off-road driving and documentary pieces in the cities and jungle, which was an amazing experience. That led to another car commercial for Lexus in Spain this year, and I've also been doing some smaller corporate and commercial shoots. I first met one of the recordists I worked for when he gave a guest lecture for our class, so the NFTS has certainly helped to open some doors and got my career going.

Keith: Since graduating from the Production Sound Diploma with the NFTS at the end of 2016, I have been working towards obtaining trainee roles for drama productions. Having completed the course, I feel that I am much more prepared and confident in my abilities on and off set. The NFTS has also given me the opportunity to network with sound mixers and organisations that can help me achieve my goals. 

Kirsty: Since graduating from the NFTS I have been granted a place on the Creative Skillset Trainee Scheme for which there were 500 applicants. Studying at the NFTS has helped me to be prepared for a freelance career in production sound both by learning about the practical and theoretical aspect of sound on and off set, and also by receiving career training including sessions in financing and CV development.

What were the highlights of studying Production Sound at the NFTS (please mention if you got to go anywhere interesting or work on any exciting sets)?

Nick: My main interest is in documentary sound, and I was fortunate to work in Tajikistan and Sicily with students from the documentary department. As well as being a lot of fun (and hard work), working abroad really helped to sharpen my skills and improve my self-sufficiency as a sound recordist; but culturally I also learned a lot, and it has definitely contributed to shaping my understanding of the world.

Keith: The highlights of studying with the NFTS included the variety of productions I worked on, the places I got to travel to and the people I had the opportunity to work with and learn from. During my time, I was either sound mixer or boom op on at least five full-scale drama shoots and two documentaries, one of which was in Singapore for three weeks. As a small group of eight production sound students, we were in demand across the film school. This meant that we worked with a variety of people in all departments from production managers to sound designers. Understanding what their roles were and how you impact them was an important part of learning.

Kirsty: I had the opportunity to work on a variety of productions as part of the curriculum, and also extra-curricular projects. I was fortunate to be able to travel to Bologna, Italy, to record sound for part of a graduation documentary in summer 2015. I also had the opportunity to attend a sitcom workshop at Sky where I operated the Fisher booms, and also created a live mix of the production in the sound gallery. One of my favourite aspects of the Production Sound course is the opportunity to learn from sound mixers and boom operators who are currently working in the industry, and gaining an insight into their techniques. Russell Edwards, for example, taught us how to rig different vehicles for sound.

Why would you recommend someone apply for the Production Sound Diploma rather than other sound courses? And why is the NFTS a good place to study?

Nick: By the end of the course, you will have spent a lot of time using professional sound equipment in a wide range of situations, which puts you in a good position when you leave the school and look for work. Also the teachers have a huge amount of experience between them, which is an amazing resource of knowledge and advice (and anecdotes) to learn from.

Keith: The NFTS production sound course is dedicated to the craft and is taught by industry professionals. It is a very practical course, with hands on experience of drama, documentary and television sound using current industry equipment. If you are interested in production sound, this course is for you. The NFTS is a great place to study because the classes are small and there are dedicated courses for each discipline (directors, producers, editors etc.). Being taught by tutors that are highly acclaimed in their fields and being surrounded by creative, dedicated people has a positive effect on you and the work you do, this is why the NFTS is a great place to study.

Kirsty: I would recommend that someone apply for the Production Sound diploma due to the emphasis on learning through practical experience on set. Students get the opportunity to work on a multitude of productions across many genres, including drama, documentary and television production. I would also recommend the course as it is taught by leading industry professionals, whose experience, insight and wisdom are invaluable for anyone developing their career in production sound.

The NFTS is a good place to study due to the emphasis on collaboration and the opportunity to work with many different people in the School who are equally as enthusiastic about film and television production. There are also frequent masterclasses by leading individuals in the industry, which often leave one feeling inspired and enthused!

For more information about the Production Sound for Film and Television Diploma, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/our-courses/diploma/production-sound-film-television and sign up for the open day on the 26th April here.


NFTS Announces RSPB Scholarship

Apply by July 6th

(Photo credit, Ben Andrew)

London, 14th March 2017: National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces it is partnering with the RSPB, the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, on its Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA.

The RSPB will work closely with the world-leading film school, its tutors and students to inspire a new generation of filmmaking talent equipped to create engaging and innovative content that champions the charity’s conservation cause  by reaching new audiences through new and impactful visual communications. 

The partnership includes the launch of an RSPB scholarship to support a student through their two year MA, starting in the School’s new academic year in January 2018. To find out more, sign up to the open day on April 18th.

Students will benefit from access to RSPB nature reserves to practice and enhance their wildlife filming technique and will receive masterclasses and practical sessions, delivered by the RSPB’s  world famous Film Unit on conservation filmmaking, field craft skills, and the role of ethics and animal welfare in wildlife filming best practice.

(Photo credit, Ben Andrew)

First formed in 1953, the RSPB Film Unit is the oldest professional wildlife filmmaking outfit in the UK, producing many internationally-recognised, award-winning documentaries rewarded at Wildscreen, Jackson Hole and the Japan Wildlife Film Festival among many others.  It is well-known throughout the industry as a training ground for many of the world’s leading camera operators and producers, like Hugh Miles, Mike Richards, Ian McCarthy, John Aitchison and David Allen, who have achieved highly successful careers in natural history filmmaking.  Reconfigured in 2014 as RSPB Digital Media, the Film Unit continues to adapt and transform itself, embracing technical innovation to amplify its core, creative conservation messages in response to the changing digital environment. 

Highly experienced producer of wildlife documentaries and series, Paul Reddish, leads the Directing and Producing Science and Natural History MA; Paul is credited as Producer and Director across a number of high profile natural history films and series including Attenborough in Paradise, The Future is Wild, Hummingbirds Jewelled Messengers, and many more.

Mark Percival at RSPB Digital Media says:

 “We’re delighted to be working with the NFTS. We face a considerable challenge as conservationists, working to reverse the declines in the numbers of species and the loss of natural habitats. As filmmaking technology rapidly evolves, it creates new opportunities for us to reach millions of people with the message that there’s an urgent need to look after our wild spaces and the wildlife around us. Supporting and developing new talented filmmakers who are passionate about conservation, and who can create powerful visual stories, is fundamental to achieving the RSPB’s goal of a sustainable world richer in nature.”

(Photo credit, Chiara Ceci)

Paul Reddish says: “It is a privilege to partner with the RSPB which does such vital and important conservation work. I can’t think of a better placed institution to work with the students to build their understanding of the challenges of communicating conservation messages in wildlife filmmaking. The NFTS has a great reputation for building careers and industry leaders and I look forward to working with the RSPB to mentor our students to do great things via this exciting new MA.”

The two-year MA course will equip students with the skills required to direct science, natural history and wildlife productions and the know-how to produce entire shows. Whether it’s using ultra long lenses or aerial, macro or time lapse photography, the students will build a wide portfolio of experience bespoke to wildlife programme making.

As with all NFTS courses, the MA is both hands on and practical and students will benefit from work placements at the UK’s major wildlife production companies.

Applications for the Directing Natural History and Science MA are open until July 6th 2017 and the course will commence in January 2018. 

For more information, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/naturalhistory


Contacts for further information:

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

NFTS funding: Studentfunding@nfts.co.uk

Jamie Wyver, Consumer PR Executive, RSPB: jamie.wyver@rspb.org.uk



Oscar Winning ‘Amy’ Filmmaker Wows BFI Film Academy Students

Apply for Directing Documentary MA by 4th May!

Academy award and four-time BAFTA award-winning director, writer and producer Asif Kapadia wowed this year’s BFI Film Academy participants with a masterclass as they took part in the opening weekend of the Craft Residential course, which is delivered by the NFTS. The students are made up of 66 of the nation’s most promising young filmmakers aged 16-19 and the weekend included inspirational talks, team building and practical workshops. (If you would like to find out more about studying at the NFTS, have a look at the wide range of open days we have coming up and book your place here!) 

Asif Kapadia won a ‘Feature Documentary’ Oscar for Amy, which documents the life and death of British songwriter, Amy Winehouse, and is described as ‘piercingly sad’ by The Telegraph. His documentary, Senna about Brazilian motor-racing legend Ayrton Senna, was a huge international box office hit and won multiple awards including two BAFTAs, ‘Best Documentary’ at the London Critics Circle, the BIFA award for ‘Best Documentary’ and the Audience Award for ‘Best International Feature’ at the Los Angeles Film Festival. If you are a keen documentary maker, have a look at our Directing Documentary MA, which has an application deadline of the 4th May 2017 - more info here.

Following Asif’s inspirational Q&A session, participants were divided into six groups. They spent the weekend working with their tutors on interpreting the script and agreeing a shooting script for the short films so they can hit the ground running for the main Craft Residential week in April. Students on the course specialise in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, production sound, editing and production design to reflect a real filmmaking environment.

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director of Curriculum and Registrar, said: “We were overwhelmed with applications for this year’s BFI Film Academy, so the group of young people who were lucky enough to be selected really are the brightest and the best. They all really impressed us during the opening weekend so we look forward to seeing the resulting short films in Easter and wish them huge success for their future careers.”

The course is supported by the Department for Education, the National Lottery, Creative Scotland and Northern Ireland Screen. The final films will be screened at the BFI Southbank in April.

For more information, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/bfi-film-academy

We have a wide range of open days coming up for anyone interested in our MA and Diploma courses - sign up here https://www.nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/open-days


NFTS Alumni Credited in RTS Programme Awards Winners

From Emmerdale to National Treasure!

Projects with National Film and Television School alumni involvement have once again won awards in several categories at this year’s Royal Television Society Programme Awards across a whole host of film and television making disciplines from directing and sound, to editing and cinematography! The NFTS has dedicated course open days coming up over the next few weeks catering for all these areas; sign up for your place here.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Sandi Toksvig, took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Tuesday 21st March.

Emmerdale, directed by Directing Fiction MA graduate, Diana Patrick won the ‘Best Soap and continuing Drama’ category, while National Treasure, a four-part 2016 British television drama by Channel 4, written by Jack Thorne and starring Robbie Coltrane took the award for ‘Best Mini-Series’. NFTS credits include Paul Davies, Supervising Sound Editor and Katherine Pearl, Post-Production Co-Ordinator.

NFTS graduates are also credited on the other nominated mini-series in this category including London Spy - Lisa Hall, Production Designer and Marc Anton Restivo, Art Director – and Thirteen - Simon Archer, DoP; Hazel Baillie, Editor; Alex Ellerington, FX Editor; Jon Opstad, Composer and Martin Jensen, Rerecording Mixer.

Exodus: Our Journey to Europe won the ‘Best Documentary Series’ award and credits Editing MA graduates, Simon Sykes, Nick Fenton & Sunshine Jackson. The Murder Detectives received a nomination in this category and credits composer, Jon Opstad.

The BBC3 production, Murdered By My Father (DoP, NFTS Cinematography MA graduate, Felix Wiedemann) won ‘Best Single Drama’ while First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon (Editor, David Hill) won the ‘Best Science and Natural History’ award.

Channel 4 series The Secret Life of 4 & 5 Year Olds also received a nomination in the science and natural history category and credits NFTS Directing Documentary graduate, Jackie Waldock as Director.

Sally Wainwright, who recently delivered an inspiring masterclass at NFTS, won the award for ‘Writer-Drama’ for Happy Valley – read about her masterclass here.

Other nominated programmes with NFTS involvement include:

Channel 4 series, First Dates (Composer, Miguel d’Oliveira) nominated for ‘Best Popular Factual and Features’.

ITV series, The Durrells nominated for ‘Best Drama Series’ (Additional Music composed by Jon Wygens).

EastEnders (Writer, NFTS Screenwriting MA graduate, Laura Poliakoff)

For more information on the NFTS open days, please visit https://nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/open-days

NFTS Grads Part of Oscar & BAFTA Winning VFX Team

Digital Effects MA Open Day 17th May

(L-r - Dan Lemmon, Andrew R Jones, Adam Valdez & Rob Legato)

A whole host of NFTS students and graduates were part of the team that won both the Oscar and the BAFTA for Visual Effects for their work on Disney’s The Jungle Book. (If this is your dream, come along to the NFTS Digital Effects MA open day on Wednesday 17th May – more info and sign up here.)

MPC’s lead VFX Supervisor, Adam Valdez, picked up the Oscar on the night along with VFX Supervisor Rob Legato, Animation Supervisor Andrew R. Jones and VFX Supervisor Weta Digital, Dan Lemmon. Adam Valdez visited the School recently to give a masterclass on techniques used in The Jungle Book, which required over 240 million render hours to create! Read more here.

The MPC team that worked on The Jungle Book includes the following NFTS graduates:

Visual Effects Production Manager, Carlos Ciudad; Lead Compositor MPC, Chris Gooch; Stereo Compositor MPC, Graham Dorey; Digital Compositor MPC, Adam Arnot and Stereo Compositor MPC, Victor Almela. Both Graham and Victor worked on The Jungle Book as part of an internship at MPC while studying at the NFTS.

Other NFTS grads who worked on film’s visual effects include Lighting TD, Carlo Alberto Bagliolid, Roto/Prep Artist, Andrew Scattergood and Digital Artist, Helen Brownell.

Carlos Ciudad, who now works for Double Negative as VFX Producer, says: “Being part of both the Oscar and the BAFTA winning digital effects team at MPC is a dream come true; The Jungle Book was a joy to work on and the results created by the visual effects teams speak for themselves. I would encourage anyone with a passion for VFX to apply to study Digital Effects at the NFTS as it offers an excellent pathway into this exciting career.”

For more information about the NFTS Digital Effects MA, please click here and for more information about MPC, please visit http://www.moving-picture.com/


More Major Awards for NFTS Grads!

Sign Up for our Sound Design & Screenwriting Open Days

(Verna Fields Student Filmmaker Award winners Zoltan Juhasz and Gerry Vazquez)

NFTS Screenwriting MA graduate, Rafael Kapelinski and Sound Design MA graduate, Zoltan Juhasz have triumphed at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival and the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards respectively. (If you'd like to follow in their footsteps, sign up to one of our course specific open days. Sound Design MA open day is March 24th and Screenwriting is March 30th - more info here!)

Rafael, who graduated in 2015, won the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Generation 14 Plus category, for his debut feature film, Butterfly Kisses.

About Butterfly Kisses: Propelled by the rhythm of its powerful soundtrack and imagery, this film awakens a terrifying suspicion in the viewer. Without resorting to simple accusations of guilt, it confronts us with an explosive issue, which our society has so far been unable to resolve. The finely differentiated characterizations inspire profound empathy for the protagonists in the situations they face. From the kaleidoscopic opening sequence onwards, we are captivated by the haunting intensity of this electrifying feature film debut.

A recent NFTS graduate, Zoltan won the Verna Fields Award for Student Film Makers at this year’s Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Awards, which is recognised as the sound world's equivalent to the Oscars. NFTS students and grads have won this prestigious award an impressive 14 times and been nominated 39 times since 1996 making the NFTS consistently the world's most acclaimed school for sound editing.

Zoltan won for his work as Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Designer and Foley Artist on NFTS graduation animation, Fishwitch, which is directed by Adrienne Dowling and produced by Hélène Sifre. Zoltan won the 2016 ‘Dolby Award for Best Sound’ for Fishwitch, an award that recognises excellence in sound mixing, editing and design.

Fellow NFTS graduate, Tom Jenkins, was nominated for the same award for NFTS fiction, Those who are lost, directed by Sam McMullen and produced by Millie Marsh, for his work as Supervising Sound Editor and Sound Designer; ADR and Dialogue Editor; Foley Artist and Music Editor.

To find out more about our MA in Sound Design for Film and Television, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/sound-design-film-television  and for more information about our Screenwriting MA, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/screenwriting


Why Choose Production Management?

Apply by 6th April

We caught up with Production Management for Film and Television Diploma students, Kieran Nolan Jones and Jenny Martin. Both Kieran and Jenny are supported by Sargent-Disc scholarships to help them with their studies. If you are looking to work in film and TV in a Production Management or Production Co-ordinator role, sign up to the NFTS Production Management open day on Monday 6th March to find out more! https://www.nfts.co.uk/sign-me-up/open-days

Founded in 1986, Sargent-Disc is a family run business specialising in payroll, accounting and software services for the entertainment industries. These services are fundamental to the Production Manager’s role.

Kieran and Jenny gave us a snapshot of some of the activities he has been involved with since starting the course in September:

Kieran: “Since starting I have worked on a vast array of projects spanning many different disciplines. Before I began working on these projects, I participated in a series of seminars and workshops around budgeting, scheduling and location management. This gave me a great insight into the ever-evolving role of a Production Manager and allowed me to understand the job I was about to undertake. My first assignment was working as a Production Coordinator on a Russian Language short fiction film, Nina. Taking over a whole council estate in London, we shot a war based drama over four days with a budget of £4000. A baptism of fire, this experience allowed me to participate in all aspects of production from organising tech recces and transport plans, to catering and casting. This experience built my confidence for my next project, which was a live late night television entertainment show created by the NFTS Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA students.”

Jenny: “The project I've been working on is part of the 'First Year Film' module and is called The Last Ones to Leave; a 13 minute short about the last two men in a survival camp, after medicine has failed to match the evolution of humankind. It's post-apocalyptic/dystopian and all exterior locations are shot locally in Beaconsfield and Slough. The set is incredible and is inspired by the Lost Boys camp in 'Hook', where every piece of fabric, item and remnants of the camp echoes personalities of the people that lived and died there. It's shot on film and it was a crew of just less than 30. There was a night shoot and we were dealing with water, fire, smoke machines- the lot!” 

“It was a really valuable experience for me and I'm so glad to have been the first to shoot a tech recce, greenlight and shoot within 3.5 weeks of being at the NFTS! I'm now co-Production Managing a quiz show at Sky and sharing some Production Co-ordinator responsibilities on an animation graduation film. I've also been asked to Production Manage a multi-platform interactive game project, so I'm constantly learning and working with lots of new people.”

One of the benefits of studying at the NFTS is the chance to meet and work with students across a whole host of different courses.  As a result of this collaborative environment, Kieran was offered the chance to Production Co-ordinate a NFTS graduation animation project Tete A Tete.

Kieran: “Most recently I have worked as Production Manager on our Expanded Cinema film, Beast In The Bag. Through this project NFTS directors are tasked with stretching their imagination and attempting to push narrative boundaries. My project can be described as a surreal, noir inspired short thriller with darkly comedic undertones. There were no producers working on this particular project so many of the producers' responsibilities fell to the Production Managers. By taking on more experience this project allowed me to be creatively involved in all aspects of production and gain experience in being the sole leader of a film, steer the ship and trouble shoot all issues which arise.”

“As a result of all the experience I have built so far, I have been able to take on freelance work as a Production Manager outside my studies. This has included production managing an independent short film with a budget of £20,000, as well as production managing a short film for Channel 4 starring Dave Johns (I,Daniel Blake). I am currently in pre-production on a high octane virtual reality disaster/horror short film which I will production manage. Without the help I have received from Sargent-Disc I would never have been able to experience all that I have thus far in my NFTS Career, and for all their help and support I will be eternally grateful.”

(This year's Production Management Diploma students on a visit to Panalux!)

For more information on the Production Management for Film and Television Diploma, please visit https://www.nfts.co.uk/our-courses/diploma/production-management-film  and to sign up to the open day, click here.




NFTS Grad Roger Deakins Delights New Students

Discusses Skyfall & working with the Coen Brothers

NFTS’ first year students were treated to a masterful keynote by multiple Oscar nominee and School alumnus, Roger Deakins on their first day as part of Springboard week.

Roger is well known for his work with the Coen Brothers on films such as FargoO Brother, Where art thou? and No Country for Old Men. He has worked frequently with Sam Mendes on the likes of JarheadRevolutionary Road and Skyfall. Roger has also just finished working with Denis Villeneuve on the highly anticipated new Bladerunner movie and has previously worked with the French-Canadian director on Sicario and Prisoners. Nominated for the Academy Award for Cinematography no fewer than thirteen times, Roger has won numerous major awards including Best Cinematography BAFTAs for No Country for Old Men, The Man who wasn’t There and True Grit. Besides the ASC & BSC awards he has received, he was awarded the ASC Lifetime Achievement award in 2011 and the BSC Lifetime Achievement award in 2015. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Film.

Roger was accompanied on his visit to the NFTS by his wife and former script supervisor, James Ellis Deakins. James now works as a Digital Workflow Consultant on Roger’s films ensuring the digital work flow is meticulously adhered to. In addition to the keynote, Roger spent time separately with the Directing Fiction students and the Cinematography students, who were given a bespoke lighting masterclass where Roger showed them how to best light the current spaceship set on the NFTS mainstage. He then went for Pizza with them! According to James, Roger has huge affection for the School and wanted to invest this time to give something back. 

(Roger pictured with NFTS Cinematography MA students.)

Another way that Roger gives back can be found at his website, www.rogerdeakins.com. He is frequently on that website’s forum answering questions from the participants.

The keynote was hosted by NFTS Co-Head of Cinematography, Stuart Harris who asked Roger how he came to attend the School. “I left art college and a friend told me about the NFTS. I loved stills photography but thought documentaries could be a good option. I shot 15 films while I was here; I was constantly shooting; it was fantastic for me!”

On his career and working on features, Roger said: “I was lucky to get into features; I would’ve been happy staying with documentaries and shooting features didn’t seem like a possibility to me.”

The students were curious as to how Roger selects the films he works on: “The story is the primary reason for doing something. I want to connect to the material.”

Roger highlighted the importance of understanding the way the director works. “It’s important to judge what the director wants from you beforehand.” The Coen Brothers, for example, storyboard meticulously, which offers a perfect springboard for working out what their vision of the film is”.

Another key theme and learning point for the students was planning and preparation – Roger was keen to stress the importance of the prep period and emphasized the need of being involved in the whole process - choosing locations, set design. “Nothing is worse than turning up on the day of the shoot to find a set the design of which you weren’t involved in and having to figure out how to light and shoot it.”   

Clips from Coen Brothers film, The Man Who Wasn’t There; Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario and Sam Mendez’ Jarhead and Skyfall were used to illustrate certain techniques to the students. Roger let the clips play out and then replayed them without the sound and talked them through in detail.

Roger relayed how something as simple as putting white or silver paper under a lamp will increase the effect of the natural bounce. This was used in The Man Who Wasn’t There.

Jarhead, which Roger describes as “haunting and a really interesting psychological film about war” was “often off the cuff with no rehearsal. I had the camera on my shoulders and just shot. I loved going round people and exploring letting the audience see the world.” Roger used Jarhead to explain how as a cinematographer you need to assess the logistics and practicality of how to shoot certain scenes in advance. For example, one particular scene featuring a horse walking through the desolate landscape had to be shot on a stage whereas others were on location or on set.

The Shanghai apartment fight scene in Skyfall was discussed as it was shot on a stage and lit mainly by the practical LED advertisement screens out of the window. Because the set was composed of glass, it proved quite a challenge.

Roger then talked through how different techniques were used to create tension in Sicario, which was another film that was mostly done on the day with limited storyboarding. “So much of filmmaking is a jigsaw. It might be weeks apart from location to set but it needs to flow and feel like one piece.”

The students showed their appreciation by queueing up for photos with “the legend that is Roger Deakins” and thanking him for his “brilliant talk”. The masterclass was summed up perfectly by one student who simply tweeted after the event: “Amazing man, amazing Q&A.”

If you are inspired to apply for our Cinematography MA, why not sign up to one of our opendays? We have two coming up for Cinematography - more info here.



30 NFTS Grads Credited on Oscar Nominated Films

Stuart Wilson Nominated in Sound Mixing Category for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

(Pictured: Fences Director & star, Denzel Washington with DoP & NFTS alumna, Charlotte Bruus Christensen)

NFTS graduate, Stuart Wilson has received his fourth Oscar nomination with a nod in the Sound Mixing category for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. In addition, at least 30 NFTS alumni worked on this year’s Oscar nominated films including Fences and Hacksaw Ridge, which are up for Best Picture. Charlotte Bruus Christensen is DoP on Fences and Evan Jolly is Additional Music Composer on Hacksaw Ridge.

Composing graduate, Dario Marianelli, who previously won an Oscar for Atonement, composed the music for Kubo and the Two Strings, which is nominated for Best Animated Feature and also includes work from Animation MA graduate Steve Warne. Travis Knight, director of Kubo and the Two Strings recently delivered a masterclass to NFTS students accompanied by Arianne Sutner, LAIKA Head of Production and a selection of puppets from the movie – read more here.

Both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Hail Caesar! are hot contenders for Best Production Design. Alumni working on Fantastic Beasts include Director, David Yates; Stand-by Art Director Huw Arthur; Sound Design Editor, Robert Malone; 2nd Unit Sound Mixer, Ivor Talbot; Pre-Vis/Generalist TD Zach du Toit and Digital Compositor David Sheldon. Hail Caesar! benefitted from legendary DoP, Roger Deakins who has been nominated for an Oscar no fewer than 13 times and is an NFTS alumnus; and Art Director, Cara Brower Leon.

Nominated films in the Best Visual Effects category include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Jungle Book. Rogue One credits the following alumni: Generalist Lead for ILM John Seru; Visual Effects Producer, Ben Lock; Art Directors, Stephen Swain & Steve Lawrence; Junior Draughtsman, Olivia Muggleton; Boom Operator, Michael Lee Taylor and First Assistant Editor, Tom Harrison-Read. The Jungle Book includes credits for: Visual Effects Production Manager, Carlos Ciudad; Lead Compositor MPC, Chris Gooch; Stereo Compositor MPC, Graham Dorey; Roto/Prep Artist, Andrew Scattergood; Digital Artist, Helen Brownell; Digital Compositor, Adam Arnot and Stereo Compositor MPC, Victor Almela.

NFTS Sound graduate, Adrian Rhodes is credited as Sound Editor/ Mixer on Pear Cider and Cigarettes, which is nominated for Best Animated Short.

Meryl Streep is nominated for Best Actress for Florence Foster Jenkins, which was written by NFTS alumnus, Nicholas Martin and credits Editor, Valerio Bonelli; Concept Artist, Elo Soode and Sound Assistant, Michael Lee Taylor.

Good luck to everyone involved; we’ll be on the edge of our seats!