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NFTS Grads Compete in London Film Festival ‘First Feature Competition’

NFTS News

NFTS Grads Compete in London Film Festival ‘First Feature Competition’

The Sutherland Award Recognises the Most Original & Imaginative Directorial Debut

(Still from I Am Not A Witch

The selection for this year’s London Film Festival has been announced and we are very proud to announce that two films with NFTS graduate involvement are competing in the ‘First Feature Competition’. Beast directed by Michael Pearce and I Am Not a Witch, produced by Emily Morgan are competing for The Sutherland Award, which recognises the most original and imaginative directorial debut.

Beast synopsis: While celebrating her birthday, Moll drifts away from the party and finds herself eye-to-piercing-blue-eye with Pascal, a local poacher and police suspect. The attraction between these two damaged souls is immediate and palpable, and the film captures both the euphoric flush of first love and the heady insanity of sexual obsession.

(Still from Beast)

Beast credits a number of NFTS graduates in addition to the director, Michael Pearce, including: DoP, Benjamin Kracun; Editor, Maya Maffioli; Art Director, Thalia Ecclestone; Production Designer, Laura Tarrant-Brown; 2nd Assistant Director, Pascha Hanaway; Sound Designer/Supervising Sound Editor: Gunnar Oskarsson and Boom Operator, Joanna Andrews.

I Am Not A Witch synopsis: In a Zambian village Shula, a small, silentgirl with big eyes, is accused of being a witch. Her choice: join a travelling witch camp or become a goat.

I Am Not A Witch, which is directed by Rungano Nyoni also credits NFTS graduate, Gabriel Gauchet Associate-Producer/Location Manager in addition to producer, Emily Morgan.

Also competing in the First Feature Competition is Summer 1993, directed by Carla Simon, and whose Art Director is NFTS graduate, Isona Rigau Heras, and The Wound, directed by John Trengove, whose DoP is NFTS graduate, Paul Ozgur.

(Still from Comeback Kid)

Two NFTS graduation films have been selected in the laugh strand of the festival. These include Comeback Kid, directed by Ian Robertson – the dark humour of reincarnation portrayed as a man comes back, buy-eyed and bludgeoned, to avenge his masculinity - and Pipe Dreams, directed by Christa Jarrold – self-help turns to self-love when Helen can’t find a decent plumber or a decent man and she discovers all she needs is confidence to fix her blockage and her doubts.

(Still from Pipe Dreams)

Other notable selections directed by NFTS graduates include: Clio Barnard’s Dark River, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, The Hungry and The Party both produced by NFTS graduate, Kurban Kassam.

Special Presentation, Dark River stars Ruth Wilson, Joe Dempsie and Sean Bean and is about two siblings who struggle to come to terms with their inheritance after their father’s death.

(Still from Dark River)

You Were Never Really Here screens as part of the Headline Gala. The film is a stark inversion of the noir thriller and a devastatingly brutal portrayal of one man’s battle with repression and abuse, anchored by a rage-fuelled, Cannes-winning performance from Joaquin Phoenix.

(Still from The Hungry)

The Hungry, produced by Kurban Kassam, is part of the 'Dare' section of the festival: In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone. This UK-India co-production employs Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus as the source of its story about a ruthless businessman whose world is threatened by an evil act. 

(Still from The Party)

Special presentation, The Party, is also produced by Kurban Kassam: Following some unexpected revelations, a celebration quickly takes a turn for the worse in Sally Potter's razor-sharp new comedy.