Entertainment News

  • 15 February 2014, 17:49

UK College At Cutting Edge Of Film Industry

A college in Buckinghamshire has become a hotbed for world class film talent and could be celebrating a dozen Bafta awards this weekend.

Twelve former students of the National film and Television School (NFTS) have been nominated for Baftas this year including Clio Barnard, the director of Oustanding British Film contender The Selfish Giant.

Sound designer Danny Hambrook has also been nominated for his work on the Formula One film Rush.

"To get the sound for Rush, or at least to get the sound for the cars on Rush, we went to race meetings with historic 1970s cars," says Hambrook.

"We had to get mechanics to strip down the cars. We then placed, microphones all over them.

"There was a limit to the amount of microphones we could place in the car because there was almost no space for recorders but we would generally place around six or seven mics on each.

"Without me having gone to the National Film and Television School, I probably would have become a music sound engineer, which is no bad thing but it was the NFTS that changed the direction of my career, gave me the contacts, the experience, the confidence to do what I do now."

Hambrook has previously been nominated for his sound work on Atonement.

In all, 114 graduates from the NFTS have been credited on Oscar and Bafta nominated films released in the last 12 months including: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Captain Phillips, Philomena, Despicable Me 2, Gravity, and Saving Mr Banks.

Alumnus Roger Deakins has a Best Cinematography Oscar nomination this year for the film Prisoners.

With involvement in eight of the 10 highest grossing films of the year, the NFTS is helping to put Britain at the forefront of the film-making industry.

Andy Serkis - who is perhaps best known for playing Gollum in Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit - says the standard of teaching at the NFTS is so high that he has employed a number of students at his creative digital studio The Imaginarium.

"There's phenomenal talent in both the technological, the artistic, the performance, the creative, and the writing. Film-makers are flooding to make films here," he told Sky News.

"It is now considered a world centre for film making and television production - and not only that, the research and development of new technologies is happening right here.

"What we're very much interested in is raw talent - looking out there to see how we can find a pipeline for bringing in people who have got amazing computer visual skills, performance writing, next generation storytelling skills and bringing them into our fold and giving them a chance to start off their careers."

Stereographer Melissa Byers, who helped convert Gravity from 2D to 3D, says the NFTS gave her an excellent grounding for working on cutting edge movies.

"One of the great things about being at the film school is that there is no limit to your creative options," she says.

"It's an exciting environment and you are allowed to make mistakes there, which allows you to push the boat out."

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne announced 5m of extra funding for the NFTS.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.

:: Sky News will be covering the Bafta Awards live on Sunday, February 16, from 4pm.

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