Britain’s National Film & Television School’s Digital Village received a major boost today when the UK Chancellor George Osborne announced £5 million in funding for the initiative in his Autumn Statement.

The Oscar and BAFTA winning NFTS, based in Buckinghamshire, was this year voted ‘the world’s best film and television school’ by CILECT (the international association of film and television schools) and its alumni include Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park and David Yates who directed four of the Harry Potter films.

However, lack of investment on infrastructure has left the NFTS in dire need of expansion and modernisation.
The School’s planned £20m Digital Village will improve teaching facilities and capacity. Phase I has already been built with private investment and today’s £5m government funding announcement, together with £2.1m funding from Creative Skillset, will enable Phase II to start at the end of 2014.

Patrick McKenna, Ingenious Media CEO, who recently became chair of the NFTS’ Board of Governors, said: “This £5m funding demonstrates the confidence the government has in the NFTS and its commitment to training the next generation of film and television makers in the UK.”

The funding announcement follows on from Sky TV’s recent offer of contracts to six out of nine students on a Broadcast Production diploma course that the NFTS delivers in partnership with Sky. The broadcaster was originally committed to only provide one graduate contract, but due to the quality of the students has expanded this to six. The course, that launched in January this year, provides training for vision mixers, sound, lighting and camera specialists. More details on the new Digital Content diploma course, also to be delivered in partnership with Sky, will be announced next week.

NFTS student films this year were nominated for an Oscar; won the student Oscar; won the Grierson award for documentary; the Annie and Cartoon D’or for its animation films. Its very recent graduates won the Camera D’or at Cannes Film Festival; four Golden Horses (the ‘Asian Oscars’) and the Scottish BAFTA for best film. Its alumni have now won more than 100 BAFTAs including 10 Oscar and BAFTA nominations this year.

For more on the autumn statement, click here.