Hollywood Reporter Names NFTS Top International Film School

NFTS Only UK Film School to be Included

The Hollywood Reporter has once again named the National Film and Television School (NFTS) as one of the world’s top film schools. This is the seventh consecutive year the School has been featured in the list of the top 15 international film schools and once again, the NFTS is the only UK film school to be included.

The highly respected digital and print publication, which was established in 1930 and focuses on the film television, and entertainment industries, says the following:

“THR’s overseas correspondents – in London, Hong Kong, Sydney and elsewhere – give the scoop on where to learn filmmaking in a foreign land.” The article continues to highlight the opening of state-of-the-art facilities at the NFTS: “National Film and Television School, Nick Park and Roger Deakins’ old school – in Beaconsfield, England - is undergoing a $26 million expansion.”

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director says: “We are thrilled that The Hollywood Reporter has once again recognised the NFTS as one of the world’s leading film schools. 2017 has been an incredible year so far: We have opened state-of-the-art new facilities, welcomed the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Sally Wainwright and Roger Deakins to deliver masterclasses and our students have once again done us proud winning a number of high profile awards including the Short Animation BAFTA for the fourth year in a row.”

Read the full article here.

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

NFTS TV Entertainment Project Selected for New York Television Festival

‘Against All Odds’ Created by Lucy Smith and Jamie Minty

National Film and Television School graduation TV Entertainment project, Against All Odds, created by Lucy Smith and Jamie Minty, is the only UK project to be selected for the New York Television Festival’s (NYTVF) flagship Independent Pilot Competition (IPC).

The NYTVF, which takes place in New York City on October 23rd-28th, is dedicated to identifying and nurturing top independent creative talent and connecting it with networks, studios, digital media companies, agencies, and brands. Against All Odds, which is selected in the unscripted category, is the only UK project out of the 52 digital and TV pilots chosen; only three of the selections originate from countries outside North America.

About Against All Odds [World Festival Premiere]


In Against All Odds, five ordinary strangers each choose one of five locked bags – four contain blank paper, one contains £100,000 in cash. Over three days the team must carry their bags on an epic journey across some of the UK’s toughest natural landscapes for the chance to split the money at the finish line. Who will have the grit to make it to the end? Who will be broken by the unforgiving forces of nature? And will the contestant carrying the money even cross the finish line?

The Team:

Producer, Lucy Smith; Director, Jamie Minty; Camera, Mostyn Maltpress, Matt Murnaghan, Julie Rocque; Production Co-ordinator, Sophie Halton; Location Sound, Hosea Ntaborwa, Nick Olorenshaw, Rory Rea; Composer, Louis Dodd; Dubbing Mixer, Mark Bailey; Sound Editor, Sam Boulton; Graphics, Kelvin Chim; Colourist & Online Editor, David Sheldon.

For more information on the NFTS Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA and to apply for a January 2018 start, please visit www.nfts.co.uk/tvent

Creative Digital Producing Students Work with VR at Sky

“It’s such a new medium that it’s a fairly unique thing for students to say that they’ve experienced working on VR and 360 video projects.”

(NFTS Creative Digital Producing students, Oredola Agunbiade and Tara Jasminaz)

Students on the NFTS Creative Producing for Digital Platforms Diploma, which is delivered in partnership with Sky, spend four weeks working in the Digital Content Production team at Sky as part of the course. We met with some of the students on placement – Tara Jasminaz and Oredola Agunbiade - and Production Manager, Sky VR, Marc Lamb to find out more:

 

Marc: “The Sky VR Production team at Sky create complimentary VR experiences based on original Sky programming within entertainment, sport, news, drama and comedy genres. Content ranges from 360 video production to fully interactive and immersive experiences. It’s great to have a fresh perspective from the students who aren’t constrained by any previous knowledge of the technology. It’s also a great experience for them as they get the opportunity to make contacts within the broadcast/VR industry and get involved with the end-to-end production. It’s such a new medium that it’s an exciting thing for students to say that they’ve experienced working on VR projects. The good thing about the NFTS placement is that each student comes wide a wide range of backgrounds so they tend to have a broad set of skills and experience which they get to utilise across the placement. We have a very high rate of employment with NFTS graduates from this course as well with William Samaha working in our team and Pav Janda working for Sky Sports.”

Oredola: “So far my work placement at Sky has been great, I have been given a good amount of work that’s helped to develop my thought process when it comes to creative thinking. Working at Sky is an amazing opportunity; since I’ve joined I’ve gained a lot of insight about the industry I’m going to work in when I graduate. I work in Sky Drama at the moment and it’s a really energetic and positive space to be in. The placement has influenced the kind of work I’d be interested in doing after graduating, which is creating immersive storytelling and digital interactivity in physical spaces”.

Tara: “Since starting my placement with the Sky VR team, I have already spent time shadowing both a 360 Creative and Technical Director, had a stitching session with the 360 Editor and talked through a current project with the Producer, Interactive Designer and the 3D Animator. This experience is hugely valuable as I prepare to enter the industry; I have built a good idea of the kinds of job roles involved and best practise work flows. On top of that, I have also been set a creative virtual reality brief, which I am having a lot of fun with while having access to any support I need. The working environment at Sky is really diverse and positive; I know I would like to work in a company like this with the right infrastructure to nourish young talent who work alongside experienced professionals.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the Creative Producing for Digital Platforms Diploma, which is delivered in partnership with Sky, sign up to the course open day on April 24th at www.nfts.co.uk/creativeproducing

 

 

NFTS Grad Film Finalist in Student Academy Awards!

Sweet Maddie Stone Directed by Brady Hood

NFTS graduation film, Sweet Maddie Stone, directed by Brady Hood, is a finalist in the narrative (International film schools) category of this year’s Student Academy Awards. NFTS students are a regular feature in these prestigious awards, having won an impressive six Student Academy Awards. The awards presentation takes place on Thursday October 12th at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Sweet Maddie Stone (Fiction): Directed and co-written by Brady Hood, produced by Jake Riley-Hunte and co-written by Jessica Jackson (full credits below):

Synopsis: 15-year-old Maddie Stone rules her school yard under the protection of her family name.  But after discovering her notorious father has been arrested, she has to make his bail money or lose the yard. The more Maddie fights, the more her world spirals out of control – and the closer she gets to becoming the man she’s trying to save.

Sweet Maddie Stone has won a number of awards including ‘British/ Irish Short Film of the Year’ at the London Critics Circle Film Awards. In response to the announcement, Director Brady Hood said "I'm overwhelmed, ecstatic and very humbled! This is a special moment which belongs to everyone who invested so much into this film. it even makes waking up to the warden (producer) of the prison we bunked in , playing "Black Skinhead" at 5am, all the more worth it. It's been an incredible journey and hopefully this opens doors for all those involved."

The Team: Cinematographer, Dan Atherton; Production Designer, Declan O’Brien; production Manager, Grace heath; Production Co-ordinator, Simone Tomasi; Production Assistant, Scott Eggleholfer; 3rd Assistant Director, Anna Bennett-Squire; Editor, Meredith Mantik; Production Sound Mixer, Richard Eastick Esq; Boom Operators, Simon Richert, Tom Osborn; Composer, Tim Morrish; Compositor, Victor Almela; Sound Editor & Re-recording Mixer, Payam Hosseinian; Online Editor & Colour Grader, Carl Thompson.

 

Marrying Docurealism with Award-Winning Feature Films

A Masterclass by Paul Greengrass

“Ultimately, you need to see what the film should be and go towards that with absolute conviction”

Four time BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated writer-director Paul Greengrass dropped in for a fascinating masterclass at the NFTS and regaled the students with tales of his journey from making hard-hitting documentary series for British investigative current affairs programme, World in Action, to award-winning feature films that bear his distinctive docurealistic style.

His acclaimed work includes United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, Bloody Sunday, The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, Omagh and Captain Phillips.  His BAFTAs include an award for Outstanding Contribution to Television.

The session was hosted by NFTS Director, Nik Powell, who kicked things off by selecting a clip of Paul’s first feature film, Resurrected. Resurrected is the true story of a British soldier, Philip Williams (played by David Thewlis), who is presumed dead and left behind in the Falklands but is accused of desertion when he reappears seven weeks after the war ends.

(Nik Powell, former NFTS Director & Paul Greengrass)

According to Paul, “Granada, which made World in Action, gave me a great film education. The World in Action title was actually bought from (pioneering Scottish documentary maker), John Grierson and had its roots in documentary realism. I was taught to shoot like that.” Paul learnt from the likes of seasoned broadcaster, John Slater, who incidentally taught at the NFTS in the 1970s and is described in The Guardian’s Obituary report as ‘nurturing a generation’ while ‘retaining his radical roots.’ Paul said: “John was a complete maniac, but I loved him! I learned from him that the moving picture has its own life but if you allow it to spew everywhere, it has no form. Knowing how to engage with that paradox is the essence of filmmaking. You have to listen to where the film wants to go but also be the master of it. World In Action gave me a language. The challenge for me was staying with that aesthetic and building in a fictional camera. Even when I made Bourne, I tried to use that language through employing a ‘knowing’ and an ‘unknowing’ camera.”

While Paul was at Granada, he developed a desire to make movies and move into feature films. He came up with the idea for Resurrection and felt “it was a story that spoke to Britain at that time. When I met David Thewlis who stars in Resurrection, it was the first time I met an actor!” Paul said: “I was advised at the time to never treat actors like human marionettes. Your relationship with actors is the most important bond you have when making a film. When you make a film, you’re in a box. It doesn’t matter if it’s a student film or a big movie, there’s always a box or set of restrictions whether it’s resources, practicality, space or time. Everyone can solve certain problems but it’s the actor who is the one person in the equation that can solve all problems in a heartbeat.”

Paul gave an incredible example to illustrate this when he was shooting a scene in Captain Philips that just wouldn’t go right. “After shooting it every f****** way possible, we had a conversation with the captain of the ship, who advised that Tom Hanks’ character would have gone to the medics room after being rescued covered in blood. We used the ship’s actual medic in the scene who stepped in brilliantly despite being in awe of Tom Hanks. Something happened and you could feel the intensity as you were shooting it. Great actors are like water diviners, they know where the truth is!”

It took Paul a while to build the confidence to walk away from a project he knew wasn’t right. He said: “Ultimately, you need to see what the film should be and go towards that with absolute conviction and have an unwavering desire to control it. Nothing must deflect you from that. If you’re going to make films successfully, you have to develop an inner core that says, don’t f*** me around but you can’t develop that by starting off with f*** me arrogance. You need to listen and ask, what do you think? You won’t develop the character or muscles to make your point of view prevail if you don’t collaborate and work with people.”

After a clip of Bloody Sunday about the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland, Nik asked Paul about the techniques he used such as fading to black in between shots. Paul explained: “I wanted to convey how events spiralled into each other like a macabre violent ballet. Bloody Sunday was cut beautifully by Clare Douglas; the fade to black gave it an energy and clarity and a sense of almost watching strobing images, creating a rhythm”.

Paul employed the same sense of docurealism when making United 93, which chronicles events on United Airlines Flight 93 when it was hijacked during the September 11 attacks. “We decided from the outset that we would shoot entirely in the aeroplane and so be bound by the physical space and real time experience. We had the camera on a bungee which gave a sense of tremendous fluidity married with realism in the confined space. It was an incredibly inspiring filmmaking experience. It felt like we were telling the truth about it.”  

If you would like to attend masterclasses like this one, applications are open for a range of MA and Diploma courses from our Digital Effects MA to our Diploma in Production Accounting – for the full list of courses starting in January 2018, click here.

3 NFTS Students & Grads ‘Ones to Watch’ at Edinburgh TV Festival

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We are extremely proud to announce that three NFTS students and graduates are finalists in this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival Ones to Watch (OTW) talent scheme. NFTS Directing and Producing Television Entertainment graduate, Abigail Dankwa; Factual Development and Production Diploma graduate, Dershe Samaria; and current Factual Development and Production Diploma student, Chitsidzo Kurangwa have all been selected for the prestigious programme.

The OTW scheme, which was founded in 1994, is aimed at those who already have three or more years’ experience in TV and are looking to make the next big step in their career.

(L-R Abigail Dankwa Chitsidzo Kurangwa Dershe Samaria)

The OTW candidates will enjoy a series of exclusive workshops and masterclasses at the TV Festival, which takes place between the 23rd and 25th of August, led by prominent industry executives and creatives. In addition, they will be showcased to over 2000 delegates at the TV Festival, and will receive 12 months of mentoring from the best in the business.

Campbell Glennie, Director, Talent Schemes, Edinburgh International TV Festival, says: “We have long been committed to finding and nurturing the very best talent from across the country and a range of backgrounds. Every year, we are amazed by the standard of talent and this year has been no exception. The final 30 were selected based not only on their drive and enthusiasm, but also on their portfolio to date and their potential to go far in the TV industry.”

Applications are open now until the 7th September for the NFTS part-time Factual Development and Production Diploma, which is delivered in partnership with Discovery and starts in January – more information on how to apply at www.nfts.co.uk/factual There are also a few places remaining for our Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA, which also starts in January – more information at www.nfts.co.uk/tvent

 

3 NFTS Grad Films Semi Finalists in Student Academy Awards!

Perched, Sweet Maddie Stone & Tête-à-Tête

An incredible three NFTS graduation films – Perched, Sweet Maddie Stone and Tête-à-Tête - have been selected from over 1500 films to reach the semi-final stage of the Student Academy Awards. The awards presentation takes place on Thursday October 12th at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Tête-à-Tête (animation): Directed, written and designed by Natasha Tonkin and produced by Rae Erlingsdóttir (full credits below).

Synopsis: A young woman visits her family. Over the weekend tensions flare, whilst technology provides an easy respite. As Kerri's gaze shifts from the screen, she discovers a deeper kind of connection.

Tête-à-Tête has also been selected for Annecy, Anima Mundi, International Animation Film Festival and Supertoon, and was shortlisted for the BAFTA International Student Film Awards.

The Team: Cinematographer, Donna Wade; Editor, Fiona Brands; Production Manager, Daniella Rice; Sound Designer & Re-recording Mixer, Sashko Potter Micevski; Compositor, Colourist and Online Editor, David Sheldon.

Perched (animation): Directed by Liam Harris and produced by Elina Litvinova (full credits below).

Synopsis: Hamish Fint, a crotchety old man used to a life of seclusion inside his submarine balanced precariously atop a mountain, struggles to maintain equilibrium when an unwelcome visiting seagull rocks his world.

Perched has won multiple awards including ‘Best Animation’ at London Indie Fest and the ‘GFA Jury Award’ at the US Hollywood Int’l Film Festival. 

The Team: Writers, Nathaniel Price, Eoin Patrick Doran; Cinematographer, Dan Atherton; Production Designer, Jan Gronczewski; Production Manager, Paul Smith; Editor, Sian Clarke; VFX Lead Compositor, Victor Almela; VG Lead Artist, Stevie Gill; Sound Editor & Re-recording Mixer, Payam Hosseinian; Composure, Victor Hugo Fumagalli; Online Editor & Colour Grader, Carl Thompson.

Sweet Maddie Stone (Fiction): Directed and co-written by Brady Hood, produced by Jake Riley-Hunte and co-written by Jessica Jackson (full credits below):

Synopsis: 15-year-old Maddie Stone rules her school yard under the protection of her family name.  But after discovering her notorious father has been arrested, she has to make his bail money or lose the yard. The more Maddie fights, the more her world spirals out of control – and the closer she gets to becoming the man she’s trying to save.

Sweet Maddie Stone has won a number of awards including ‘British/ Irish Short Film of the Year’ at the London Critics Circle Film Awards.

The Team: Cinematographer, Dan Atherton; Production Designer, Declan O’Brien; production Manager, Grace heath; Production Co-ordinator, Simone Tomasi; Production Assistant, Scott Eggleholfer; 3rd Assistant Director, Anna Bennett-Squire; Editor, Meredith Mantik; Production Sound Mixer, Richard Eastick Esq; Boom Operators, Simon Richert, Tom Osborn; Composer, Tim Morrish; Compositor, Victor Almela; Sound Editor & Re-recording Mixer, Payam Hosseinian; Online Editor & Colour Grader, Carl Thompson.

If you would like to follow in our filmmakers footsteps, applications are open for a range of MA and Diploma courses for a January 2018 start including an MA in Digital Effects, Television Entertainment and Production Technology - more information on how to apply here.

Sir Richard Branson Inspires NFTS Students at Masterclass

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"The lesson is to keep going until you get the lucky break, and then pile in there!" – Sir Richard Branson

In a sparkling encounter that ran for over an hour, legendary entrepreneur and Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson took questions and cracked jokes with scores of students from the NFTS in a transatlantic Q+A hosted by the school’s outgoing Director Nik Powell (assisted by head of Producing and head of Creative Business for Entrepreneurs and Executives, Chris Auty).

Speaking from Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands to students in the NFTS cinema on Wednesday, Branson offered practical support to some students and networking opportunities to others, whilst taking questions and sharing business and personal lessons reaching back to his days as a schoolboy. 

He personally complimented Nik Powell, his one-time business partner, on his remarkable achievements at the school, in a warm exchange.

Branson, who sold his cherished Virgin Records company for almost $1bn in the early ’90s in order to save his then-struggling Virgin Atlantic airline business, talked about personal and business lessons, old and new, that included:

Saying yes or no.
I always prefer to say yes to something new and exciting, even though I know it may not succeed… In fact one of my lessons is that failures and challenges can still be good for the brand — they can reinforce its quality and value. That’s certainly true in the UK — though perhaps less so in the USA…

Filmmaking and business
We made a classic film in 1984 — the film of Orwell’s classic novel ‘1984’. It was the same year as the start up of Virgin Atlantic. The film went THREE times over budget and we ended up in a very public wrangle with director [NFTS alumnus] Mike Radford. I wanted to include a music track from the Eurythmics — simply to save our investment — and it caused a fuss. We got there in the end.  But that over-run on costs nearly killed the whole Virgin business at a critical moment….

Cash
There are many, many more investors out there looking for new businesses today than when Nik and I started up. That’s all I can say.

Name and Brand
Imagine: I originally wanted to call Virgin ‘Slipped Disc Records’ . That could have been our brand. I’m not sure it would have worked for the airline business! 

Social issues and personal conscience
I’ve always been involved in social issues and I still am today: whether it’s about the death penalty or the treatment of drug addiction rather than its punishment….

Over 40 years ago, through my sister, I was asked to buy the London night-club HEAVEN, as someone who could pledge to keep it gay forever. I have always been vocal on gay rights. I did it. We finally handed it over in a management buy-out to the staff last year, at their request.

To-Do lists
I have always had them. Today they just tend to be a bit bigger. Top of list today: ‘how to fix rocket to top of jumbo jet for launch’..

Dyslexia
When I was a kid at school I’d look at a blackboard and go blank. I ended up leaving school at 15. But it made me stronger:  it also made me a better delegator. I simplify everything. There can be no jargon. We have a rule in-house: if Richard understands it, anyone can.

Competition
Some sectors are not just competitive: the companies already there — Air B ’n’ B, Coke, Google — have VERY deep pockets. So if you are going up against them you'd better have something very UNIQUE and very CLEAR!

Partnerships
They come in many shapes and sizes and for different reasons. British Airways had an American partner and could have killed us. 
So we ended up in a terrific partnership with Delta. Who would have guessed?

Personal journey to success
We made the best of our lucky breaks. The lesson is to keep going UNTIL you get the lucky break, and then PILE IN there!!!!!

People
A company is just a group of people. Planes are planes. Look at what has happened on the transatlantic route in the last 20 years: most of the airlines have gone out of business. But we are still there. When we started I hoped that the spirit would still be there in the business 20 years later. It is, and we are still there. It’s all about people.

If you are have a great Creative Business idea, our Creative Business for Entrepreneurs and Executives MA could be for you. Apply now and start January 2018 - more info at www.nfts.co.uk/creativebusiness

 

Brand New Channel 4 Rose Building & 4K Sky Studios at the NFTS Unveiled

Apply for TV Entertainment, Digital Effects and Games MAs now!

Leading industry representatives from the film, television and games industries turned out in their droves to toast the opening of the £20 million  development of the School including the ‘Channel 4 Rose’ building (named after the  late Senior Commissioning Editor for Fiction at Channel 4, David Rose) and ‘Sky Studios at the NFTS’, a brand new 4K digital content training studio and hub.

The ‘Channel 4 Rose’ building houses our cutting-edge facilities for the Digital Effects MA and Games Design & Development MA. ‘Sky Studios at the NFTS’ is home to our new 4k television studio, which will predominantly benefit our Directing and Producing Television Entertainment MA. The NFTS is the only UK film school to have its own TV studio built to this standard. (If you would like to study in this state-of-the-art environment with Industry standard equipment, than apply now for one of the last remaining places on these courses. More info at www.nfts.co.uk/tvent, www.nfts.co.uk/games and www.nfts.co.uk/dfx).

Lord David Puttnam was also announced as the School’s new Life President to replace the late Lord Richard Attenborough.

The Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, the long-serving former Minister of State for Digital and Culture at the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), unveiled the new buildings alongside Channel 4 Chief Executive, David Abraham; Gary Davey, Managing Director, Content at Sky and NFTS Deputy Chairman, Stephen Louis.

Following the unveiling, guests were invited to go on a tour of the School and experience:

  • The new 4K multi-camera digital content training studio and hub, guided by Head of Television, David G Croft
  • Cinematography and Design departments, led by Co-Head of Cinematography, Stuart Harris and Head of Production Design, Caroline Amies
  • A glimpse into the worlds of animation and model making,  led by Head of Animation, Robert Bradbrook
  • An experience of VR and 360 video, led by Head of Games, Alan Thorn and Head of Digital Effects, John Rowe.

Guests were then treated to champagne and canapes while chatting to staff and alumni.

 

NFTS Games Students Win UKIE Game Jam

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(NFTS Game Jam Winning Team. From left to right: Shuaiying 'Shane' Hou, Daisy Fernandez, Michael Murray, Joel Marshall)

NFTS Games Design and Development MA students have won ‘Best Game’ at the highly competitive Ukie Student Game Jam organised by UK Interactive Entertainment, the only trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry. (If you want to be part of our exciting Games department, apply now and start in January 2018! More info at www.nfts.co.uk/games)

The Game Jam saw teams from Ukie Student institutes competing against each other to create the best game in 48 hours and win the coveted Ukie Student Game Jam trophy. The theme of the game jam was announced at 9:30am on the first day and then teams had 48 hours to brainstorm, design and complete their game. A panel of games industry judges awarded the trophy to ‘My Body, My Choice’ developed by NFTS students including Michael Murray, Shane Hou, Gracie Drake, Daisy Fernandez and Joel Marshall.

About ‘My Body, My Choice’

My Body, My Choice is a good-humoured side-scrolling platform game. The player takes on the role of a disembodied skull, collects body parts as they go, navigates the environment and builds a body.

Head of NFTS Games, Alan Thorn says: “I am thrilled that NFTS Games Students have won the UKIE Game Jam ‘Best Game’ Award with their game ‘My Body, My Choice’. The UKIE Game Jam is a highly prestigious event for students throughout the UK, and the games industry more widely, for showcasing talent and excellence. There is a lot of skilful, friendly competition involved, and this award reflects the great work our students do as well as the creative climate running throughout the NFTS. By coming on our games course, students immerse themselves in a multidisciplinary environment, work with students from other departments, attend key industry events, and receive extensive guidance and support from industry expert tutors.”

Playthrough here

Apply now for the NFTS Games Design and Development MA – www.nfts.co.uk/games

 

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