The National Film and Television school is a prestigious film school in Beaconsfield, in the UK, rather close to London. The school has famous alumnies like David Yates, director of 4 Harry Potter movies among other awarded filmmakers.
The director of the school, Nik Powell, speaks about why one should consider applying for the school and how he, a former record company owner got into film making.
– As you probably know, I co-founded Virgin records with my best friend, Richard Branson back in the days. I sold out in the early eighties and I decided for non- artistic reasons that cinema was going to change as a result of new technologies and other forms of communication. The second reason was, I thought cinema was very rigid and old fashioned, men in ties and suits for example compared to rock and roll. Secondly I wanted to get into a 3 dimentional art form and the
third reason was completely personal. You need to remember this was in the early eighties and I didn’t know how long the Rolling Stones and other dinosaurs of rock were gonna survive. So I was looking for other things to do.
– In the eighties and nineties I produced films and a friend of mine let me know that there is a vacancy, as they let go the previous director, I suggested myself for the place. I like to change my spots every 10 to 12 or so years and thought that this would be interesting challenge. Plus I’d liked the idea that I’d be running a school with absolutely no degree whatsoever. However, remember that I have been working with new talents for a very long time, so in that sense it wasn’t that much different.
How do you select these young talents to the school?
– We mainly have postgraduate, so we select the students based on their portfolio. For directing or screenwriting you would submit script and films that you’ve made. Then there is an interview after that. For many of the craft courses there is a further workshop stage.
You have 3 screenings at the Tampere Film Festival, any special favourites? How much money you spend on making actual movies? Who actually pays for it?
– We, that is the school, pays for all the films that are made as part of the curriculum. It is in the school fee, meaning you pay a tuition fee, but you don’t need to pay more for making films. Some other schools might be cheaper than us, but then the students have to pay for making their films. We want all of the students here to be working with the same amount of resource. Their here to learn how to make great work. I don’t want them to focus on raising money. For example the animation film budget is 5000 pounds and they get the equipment for free.
The fee of the school is 12,800 pounds a year for UK and EU citizens and 27,000 pounds a year for people from overseas. How can people afford this?
– I advice people first to apply, get accepted. Then we will help them sort out the finances. After all it is in our interest to get talented people in and to educate them. We offer sponsorships and like I said, try to help the students to find the money.
Career advice for young filmmakers?
– Well, I don’t want to see them in the school once they graduated. Go and make movies. I want to see your credits on films, like this Danish lady Charlotte Bruus Christensen who was the cinematographer in two major Hollywood films, Girl on the Train and
Fences. The same goes for all the other young filmmakers, not just the ones graduated from NFTS. Go and make movies.
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11.3. SAT/LA 10:00 | NIAGARA | alk. / from 8 €