Scotland leader Nicola Sturgeon has announced funding of £475,000 ($608,000) to support plans for a Scottish hub of the U.K.’s National Film and Television School. NFTS Scotland would be based at BBC Scotland’s facilities in Glasgow and Dumbarton Studios.
“This is an exciting development for our screen sector, which is already an area of growth for Scotland,” Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said in a keynote address at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival on Friday. “We have seen a rise in high-profile film and television productions being made in Scotland….We must ensure people can gain and update the skills they need to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.”
Sturgeon’s remarks came a day after the BBC announced at the festival that it had ordered two Scottish dramas for flagship channel BBC One. The pubcaster has also committed an additional investment of £40 million ($51.2 million) a year in Scotland, proposing to launch a new channel in 2018. And earlier this year, the Scottish government approved, in principle, long-gestating plans to build a 90.5-acre TV and film studio on the edge of Edinburgh.
The new film school hub is expected to open next January, with the first class of students enrolling in April. NFTS Scotland expects to see 1,500 full- and part-time students graduate in its first five years, and aims to have a third of all places in its first two years fully paid for by scholarships. The Scottish government and the BBC will contribute to a scholarship fund and ensure that students are drawn from a range of backgrounds.
The school has secured support from the BBC, Channel 4, the BFI, Scottish media company STV, and leading Scottish producers, including Andrew MacDonald (“Trainspotting”), Iain Smith (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) and David Brown (“Outlander”). Scottish alumni of the National Film and Television School include directors Lynne Ramsey and Gilles Mackinnon. Other alumni include 13-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins; Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli; and 4-time Oscar-winning animator Nick Park.
“As a Scot and a graduate of the NFTS, I am fully supportive of this initiative,” Scottish film and TV producer Steve Morrison (“My Left Foot”) said. “It’s fantastic both for the school and for creative industries in Scotland to have such a driving new force in skills and talent development in Scotland.” Morrison was the NFTS’ first-ever graduate and is the BBC’s board member for Scotland.