NFTS unveils graduate films at BFI Southbank in the week one graduate’s short competes for an Oscar.

The National Film And Television School has this week been unveiling its graduate films of 2011 in a three-day programme at the BFI Southbank.

Nine short films were screened yesterday as part of the Fiction and Drama showcase; Documentary and Television Entertainment works showcased Wednesday with Animation films shown today.

The school is currently celebrating NFTS graduate Tanel Toomer’s short The Confession being nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film, having already won the student Oscar, and NFTS graduate Paul Wright winning the BAFTA for Best Short Film earlier this month.

Speaking to Screen yesterday, NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This year’s films are fantastic for so many reasons: the docs were shot all over the world, from China to the Congo, while the fiction films are incredibly diverse in genre. The filmmaking is real, proper filmmaking - they stack up against films of professional filmmakers. They are visually sophisticated, feature great performances - something sometimes lacking in student films - and are adventurous.”

NFTS graduate director 2011 Mary Nighy - daughter of actor Bill Nighy - said of this year’s crop: “The films screened today are testament to NFTS’s unique ability to discover and nurture film-making talent in the UK. I feel exhilarated and privileged to be graduating with such a diverse and gifted group, and very grateful for NFTS for the platform they’ve given us tonight.”

NFTS has recently had a renewed pledge of funding from the DCMS over the next three years. Speaking of the institution’s financial health, Powell said: “Times are hard for everybody not just for the NFTS. But we have to trim our coats accordingly. Sky and Channel Four have re-upped their funding and the DCMS have renewed their funding. We need to make sure that people know the great work we are doing here. The most important thing for us is that we maintain the bursary and scholarship schemes, especially in these hard times.”

Yesterday, digital projector manufacturer Christie awarded a projector to the NFTS documentary department.

Presenter Jonathan Ross and NFTS graduate and TV writer Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, Ashes To Ashes) received NFTS Honorary Fellowships.