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NFTS turns 40 in style

Screen mingled with industry and talent at a glamorous charity auction and dinner which raised over £200,000 for the National Film and Television School

Since quitting law five years ago I try not to venture over to ‘The City’ too much. But last night, I made an exception for a rather glitzy dinner and charity auction to celebrate 40 years of the National Film and Television School at London’s Old Billingsgate.

Kicking off with a champagne reception on the banks of the Thames, Screen mingled with actors (including Ruth Wilson and Jason Isaccs, who told me he too studied law), directors (Tom Hooper, Paul Greengrass and Danny Boyle), producers and distributors (too many to mention) and what turned out to be virtually the entire British film industry, who had come out in their droves to support the NFTS.  

The charity auction featured an eye-popping selection of prizes, including membership to the Club at The Ivy, Daniel Craig’s Tuxedo, a trip to Dubai…and an internship at Ruby Films. Needless to say my table wasn’t particularly forthcoming with bids – we’re journalists, what do you expect? But thankfully others had more money than us and managed to raise over £200,000 for the NFTS.

The evening also featured Michael Grade presenting a showreel of 75 years of Pinewood production and a Pinewood Legends Quiz, hosted by Jonathan Ross, with a series of questions that, rather embarrassingly, managed to fox us film journalists, including ‘How many Harry Potter films have been made?’ and ‘What was the registration number of James Bond’s car’. Needless to say, we were outdone by producer and all-round industry expert Iain Smith’s table.

The only blip of the night came when a representative for walk-on artists grabbed the mic from Sotheby’s Lord Dalmeny who was conducting the auction and proceeded to tell the room how badly paid she was, which seemed slightly against the spirit of a charity event. “I think there’s an example of a walk-on role turning into a speaking part,” joked Dalmeney.

The evening was rounded off with a performance of Bond theme song Nobody Does It Better by composer David Arnold and Paloma Faith, a fitting end to a night celebrating an institution that has produced some of the UK’s brightest talents, including Lynne Ramsay, David Yates and Nick Broomfield.

Here’s to another 40 years of the NFTS!

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