Sam Mendes on set of 1917 - Credit Francois Duhamel (1)

Source: Francois Duhamel

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes is to receive an honorary fellowship from the UK’s National Film and Television School, presented in London on May 24.

The award will be presented in person by NFTS chairman Patrick McKenna at the Odeon Leicester Square.

The ceremony will precede the four-day NFTS Graduation Showcase, which will be held at the BFI Southbank in London from May 25-28, and which industry members can register to attend.

Previous NFTS honorary fellows include alumni Roger Deakins, Terence Davies and Malorie Blackman; Ken Loach, Paul Greengrass and Asif Kapadia; and last year’s awardees Sally Wainwright, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.

1917 director Mendes has supported the NFTS throughout the pandemic, delivering twelve classes to students on the Directing Fiction course covering the production process, and hosting a school-wide virtual masterclass.

“During a time that was riddled with uncertainty, Sam Mendes really gave me and the rest of my cohort something to look forward to,” said NFTS Directing Fiction graduate Marcus Thomas. “To have him talk through his process in such detail and be so open and candid in his conversations with us really helped to demystify high-level filmmaking.”

“One of the few highlights of lockdown was my regular once a week contact with the brilliant and inspiring group of young directors at the NFTS,” said Mendes. ”Although they assured me I was helping to keep them going through this tough time, it increasingly seemed like it was the other way round.”

In the wider industry Mendes has also established the Theatre Artists Fund to support theatre workers and freelancers impacted by the pandemic-induced shutdowns. Netflix donated £500,000 to the fund last July.