Financier behind Avatar, Life of Pi and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to help steer £13m fundraising for second phase of the school’s Digital Village

Patrick McKenna, founder and CEO of investor Ingenious, has been appointed chairman of the National Film & Television School (NFTS) Board of Governors.

He will help steer a £13m fundraising initiative for the second phase of the school’s Digital Village development, which will help train a new generation of film-makers in digital special effects and computer gaming.

McKenna said: “The NFTS has built a worldwide reputation for delivering excellent film and TV education and is fortunate in being able to attract some of the world’s best creative talent onto its teaching programmes. The NFTS has both the expertise and the track record to ensure that Britain remains one of the best places to conceive and produce media content.”

Nik Powell, director of the NFTS, said: “It’s brilliant to have such a major figure in our business as Patrick as our new chairman. I very much look forward to working with him to complete phase two of the NFTS Digital Village project and ensuring the NFTS remains one of the top film schools in the world.”

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey described the NFTS as “one of the best film schools in the world” and predicted McKenna would transform its development. He added: “Patrick McKenna and Ingenious have a proud history of investing in the UK’s creative industries and have contributed to many of our global success stories, including Avatar and Life of Pi. I look forward to Patrick taking the NFTS to new levels of success.”

Patrick succeeds Simon Shaps who stepped down at the end of his term and recently became MD of international content and production at CORE media Group.

The NFTS was founded in 1971 and has seen its students nominated for 25 student Oscars and BAFTAs, winning seven of these junior awards. Alumni include Harry Potter director David Yates, Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins and Atonement composer Dario Marinelli.

Master-classes hosted by the school in the past year included directors Wim Wenders, Bernardo Bertolucci, Joe Wright, Edgar Wright and Guillermo Del Toro.