NFTS Wins British Short Animation BAFTA 4th Year in a Row

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) announces it is adding two courses to its successful animation department in 2017: A new Diploma in Model Making for Animation in partnership with animation producers and puppet makers, Mackinnon & Saunders and world-leading animation studio Aardman; and rerunning its popular Certificate in Character Animation in partnership with Aardman.

This news follows an incredibly successful year for the NFTS Animation department at this year’s BAFTAs where graduation film A Love Story, directed and co-written by Anushka Naanayakkara, won the British Short Animation BAFTA at The Albert Hall in London yesterday evening. This is the fourth year in a row that NFTS animation students have received this accolade and the second consecutive year that two of its students’ graduation films competed for the same prize. A Love Story competed against fellow NFTS graduation film, The Alan Dimension directed and co-written by Jac Clinch.


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NFTS Diploma in Model Making for Animation

The 12-month, full-time practical diploma will be led by experienced model and prop maker John Lee and will equip students with the skills and experience to enhance their careers in the field of professional model and prop making within animation or other media industries.


John’s credentials speak for themselves. He has worked as a modeller on feature films such as Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankenweenie; he was Production Designer and Supervising Model Maker on the multi award-winning John Lewis Christmas advert ‘The Bear & The Hare’; and more recently he has worked on Wes Anderson’s stop frame animated Isle of Dogs and made props for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


John Lee says: “I am no stranger to the NFTS as I have worked as a visiting lecturer for the last nine years with students from Digital Effects, Animation and Production Design, so I am looking forward to fully integrating the course within the School. Model Animation is an exciting and tactile medium to work in; the attention to detail is exquisite, and as a discipline, gives the modeller and film maker complete control of this unique craft.”


Peter Saunders, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Mackinnon & Saunders says: “The design and craft of building puppets and models is our passion and we are delighted to work with the NFTS, which has such a great reputation for cultivating exciting new animation filmmakers, and Aardman who has done so much to raise the profile of stop-frame-animation, to help develop new talent in this area.”


David Sproxton, Aardman Co-founder and Producer says: “We have built a long and fruitful relationship with the NFTS over the years, with the very successful Character Animation Certificate Course. We are therefore very pleased to extend our collaboration with this new and unique Model Making for Animation Diploma. It will be a real pleasure to team up with Mackinnon and Saunders, whose model-making pedigree is second to none, to offer students unrivalled knowledge and expertise in this year long course.”

Applications for the Model Making for Animation Diploma are open now until 6th July 2017. The course will run from September 2017. For more information and to apply, please visit


NFTS Certificate in Character Animation

The Certificate in Character Animation course is delivered in partnership with Aardman and supported by Factory. The course has an incredibly successful track record with over 80% of graduates now working in the industry at Aardman and at studios such as Animortal, Factory, Blue Zoo, Isle of Dogs and Traveller’s Tales.


The intensive 12-week course, taught at Aardman’s Bristol studios by industry professionals, is designed to meet the growing demand for animation talent in the UK and offers training for six CG and six stop frame animators. The 2017 course will run from 25th September until the 15th December and applications are open now until the 8th June 2017.


Aardman Head of Animation, Loyd Price said: “Students see huge development when completing this course. We have been incredibly impressed with their output and the way they build their skills – whether it’s animation, acting or understanding of performance – over the 12 weeks. Cultivating new talent is incredibly important to us and it will be a pleasure to work with the 2017 intake.”


Phil Chalk, Managing Director, Factory says: ‘We are delighted to be involved in this initiative to help inspire and be inspired by the next generation of animators and filmmakers’.

NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “When students invest in education, they want to know there is a chance of a job when they graduate. The success of this NFTS course and the contracts offered by Aardman goes to show how valuable it is for film schools to partner with leading companies to train talented people for the UK’s growing film, television and games industries.”


Applications for the NFTS Certificate in Character Animation course are open until June 8th 2017 – apply here.


There is also an open day on the 21st April 2017 at the NFTS for the School’s MA in Directing Animation  – book here.

News Editor

Author: News Editor

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