By Chok Yee Kwan
Watching a filmmaker’s first films shows the initial creativity that he can bring to the table, says National Film and Television School (NFTS) Director Nik Powell to aspiring student filmmakers.
Speaking at the Film & Media Studies (FMS) Preview Theatre on Dec 2, 2016, the previous co-founder and manager of enterprises such as the Virgin Group and Palace Productions, and producer of over 50 feature films including The Crying Game (1992) and Mona Lisa (1986), presented his “A to Z” of storytelling. He emphasised the importance of writing a good and original storyline rather than convergence and inclusiveness of different races in film, and the state of it in Britain’s film industry.
“I was asked to do diversity projects by British Council, because it was a priority for them, and I thought while it’s still an interesting subject for this school, it would be more interesting for them (to hear about) storytelling and filmmaking than this kind of story,” said Powell on the shift to his presentation.
Film, Sound and Video (FSV) alumnus Zachary Yap, 21, on hearing about the seminar by Powell, came down to attend it despite his busy schedule. “NFTS is known to be the one of the most prestigious film schools in the world with having many alumni making it big in the Hollywood market. It’s something I couldn’t afford to miss meeting the director himself especially being a film enthusiast,” says Yap.
The NFTS, established 1971 to educate and train talent for the British film industry, was named Number 1 in the 2014 list of the Hollywood Reporter’s top 15 International Film Schools, producing alumni like David Yates (Harry Potter), Roger Deakins (Skyfall) and Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit).
Despite the film industry being slow and formulaic at the moment, Powell held hope that a new generation of filmmakers would emerge, as he looked at the audience in the Preview Theatre, believing that many teachers should be looking at what students are actually doing for creativity.
He said: “There are always fresh people coming in who will revive and refresh (the industry), bringing original things to it… It’s the nature of the industry so to speak.”