NFTS Renews Commitment to Diversity Announcing 2nd Run of Directing Workshop Led by Alby James

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) renewed its commitment to diversity at its recent annual fundraising Gala, announcing it is to run a second ‘NFTS Directing Workshop.’

The scheme aims to increase the number of women and people from BAME backgrounds and those with disabilities working professionally in screen directing. The participants for the second workshop have been selected from the hundreds of applications the School received for its first workshop, which is already underway.

Participants for the second NFTS Directing Workshop include: Bim Ajadi, Morgan Bailey, Ella Bennett, Laura Degnan, Sophie King, Savanah Leaf.

This year’s NFTS annual fundraising Gala took place at Old Billingsgate and was themed around ‘Great British Directors.’ Celebrating the finest directing talent across the film, television and games industries, the Gala was hosted by actor, Stephen Mangan (Green Wing/ Episodes) and co-chaired by Producer, Sue Vertue (Sherlock/ Dr Who) and Director, Mike Newell (Four Weddings and A Funeral/ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). The event was sponsored by Ingenious Group.

The pilot ‘Directing Workshop’ is already underway with participants having started with a two-day introductory session in March followed by two months of script development for their short films and a two-week workshop for intensive advanced directing skills training in narrative filmmaking earlier this month. They will be shooting their films in the summer followed by post-production and their films will be showcased later this year. All participants have been offered an interview for the NFTS’ prestigious and highly competitive Directing Fiction MA.

The workshop course leader is Alby James, a black Briton, who worked as a theatre director and ran Temba Theatre Company for nine years before moving into film and broadcasting working as a drama producer and director with the BBC. He later moved into training for the industry and specialised in project development. He was head of screenwriting at the Northern Film School in Leeds and head of development for the EON Screenwriting Workshop.

Alby James says, “It is fantastic news that the NFTS is to rerun its new access course for directors from under-represented groups – the workshop is a fabulous and bold initiative to identify talented individuals and gives participants a robust introduction to the world of screen directing.”

Nik Powell, director of NFTS said: “The Directing Workshop is an incredibly important initiative for the NFTS as the School is committed to ensuring that filmmakers represent the society that they reflect. We were inundated with high quality applications for the initial workshop, which shows there is huge demand for a scheme like this and enabled us to select a second tranche of talented directors.”

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