Our credits tell the story.

NFTS students create short films inspired by fashion

Winning Film to be shown at cinemas in association with Jigsaw

London, 13th October: The National Film and Television School (NFTS) has teamed up with leading fashion retailer, Jigsaw to launch a filmmaking project as part of its ‘Bridges to Industry’ programme, which is designed to help students get ahead in the creative industries.

NFTS students and graduates were given the opportunity to create a short film that ‘celebrates, educates and elevates’ fashion brand Jigsaw’s commitment to product creation, craft and design.

The four short films premiered on Wednesday 12th October at Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium store at an exclusive in-store launch event and the winning film, Teach a Man to Fish, is to be shown at selected Everyman cinemas from mid-October. The films are available to view on Jigsaw’s online hub today and there will be in-store screenings over the weekend to coincide with Jigsaw’s Autumn Winter 16 collection, which is inspired by two dimensional and three dimensional views, expressed through the lens of a photographer’s camera and the hands of a sculptor.

About the films:

Teach a Man to FishDirector, Tom Day; Producer Ian Packard; Cinematographer, Daniel Atherton

In a highly unusual scenario a fashionable greenhorn (newest crewman on the fishing boat) has found his way to a crab fishing trawler on the English coast. The boat’s crew are losing the will to continue their work in a fading fishing industry. Predictably at first, the fashionable addition to the boat doesn’t fit in, but his work ethic is strong. As the greenhorn learns from the crew, the crew’s attitude and luck starts to change too…

Ian Packard, Producer: “This was arguably one of the most ambitious projects we have ever tried to pull off. It’s a testament to the NFTS alumni who helped us with this project; everyone had a great approach to fight the elements, the waves and the lack of working space on the boat to get what we needed.”

The Fabric of our Lives - Director/Producer, Grace Harper-Brighouse; Co-director/Producers Anna Snowball and Eleanor Mortimer

Poignant short documentaries exploring the emotional connections we have with our clothes, and the memories they can evoke.  Real Jigsaw customers tell personal stories of love and loss, recreating moments captured in old photographs.

Time is Forever - Co-Screenwriter/ Co-Director, Joasia Goldyn and Edurne Bargueno; Producer, Khaled Gad

Atmospheric comedy - Dr White runs a therapy session to help a group of fashionista vampires understand the value of timelessness and quality.

The One and Only - Director, Weronika Tofilska; Producer, Natalia Guarín; Cinematographer Krzysztof Trojnar

Hannah and Olivia, Lily and Alice, Sophie and Eloise are identical twins, but although on the first glance the sisters can be hard to tell from one another, in fact there is nothing identical about them. The more you get to know them, the more you realise how uniquely different they are. In the series of simple documentary portraits we hear them talking about the unique bond they share and how through years they found their individual taste and style. 

Peter Ruis, CEO, Jigsaw: “We are extremely excited to work with students from a film school as prestigious as the NFTS. At Jigsaw, we fully embrace design and craftsmanship as part of our Creator’s Project and this scheme is a natural extension of that. We challenged the students to bring the truth behind Jigsaw to life through their storytelling abilities and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.“

Says Nik Powell, NFTS director: “We are very proud of our Bridges to Industry programme, which is a key part of our focus on giving students the tools to be successful in the industry once they leave the school. Jigsaw as an iconic British brand is an excellent partner for us and the students loved working on the project. We think the films speak for themselves and really nail the brief set by Jigsaw.”

For more information and to watch the films, please visit www.jigsaw-online.com/nfts and to apply to the National Film and Television School, please visit www.nfts.co.uk

If you are interested in working with great brands like Jigsaw, why not apply for our MA in Marketing, Sales, Distibution and Exhibition, which starts in January 2017.

ENDS

Press contacts:

National Film and Television School: Vicky Hewlett - vhewlett:nfts.co.uk / 01494 731403

Jigsaw: Louise Worrell - louise.worrell@jigsaw-uk.co.uk /  020 7042 2777

 

NFTS to Build 4k Digital Content Training Studio

Secures Local Enterprise Partnership Funding

London, 5th October 2016: The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces it has secured funding of £1.5m from Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) to build a new Digital Content Production Training Studio. The studio will be one of the most advanced dedicated training facilities in the UK and will have the ability to shoot, record and stream live content in high definition 4k.

The studio is expected to open early 2017 coinciding with the new student intake.

The studio will benefit students on a range of postgraduate courses including the new NFTS Production Technology MA, which has been introduced to tackle a shortage of broadcast engineers and fill a skills gap in the industry. Top technologist and former BBC Scotland Head of Technology, John Maxwell Hobbs, has been appointed to lead the course. Applications are open for the MA now until October 13th 2016 and the course will commence in January 2017.

This Digital Content Production Studio Facility and Hub will enable NFTS to train future generations of broadcast engineers; digital content producers; directors and craft professionals who are comfortable with the latest techniques, equipment and software that employers require. Students will be able to produce a wide range of digital content alongside high-end TV entertainment, sports and games programming and the studio will be integrated with post-production systems. Graphics workstations will also be linked to the studio.

Andrew M. Smith, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be working with the National Film and Television School and supporting such exciting new talent. We want to enhance the creative industries sector and put Bucks on the global map as we are doing with other high profile institutions in our county such as Pinewood Studios. Buckinghamshire is already at the forefront of the creative industries and has the highest proportion of employment in this sector in the UK with over 16,000 jobs across 3,800 businesses.”

Nik Powell, NFTS director says: “We are incredibly grateful for the LEP’s support and can’t wait to get the new studio up and running. We are working with a range of partners to ensure that this project delivers key systems and tools so that our students start their careers with the skills and knowledge that broadcasters need and value. We have forged exceptional links with broadcasters thanks to the reputation and track record of the school and the graduates it produces.”

Applications are open now until October 31st 2016 for the Production Technology MA and the course starts in January 2017.

ENDS

Contacts:

Vicky Hewlett, Head of PR and Communications, NFTS:

vhewlett@nfts.co.uk  

Richard Burton, Communications Manager, BTVLEP:

richard.burton@btvlep.co.uk , call 01494 568933

About the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) prides itself in creating a vibrant and competitive economy in Buckinghamshire by establishing the right conditions to support businesses to invest, grow and thrive. Our strength lies in the resilient balance between our enviable environment and an over-representation in all the Plan for Growth sectors, including life sciences, space, creative industries, and advanced engineering. We are not just business-led but driven by entrepreneurs, as our strategy and projects are shaped by thousands of local businesses through our Local Growth Hub, Buckinghamshire Business First. It is therefore no accident that we are the creative film engine for James Bond and Star Wars at Pinewood Studios, the home of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Birthplace of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville.

About The National Film and Television School

The NFTS is one of the World's leading film, games and television schools. It has been cited by some media as one of the top five film schools globally and by one as the No.1 international film school. In 1967, the government recommended the creation of a national film school for the UK and in 1971 the National Film School opened its doors for the first time focussing on postgraduate education. In the 1980s, the school officially changed its name to the National Film and Television School to incorporate the demand for courses in television production and has since added games to its remit.

The NFTS prides itself on producing world-class, award-wining industry leaders. It has more Student Academy Awards (Foreign Category) than any other film school. NFTS students and graduates also regularly win BAFTAs and have won the short film category for the last three years. Other prestigious accolades include the Grierson Award for Best Student Documentary, which NFTS students have won for the last three years as well as multiple Royal Television Society student awards and Annecy Animation Awards. NFTS graduates have gone on to win seven Oscars and 100 BAFTAs with alumni including cinematographer, Roger Deakins (12 times Oscar nominee); BAFTA winning director, David Yates, (best known for directing the Harry Potter films); Oscar winning animator Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli among others. The NFTS is a registered charity (313429). For more information see www.nfts.co.uk

 

 

 

NFTS Film Curating Students LFF Top Picks

Top Ten Must See Films at the BFI London Film Festival

Choosing which films to view at a high profile film festival like the BFI London Film Festival can be daunting; a grand total of 193 fiction, 52 documentary features and 144 short films will be screened at this year’s event, a range which will give even the most experienced film enthusiast a challenge when deciding what to see.  

So to help you, students on our Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA have applied their curatorial skills to pick their top ten must see films at this year’s festival which kicks off today and runs until the 16th October. Selecting, programming and reviewing films lies at the heart of their studies, with many of the students aspiring to work as curators and programmers at festivals when they graduate. Here are their most highly anticipated and recommended films:

1- PATERSON (Dir. Jim Jarmusch)

Jarmusch's latest. Very well reviewed and not to be missed (Nicolas Raffin)

2-AQUARIUS (Dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho)

The enigmatic director Mendonça Filho's second film once again explores the pitfalls of urban transformation and development in a middle class Brazilian neighbourhood. (David Perrin)

3-TONI ERDMANN (Dir. Maren Ade)

Cannes 2016’s unanimous 'breakout' hit, i.e. causing hardened critics to break out in spontaneous applause, twice! (Maria Bolocan)

4-THE WOMAN WHO LEFT (Dir. Lav Diaz)

The prolific Filipino master of slow cinema conquered Venice with his latest film. His predilection for lengthy features as a way to protest against Hollywood-imposed creative constraints has been feared as much as admired. At just three hours and a half long, its unique vision earned praise as his most accessible work to date. (Roberto González)

5-THE HANDMAIDEN (Dir. Park Chan-wook)

Park Chan-wook's adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel, this erotic thriller revolves around a plot to defraud a Japanese heiress, replacing British class anxiety with the tensions between the occupier and the occupied. (Mark Donaldson)

6-BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK (Dir. Anocha Suwichakornpong)

Taking the interview of a political activist of the 70s as a starting point, the film then becomes a cinematic journey using different styles to explore aspects of Thailand’s history and society. Promising to be a challenging but rewarding treat.  (Maureen Gueunet)

7-CERTAIN WOMEN (Dir. Kelly Reichardt)

Kelly Reichardt's triptych of women in the Northwest dealing with longing and misunderstanding. (Andrew Espe)

8-THE RED TURTLE (Dir. Michael Dudok De Wit)

Studio Ghibli's first international co-production, directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit in his feature debut. This hypnotising fable of ravishing simplicity is a heart-warming ode to the cycle of life. (Irene Silvera Frischknecht)

9-I HAD NOWHERE TO GO (Dir. Douglas Gordon)

A new documentary about the legendary American independent filmmaker Jonas Mekas by artist Douglas Gordon with a focus on his early years as refugee from his native Lithuania. (David Perrin)

10 (tie)- MOONLIGHT (Dir. Barry Jenkins)

This acclaimed coming of age drama has been the toast of this year's festival circuit for its visual poetry and frank observations on race, sexuality and adolescence.

and MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Dir. Kenneth Lonergan)

Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan crafts a masterful drama of loss, centred around an outstanding performance from Casey Affleck. (Andrew Espe)

If you are inspired by our students’ choices or think you could do better, why not apply for our Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA, which is delivered in partnership with the BFI? Applications are open now and the two year course starts in January 2017. Over 100 of our students and graduates have been credited at this year’s festival; find out more here.

 

NFTS Partners with AMV BBDO to Find the Next Generation of Filmmaking Talent

Announces Mars-NFTS Scholarship to Launch the Flare Studio Foundation

London, October 6, 2016: The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces it is the launch film school partner for world-leading creative agency network BBDO’s new crowdsourcing platform, Flare Studio.

As part of the partnership, AMV BBDO and founding partner Mars announce the first of their Flare Foundation initiatives, the Mars-NFTS scholarship – two £25,000 scholarships for a place at the NFTS to start in January 2017. 

Nik Powell, NFTS director says: “Flare Studio and the concept of curated crowdsourcing is an incredibly exciting and progressive idea that our students are most certainly going to benefit from. We are extremely grateful for Mars and AMV BBDO’s support in giving our students this opportunity as well as the scholarship.”

He added, “We take this area of creative filmmaking very seriously and have recently announced a new Directing Commercials and Promos Diploma, which will start in January 2017, and we expect the students who enrol on this exciting new course to be very involved in our work with Flare Studio.”

A minimum of twelve NFTS students and/or graduates will be selected by Flare Studio and NFTS to receive places in the upper tiers of Flare Studio and will be able to pitch for the best creative opportunities. Creatives receive payment to write a treatment if their creative approach is shortlisted and they win the commission if their treatment is picked.

AMV BBDO will provide live briefs and industry executives to teach sessions on both NFTS’s Directing Commercials and Promos Diploma, which is supported by D&AD, the Global Association for Creative Advertising and Design Awards, and Flare Studio workshops.

Said Ian Pearman, CEO AMV BBDO, “Part of the platform’s aim is to invest in the next generation of filmmakers by supplying grants and training, and we are excited to announce the Mars-NFTS scholarship as part of this endeavour.”

Added Leonid Sudakov, Global Chief Marketing Officer for Mars Petcare, “Mars brands are committed to fostering creative talent and supporting the global content-making community.  The Flare Studio Foundation is one way we can give back to these aspiring creative talents.”

Applications are open for the NFTS Directing Commercials and Promos Diploma until October 13th.

Further details regarding the launch of Flare Studio can be found in the press release attached.  For more information on all courses available at the National Film and Television School, please visit www.nfts.co.uk

ENDS

Press contacts:

NFTS – Vicky Hewlett – vhewlett@nfts.co.uk

About The National Film and Television School

The NFTS is one of the world's leading film, games and television schools. It has been cited by some media as one of the top five film schools globally and by one as the No.1 international film school. In 1967, the government recommended the creation of a national film school for the UK and in 1971 the National Film School opened its doors for the first time focussing on postgraduate education. In the 1980s, the school officially changed its name to the National Film and Television School to incorporate the demand for courses in television production and has since added games to its remit.

NFTS prides itself on producing world-class, award-winning industry leaders. It has more Student Academy Awards (Foreign Category) than any other film school. NFTS students and graduates also regularly win BAFTAs and have won the short film category for the last three years. Other prestigious accolades include the Grierson Award for Best Student Documentary, which NFTS students have won for the last three years as well as multiple Royal Television Society student awards and Annecy Animation Awards. NFTS graduates have gone on to win seven Oscars and 100 BAFTAs with alumni including cinematographer, Roger Deakins (12 times Oscar nominee); BAFTA winning director, David Yates, (best known for directing the Harry Potter films); Oscar winning animator Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli among others. The NFTS is a registered charity (313429). For more information see www.nfts.co.uk

 

 

 

100 NFTS Grads credited at the London Film Festival

Sign up for NFTS Film School Programme at LFF

This year’s BFI London Film Festival kicks off on the 5th of October and will be showing no fewer than 28 feature films and 12 shorts which our grads and students have worked on. It's the second year running that we've had over 100 graduates and students credited on films showing at the festival. There are also two NFTS masterclasses available for students to sign up to as part of the LFF film school programme. These are Film Programming: Brave New Worlds on the 13th October and Case Study of a New British Film on the 14th October.

Films on show include the highly anticipated Lady Macbeth, American Honey and A Moving Image, which includes credits from no fewer than seven NFTS students and graduates (Writer/Director, Shola Amoo; Producer, Rienkje Attoh, Supervising Sound Editor, Nikola Medic; Colourist, Sara Buxton; Associate Producer, Fawzia Mahmood (current student);  Composer, Segun Akinola (current student) and Editor, Mdhamiri Á Nkemi (current student).

A Moving Image director, Shola Amoo says:

"After having our world premiere in competition at the 2016 LA Film Festival and touring the film around the States, it's exciting to finally bring it home for our European premiere at the London Film Festival. This is a film that explores gentrification, which I perceive to be one of the most pertinent issues of our time. Whether it's in London, Berlin, New York or LA, there's a conversation that needs to be had and I'm looking forward to having it in my home city during the festival. My experience at NFTS was quite liberating in the sense that during the course I was allowed to follow any particular path I wanted with a degree of support and encouragement.”

The film’s producer, Rienkje Attoh says:

"We're so excited to be having our European premiere at the London Film Festival. I grew up in Brixton and Shola in Elephant and Castle and it was very important to us that we captured what has been taking place in our city. Gentrification is not only a London problem - it's worldwide and we need to start taking its effects seriously."

"Having a background in news always helped develop my sharp nose for a story and gentrification was definitely a 'big' story. My time at the NFTS was a creative playground where I learned a lot about my craft as a film producer. I formed close bonds with some very talented people and was able to create films ranging from fiction and documentary to animation utilising the school's state-of-the art facilities. While at the film school I also became one of three recipients of the inaugural Prince William Scholarship supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros."

NFTS short fiction, MIA, is also being screened at the festival. The short which is about Mia who gives birth to a baby girl who grows up at an unnaturally fast pace:(Writer/Director, Maria Martinez Bayona; Producer, Marie-Elena Dyche; DoP, Krzysztof Trojnar; Designer, Joelle Aoun; Production manager, Cat McNamara; Editor, Joseph Comar; Sound Mixer, Pan Papagiannopoulos; Boom Operator, Tim Parris; Composer, Marina Elderton; VFX Supervisor, Saruta Puff Pisanwalerd; Sound Editor/Rerecording Mixer, Eleanor Nicholls; and Online Editor/Grade, Carl Thompson.)

Full list of features with NFTS credits:

American Honey; Foley Editor, Dario Swade

Apprentice: DoP, Benoit Soler; Sound Effects Editor, Maiken Hansen; Supervising Sound Editor, Ting Li Lim; Co-Composer Matt Kelly

Aquarius: Editor, Eduardo Serrano

The Autopsy of Jane Doe: DoP, Roman Osin; Junior Draughtsman, Jacqueline Blundell; Additional Photography, Vanessa Whyte

City of Tiny Lights: DoP, Felix Wiedemann

Ethel & Ernest [Anim]: Editor, Richard Overall; Assistant Sound Editor/Foley Editor, Peter Warnock

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

Lake Bodom: Line Producer, Elina Litvinova

Letters from Baghdad [Doc]: Cinematography, Gary Clarke

The Levelling: DoP, Nanu Segal; Camera Operator, Sarah Bartles-Smith; Boom Operator, Joanna Andrews; Musician Chris White

London Town: Production Designer, Laura Ellis-Cricks; Art Director, Thalia Ecclestone

Mindhorn: DoP, David Luther; Assistant Art Director, Jacqueline Blundell; Sound Design Editor, Robert Malone; Sound Assistant/2nd Unit Recordist, Michael Sinden; Boom Operators, Caroline Singh, Howard Peryer & Thomas Markwick

A Monster Calls: VFX Artist, Cat Harris

A Moving Image: Writer/Director, Shola Amoo; Producer, Rienkje Attoh; Supervising Sound Editor, Nikola Medic; Colourist, Sara Buxton; Associate Producer, Fawzia Mahmood (current student); Composer, Segun Akinola (current student); Editor, Mdhamiri Á Nkemi (current student)

The Pass: Co-Producer, Kurban Kassam; Art Director, Paul Savulescu; Camera Operator, Nick Cooke;  Digital Compositor/Colorist ,Sara Buxton; Production Coordinator, Catherine McNamara; Assistant Editors, Scott Clements & Jamie Kataky (current student)

Prevenge: Editor, Matteo Bini

Pyromanen (Pyromaniac): Director, Erik Skjoldbjaerg

A Quiet Passion: Writer/Director, Terence Davies

Rock Dog: Animator, Ben Sanders

The Secret Scripture: Supervising Sound Editor, Paul Davies

Spaceship: DoP, Liam Iandoli; Editor, Carmela Iandoli; Supervising Sound Editor, Maiken Hansen

Their Finest: Editor, Lucia Zucchetti; Associate Editor, Fiona DeSouza

Trespass Against Us: DoP, Eduard Grau

Una: Editor, Nick Fenton; Sound Mixer, Danny Hambrook

A United Kingdom: Creative Executive for Pathé Productions, Len Rowles; Digital Compositor, Graham Dorey

Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey: CG Lead, James Brennan-Craddock; Compositor, Jorge Canada Escorihuela: R&D Samuel Walsh

We Are X: Sound Mixer, Robert Bourke

Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?: Development Executive for the BFI, Jamie Wolpert

Wild: Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor, Rainer Heesch

 

Why the Industry needs more Broadcast Engineers

Production Technology MA in Focus; Without Technology, the Stories can’t be told

 

Top technologist and former BBC Scotland Head of Technology John Maxwell Hobbs has been appointed to lead the National Film and Television School Production Technology MA. The Masters has been introduced to tackle a shortage of broadcast engineers and fill a looming skills gap in the industry. We asked John about the reasons for the skills gap, technological advances in broadcast engineering and who should apply for the new MA which starts in January 2017.

Why do you think there is a skills gap in broadcast engineering in the television industry?

In the past, most of the training in broadcast engineering was done by the major broadcasters themselves.  Over the years, more and more actual production has been shifted to independent production companies, who work with freelancers, so they don’t have the structure to provide this sort of long term development. 

Publicly funded broadcasters have traditionally had significant training programmes and engineers who were educated by them regularly made their way into the commercial world.  With the significant budget cuts now being imposed on these public organisations, they can no longer afford to do this sort of training, and the commercial broadcasters don’t have the resources to take up the slack.  Our new Masters programme is intended to fill this gap.

What kinds of technological advances do you foresee in broadcast engineering?

We’re seeing the merging of the worlds of broadcasting and IT. More and more functions are migrating from dedicated hardware to being software-based, and we’re seeing a move from traditional baseband transmission to IP-based approaches.  This is making broadcasting more adaptable and making it possible to capture the world in new ways. 

Although the underlying technologies may be changing, it’s still important for broadcast engineers to be sensitive to the needs of production, and to have an appreciation of the unique qualities of the industry.

How has the broadcast engineering role evolved and how does the engineer interact with the creatives (director, producer, writer etc.)?

First off, it’s time to drop the word, “creatives.”  Everyone involved in production from the engineers to the actors are, “creatives.” For a long time, broadcast engineers were viewed simply as the boffins who configured the kit and then repaired it when it came back smashed to pieces. We’re now moving into a world where close interaction between engineers and production is imperative. A camera may look pretty much the same as it always has, but it’s a totally different creature now - it’s now a complex computer with a lens. We are moving into a model is much like music production has been for years - in that world, engineers are viewed as the people who help the musicians and producers realise their aesthetic vision. 

Which undergraduate degrees/ studies are suitable for applicants to the NFTS Production Technology MA?

Almost any background is suitable as long as you have a keen interest in the intersection of technology and creativity.  Of course, a background in computer science or electrical engineering are always useful, but I’ve known excellent broadcast engineers with backgrounds in philosophy and music. 

How can you stand out from the crowd when applying to study Production Technology at the NFTS?

We’d love to see people with a true interest in making things and delivering things.  Production is a high pressure, real-time environment. If a show is scheduled to go out at 9:00pm on a Saturday night, that’s when it goes out. And then you go on to the next one.  There are no “shipping delays” in broadcasting.

How do I apply?

Applications are open until October 31st 2016 and the course starts in January 2017. Please visit https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/production-technology to apply.

 


 

First NFTS Open day at BAFTA a Big Hit!

Noel Clarke advises prospective applicants to ‘know their audience’

The National Film and Television School’s first open day at BAFTA in London was a huge success with a full house of prospective applicants attending to find out more about the courses and the school.

NFTS tutors and students were on hand to give guests the lowdown on the postgraduate courses including some of our new MA’s and Diplomas: Production Technology; Marketing, Distribution, Sales and Exhibition; Directing Commercials and Promos; Graphics and Titles for Television and Film; and Directing and Producing Natural History and Science.

There were also interactive sessions from the digital effects, games and animation departments, including the ‘making of’ a short horror film, an armature demonstration and the chance to test the latest VR games in development.

Guests were treated to a masterclass with legendary filmmaker, Noel Clarke, whose latest film, Brotherhood has been a big box office hit. In conversation with NFTS director, Nik Powell, Noel talked about how he got into the industry and gave lots of great advice on do’s and don’ts when you’re starting out. Noel advised the aspiring filmmakers to really “know your audience as the market is so competitive; think about who’s going to sit in the cinema and say, ‘I felt that’. You need to know that people will watch your stuff if you are to have the chance to make a second film.”

Noel was joined by NFTS talent scout, Rebecca Mark-Lawson and a panel of NFTS students and grads including Meg Campbell, 2nd Year Directing Fiction; Jermaine Edwards, 2nd Year Cinematography; Sean O’Riordan, directing and Producing TV Entertainment grad and Abolfazi Talooni, Editing grad.

When asked for tips for getting into NFTS, the students agreed that the most important thing you need is ‘passion and to believe in yourself’ as well as the need to clearly communicate how much you are committed to wanting to work in the film, games or television industry. Rebecca highlighted that persistence is often required and emphasized the importance of making a film with ‘imagination and using the right actors to get the audience to feel emotion.’ She also stressed that ‘production values are not so important; it’s much more important for your film to have heart.’

 

NFTS Film Wins Brief Grand Prix at Encounters Film Festival

Plus Awards Hat Trick & Qualification for Oscar Consideration!

The National Film and Television School is proud to announce that Sweet Maddie Stone, a film directed by NFTS graduate, Brady Hood has won the Brief Grand Prix award at this year’s Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, which took place between the 20th and 25th September 2016 in Bristol. Winners of this prestigious award qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards®.

The Encounters jury commented that Sweet Maddie Stone is: ‘A film that presents one of the most captivating characters the jury have ever experienced on screen. This subject’s arc is deeply complicated but fully actualised. The story itself utilises humour and drama to tell of a young protagonist desperate for tenderness in a world which requires her to focus on survival alone.’

Sweet Maddie Stone (fiction) is directed by Brady Hood, produced by Jake Riley-Hunte and co-written by Jessica Jackson:

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.

In addition, two NFTS films won NAHEMI (National Association for Higher Education in the Moving Image) awards at the festival with Present winning ‘Best Film’ and The Alan Dimension receiving the ‘Audience Award’.

Present (fiction) is directed and co-written by Meg Campbell, co-written by Oliver Henderson and produced by Ser En Low.

With her sister slowly succumbing to early-onset Alzheimer’s, Beth struggles to balance her responsibilities as a carer and a mother, whilst dealing with her own fear of developing the genetic disease.

The Alan Dimension (animation) is directed and co-written by Jac Clinch, produced by Millie Marsh and co-written by Jonathan Harbottle.

Alan brown uses divine powers of precognition to foresee the fate of mankind… and breakfast. Meanwhile, Wendy has had enough of being married to the next step in cognitive evolution.

For more information on our upcoming course deadlines and how to apply, please visit www.nfts.co.uk

Danny Boyle encourages students to protect their childish wonder!

After a film you often can’t imagine how it was made as you get so lost in it, it’s wonderful.”

Legendary director Danny Boyle brought his passion and drive to the NFTS this week and delivered an inspiring masterclass to a packed cinema. Themes ranged from originality that makes you want to go and see a film over and over again, to whether VR has a future in filmmaking and the importance of the students protecting their natural ‘childish wonder’.

Students were asked to watch two science fiction films in preparation, Under the Skin directed by Jonathan Glazer and The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicholas Roeg. He picked Under the Skin in particular because “it pulls together all the different components of the filmmaking process dazzlingly” from the production design, costume to the sound, editing and the cinematography.

Danny used both films to illustrate the kind of originality that makes you go back and watch again. Referring to Under the Skin: “I saw it three times in the cinema which I never do. I was astonished, truly astonished. What I love about it is that it’s so original and hopefully a lot of you will be the originality we all desperately want to see and when your film arrives you’ve got to see it three times. And I hope you all end up in jobs like that where you get to express yourself in the way that this film expresses itself.”

Continuing the theme of originality, Danny picked a memorable scene from Under the Skin to impress on the students that the director doesn’t always need to be in control and that editing is a hugely powerful tool in claiming some of the control back. The particular scene features the alien played by Scarlett Johansson who makes a kill while a couple drown trying to rescue their dog and leave their child on the shore. “The locations in the film are amazing; Glazer uses them really powerfully and the scene just happens. You observe the scene as you have no choice – you can’t have the fanatical idea as a director that you can control the scene as you can’t. It’s the fact that you can’t control it that’s exciting but it’s the editing that gives you some kind of eventual control.”

“Editing is a hugely expressive tool; I’m editing T2 at the moment; it’s my favourite part of the process as it’s the most creative. The opening of The Man Who Fell to Earth is dazzling; when Roeg overlaps the sound the guy’s listening to, you don’t know that, you just see Bowie counting his rings and you know he’s got hundreds of them on this riverbank and you hear the God of War and you think what’s that! And it’s because it’s pre-lapped, not just a few seconds but a minute.”

Sometimes originality is inspired by ideas that are already out there and Glazer apparently saw an installation by Richard Wilson at the Saatchi gallery that informed the key oil scenes in Under the Skin. “It was a complete lift and brilliantly done - I’d encourage you to do the same as some of the greatest ideas are out there!”

Moving on from visual imagery, Danny tackled sound which he says is “80% of the film as you experience it. Even if it’s a little bit out of sync, it’s unwatchable and it extends from that simple technical achievement right the way through to the most expressive use of sound and these two directors are great for sound. Roeg was one of the pioneers of overlapping and intercutting sound.”

Danny described the sound in Under the Skin as “brilliant”. “It’s not just the motif, which is the sound of her harvesting her victims, but the drop out of the sound and the reintroduction of that note when the body implodes, which I found terrifying.”

Nik Powell, director of the National Film and Television School and host of the masterclass, asked Danny whether he thinks VR can be used in drama in storytelling.

Danny said “I was a bit of a cynic about it but I watched a film using VR by Chris Milk about a refugee camp and I got very emotional which astonished me as I thought this is a technical process and it’s astonishing what it’s doing to me. I’m technically aware of it all the time and they told the story of this girl and how broken her heart is that she can’t go home. By the end of it I was crying which shocked me so I think there is hope for it pulling you in. “

Danny then looked to the students as the generation to come up with ways to make VR work for audiences: “If VR is used it won’t matter what my generation thinks. It will be more you guys who will harness it in ways that we can’t even imagine.”

Childlike wonder!

A student then asked Danny if he can detach himself from films when watching them without questioning how they were made.

“I tend to get involved in films and almost never walk out. I cry and get scared a lot. The weird thing about doing the job is that the stage you students are at is a kind of childish stage and it’s really important to protect that as when you lose it, you can’t get it back. You can protect it and maintain it for a bit – it’s a feeling of wonder that it’s amazing that we can do this. And the problem you’ll have is this pressure to be all grownup and professional and in fact what you’ve got naturally is the key to it.”

“There’s something wonderful about the first time you ‘get it’ and you get a camera and you get to create stories and you see a cut and it works and the first time you put music on it and you’re like holy shit that’s ten times better than it was before! Jane Campion says that if you’re working in film there should be a child in you somewhere as it’s a wonderful storytelling toy. Even though it’s technical we’re trying to disguise the technicality all the time. After a film you often can’t imagine how it was made as you get so lost in it, it’s wonderful.”

Danny then instilled into the students how important it is to stick to your guns to protect your idea.

“I’ve got the gift of the gab – you can get a long way with it. The gift of the gab is important especially for bold things which people don’t understand – you have to bulldoze them with that commitment. That fire is really what they’re after. You’re looking for some young kid with fire in their belly about something – it could be energy or an idea – that might be it, the new thing that cinema is always looking for. You’ve got just persist – persistence is a huge part of it.”

A powerful example of where Danny had to protect his vision was the London Olympics opening ceremony.

“We focussed on the volunteers and approached it in a tribal way. I wouldn’t cut anything involving the volunteers even if it wasn’t as good as the professionals. It was the philosophy and aesthetic choice and that is at the heart of it. I try to have a core value for a project and keep to it.”

Danny also worked with Hamish Hamilton at the Olympics. He is a big event TV director who works on massive events such as the Super Bowl. “He calls the shots – like the imagery in The Man Who Fell to Earth, like he has 70 screens and shouts ‘go to 32, go to 70’! It’s extraordinary watching them work, I couldn’t do that job!”

“One of our big battles was to bring in our own camera teams. Normally at the Olympics they have the camera positions for sport and that’s how they cover the opening ceremony so they have a golf cameraman or a javelin cameraman and he’s got to shoot what you think of as your film! I said I wasn’t having any of that and was going to bring in special teams and Hamish is going to lead them as if it’s a movie so it feels like your deeply immersed in the experience. That means you can’t do spectacle and scale but you compensate by it feeling personal and immersive and you want the films to feel like that too as if the audience is trapped in the headlights of the film.”

Nik then finished the session by asking Danny about his thoughts on what many of the students will experience when they go out to work in the British indie film world.

“The thing is that the most important people are sitting beside you, your peer group. It’s very difficult to realise that but those are the people who you’ll be making films with and who’ll nurture you. The danger is that the industry tends to celebrate upward success and you tend to look up.  That’s fine for a bit of inspiration but the meat and potatoes of it is your peer group, the people you work with, the writers and designers. Those are the people who you can call on. The chair should swivel and you should be looking at each other!”

Film school students showcase games at EGX: From VR to point-and-click

“We want to push the boundaries of the games industry and go beyond the norm”

London 15th September 2016: Students studying Games Design and Development at the National Film and Television School are to showcase their games in the Rezzed area at EGX 2016, stand RZ7:1-4, and RZ8:5-8. The games on show range from a cutting-edge VR experience that questions ideas on gender identity to an iPad game exploring a relationship between a roboticist and the android she has created.

The vision behind the MA is to create the next generation of leading games innovators whilst broadening the audience for games by putting innovation and emotional engagement at the heart of games design. The course seeks to expand the possibilities of the medium by developing new ideas in both narrative and gameplay, attracting students from a wide range of backgrounds which have thus far included theatre design, physics, philosophy, fine art and political science to name but a few. There is even a scholarship provided by Wellcome for post-doctoral -level biomedical scientists. The gender balance for the course also outperforms the norm with women regularly taking up almost half of the places allocated.

The students showing off their games at EGX are in the second year of their MA and include Claudio Pollina, Laura Dodds, Blaise Imiolczyk, Jameela Khan, John Lau, Manos Agianniotakis and Naomi Kotler.

Here’s a snapshot of their ideas:

‘Night Bizarre’ (PC) by Laura Dodds puts the player into the position of Srey, a novice fortune teller learning her trade in a strange, bustling, Cambodian night market. Strive to thrive as you wield your tarot cards and predict the future of locals and tourists who visit your stall.  Srey has to prove that she can make a success of her stall facing dangerous criminals, family disputes and torrential tropical storms over the course of five days. Will you use the tools of the trade to learn the art of deception or will you use Srey’s ‘gift’ to establish a reputation for yourself as a talented fortune teller?

‘Polyphonia’ (PC – HTC Vive) by Blaise Imiolczyk is a psychedelic hands-on virtual reality experience utilising motion controllers. It is a meditative exploration into the manipulation of environment and sound that gives the player the chance to experience the evolutionary story of a universe through several stages in which they can grab the surrounding objects and manipulate them which changes the sound within. Drawing its inspiration from science and space, the experience follows the evolution of a universe from its birth with the big bang right through to its death.

‘Aaliyah’ (PC) by Jameela Khan is a modern day British "Western" about a young woman who arrives in a small town to avenge the death of her friend. Through point-and-click gameplay, the player assumes the role of protagonist, Aaliyah, who is haunted by the memories of her last conversation with her friend, Eliza. Retracing Eliza's steps in the supermarket she used to work in, Aaliyah takes up work as a lowly paid stock controller. The player joins Aaliyah on her first day at work as she tries to discover what happened to Eliza and learns more about the motives for her death. 'Aaliyah' explores female friendship, gender and identity and is the first British game to feature a lead character of South Asian origin.

‘Uncanny Valerie’ (iPad) by John Lau is set in the near future, in the vein of Black Mirror, Ex Machina and Her. The player takes control of Karis, who has lost her job as a robotics engineer and who has been left by her long-term girlfriend Valerie. She has to pack up her belongings in the house they share and move on in the only way she knows how – by programming Valerie’s consciousness into an android. As she tries to recreate her lover, Karis realises the power she holds over the robot can be used to iron out Valerie's flaws, but is left wondering whether the result of her experiments is what she wants at all. Told through a combination of spatial puzzles, cut scenes and point-and-click tasks, ‘Uncanny Valerie’ is a story about a woman trying to let go of and hold onto a failed relationship.'

 ‘Melancholia’ (iPad) by Claudio Pollina is an isometric puzzle game. The puzzles are created to trick your visual and audio perceptions with optical and audio illusions. As Frances, the player must manipulate the ambience and sounds of two worlds - the house he shared with the love of his life and his own fractured memories - to piece together the mystery of why he lost Fanny and his will to play violin.

 ‘The Circle’ (PC – Oculus Rift) by Manos Agianniotakis is an interactive VR experience about a woman dealing with PTSD. The story blurs the line between reality and fiction, dreaming and living, forcing the play into the shoes of a flawed but relatable main character. It explores themes of gender, identity, obsession and trauma and takes inspiration from the real world phenomenon of the Toynbee Tiles.

‘Into the Black’ (PC – Oculus Rift) by Naomi Kotler is an immersive, third person VR adventure about teamwork, instinct and survival set in the Yellowstone National Park wildfires of 1988. The player assumes the role of a spirit guide sent to help a red fox and grizzly bear, who have been thrown together during the chaos of the fire and need your guidance to help them escape. Only by working together will they survive. Along the way, they will be tested and face predators including man, who is full of cruelty and bad intention. If you and your companions survive, you will need to rely on each other and leave everything behind as you journey ‘into the black’.

Two games designed and developed by NFTS graduates will also be on show. These include Electric Lullaby and P.E.T, both of which have secured funding from Wellcome:

‘Electric Lullaby’ (developed by Jon Hatton and Paul Dillon of Cupboard Games): During the game, the player explores a dreamlike desert where they have to stop playing when their character grows tired. Turning the game off (“going to sleep”) awakens the player’s alter ego—a clumsy monster that roams the mysterious land while the player is away.  The player must learn to co-operate with their subconscious in order to make progress and uncover the secrets of the land they find themselves in. 

‘P.E.T.’ (Ellie Silkstone/ Jenna Jovi) is a new evolution of the classic virtual pet simulator, which blurs your world with that of your new digital pet. In the game, you must create, raise and look after that pet, guided along the way by the game's two creators - two creators who are about to discover the power of the simulation they have now created - the simulation which you are now playing...

Applications are open now for the two-year Games Design and Development MA and the course starts in January 2017.

ENDS

Contact for further information:

Vicky Hewlett, Head of PR and Communications, NFTS: 

VHewlett@nfts.co.uk / 01494 731 403

 

About the National Film and Television School

The NFTS is one of the world's leading film, games and television schools. It has been cited by some media as one of the top five film schools globally and by one as the No.1 international film school. In 1967, the government recommended the creation of a national film school for the UK and in 1971 the National Film School opened its doors for the first time focusing on postgraduate education. In the 1980s, the school officially changed its name to the National Film and Television School to incorporate the demand for courses in television production and has since added games to its remit.

NFTS prides itself on producing world-class, award-wining industry leaders. It has more Student Academy Awards (Foreign Category) than any other film school. NFTS students and graduates also regularly win BAFTAs and have won the short film category for the last three years. Other prestigious accolades include the Grierson Award for Best Student Documentary, which NFTS students have won for the last three years as well as multiple Royal Television Society student awards and Annecy Animation Awards. NFTS graduates have gone on to win seven Oscars and 100 BAFTAs with alumni including cinematographer, Roger Deakins (12 times Oscar nominee); BAFTA winning director, David Yates, (best known for directing the Harry Potter films); Oscar winning animator Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Oscar winning composer Dario Marianelli among others. The NFTS is a registered charity (313429). For more information see www.nfts.co.uk

 

 

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