BBC, NFTS work to put new documentary talent on TV

MUMBAI: UK pubcaster BBC is awarding development deals to three National Film and Television School (NFTS) documentary filmmakers.

The BBC and NFTS established the development deal to bring the inspiring new visions of young filmmakers to the screen. Now in its fourth year, it sees the brightest new documentary talent from the NFTS being fostered by the experience and expertise of the BBC.

The new documentary filmmakers to benefit are Leon Dean, Luke Sewell and Ilian Metev. Their work impressed selection panelists Richard Klein, Krishan Arora (independents executive for BBC Vision), Charlotte Moore and Kate Beetham (executive producers, documentaries).

The development deal provides funding for the graduates to work with independent production companies and BBC Factual executives to develop their ideas further.

NFTS director Nik Powell said, "In the last few weeks, there have been three authored documentaries written, directed and often also produced and crewed by recent graduates of the NFTS in major BBC strands – Storyville and Wonderland. This demonstrates to us and the BBC just how successful this arrangement is."

The BBC‘s Krishan Arora says, "These deals will allow NFTS graduates to learn from experienced TV executives about developing documentaries for television, and to get a chance to put their ideas to the acid test of BBC commissioning. It‘s a highly competitive field but this ‘on-the-job‘ training will hopefully equip the students well for their future filmmaking careers."

NFTS head of the documentary division Dick Fontaine says, "These BBC deals are great for us, of course, but even more valuable is the weight the BBC is putting behind the series Wonderland, not only supporting new authored films but leading the audience to them."

Leon Dean says, "Being awarded a BBC development deal is a tremendous opportunity to build my skills as a filmmaker and work with the company responsible for some of the greatest documentaries. Thank you BBC!"

Luke Sewell said, "I‘m over the moon to have been awarded a BBC Development Deal. It‘s such a fantastic opportunity for a graduate of the NFTS. I can‘t wait to get started with my project."

Ilian Metev was equally excited and had this to say about his award, "I am very grateful for the BBC‘s faith in my project and truly inspired to embark on this new journey."

Previous recipients include 2005 graduate Daniel Vernon whose film, The Man Who Loved Sherlock Holmes, was made under the deal and was broadcast by the BBC on Boxing Day in 2005.

Daniel has continued to make ratings winning programmes for the BBC – most recently The Man Who Eats Badgers and Other Strange Tales from Bodmin Moor and The 92-Year-Old Danger Junkie, both shown earlier this year as part of BBC Two‘s Wonderland strand.

Says Daniel, "The development deal was a really good start for me after graduating from the NFTS – it gave me a chance and the space to continue pursuing my own ideas.

"Most importantly, it helped put me in touch with commissioning editors where I was able to directly pitch ideas. Following the two films for the Wonderland strand, we are now planning future projects."

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