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Directing Animation

Course Description

Why study Directing Animation at the NFTS? We are rated as the No.1 International Film School by The Hollywood Reporter.

Quick Facts:

2 Year Course
Course runs Jan-Dec each year
Next intake: January 2017
NFTS Scholarships available for UK Students

Visit the website https://nfts.co.uk/our-courses/masters/directing-animation


- A Creative Skillset-Accredited Directing Animation MA course.
- The MA course in Directing Animation offers extensive facilities for digital and traditional 2D and 3D techniques.
- Storytelling skills developed alongside technical expertise.
- Animators work with full filmmaking team.
- Studios and workspaces to make your own short graduation film.
- Unlike other schools, all production costs are met by the School.

Over 400 animation awards have been won by NFTS students including 6 Oscar Nominations- two of these in the last three years! , the first animation to win student Oscar, 7 BAFTAs, 8 RTS Awards, 7 official Cannes Selections and the first ever Student Annie Award.

It is the ONLY Animation course located in dedicated film studios.

Students have their own work space and equipment and uniquely are supported by the other disciplines of cinematography, sound design, visual effects, production design, screenwriting and others!

Students work in state of the art sound stages and post production facilities.

There is a packed first year of projects, workshops and masterclasses taught by industry professionals and animation legends.

In the second year students direct a crew of 10 of their peers from all the major filmmaking disciplines located in the School.

Our Animation course covers a broad range of techniques and media and technology continues to advance while the importance of good storytelling remains paramount.

This two year course begins in January each year. It emphasises the importance of story alongside design and visualisation. Our definition of animation is broad, covering almost any treated or stop frame technique. Many students work in a combination of techniques. Students are encouraged to push the boundaries to find a new look, a fresh approach or a different angle within the narrative structure.

Learning to build and work with a team is central to the course. Collaborative workshops with other filmmaking disciplines help animation directors understand the roles of each crew member and the skills they bring to the filmmaking process.

Our aim is to educate and prepare our graduates to go out into the Industry with a wide range of practical skills, experience and industry contacts. To achieve this in two years we have a curriculum of workshops, masterclasses, set projects and an MA dissertation.

Animation Department's website - http://www.nftsanimation.org/departments.htm

The Animation department regularly arranges open days. Please email The Registry if you would like to visit.


Nick Park (Creator of Wallace & Gromit), Mark Baker (Peppa Pig, Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom) and Tony Collingwood (The Secret Show) studied at the NFTS.


Students develop their animation and storytelling skills by exploring relationships between animation, narrative and film language. Through experimenting with different techniques they will broaden and enhance their personal style.

The MA Animation course includes:

- Storyboarding
- Creating Character
- Animation performance
- Directing actors
- Pixillation workshop
- Industry project – working to a brief, developing and pitching
- Visual/animated interpretation of a soundtrack
- Dissertation
- Research and script development for the graduation film
- Graduation film – produced and post produced with students from other departments


We are looking for people with a desire to tell stories, a strong visual sense and an enthusiasm for film and television culture and history. Successful applicants may have a degree in a relevant subject, such as animation, graphics, illustration or fine arts, or may have taken intensive short animation courses or may have worked in the industry and now want to develop their own work.


- A DVD with a maximum total running time of 20 minutes. This should include more than just simple exercises.
Your submission must include an animated film created by you. It should also contain a narrative or a sequence of information (eg animatic). It may also include commissioned work.
Up to five minutes of other materials may be included at the end of the disc, provided the total running time of the DVD does not exceed 20 minutes.
If dialogue is not in English, please send a dialogue transcript in English via email
DVD must be a DVD-R. Do not send Data DVDs or Data CDs

- A proposal for a one minute animation project, which is not on the DVD, to include concept and synopsis.

- A portfolio of illustrations and drawings showing your range of graphic ability, preferably including life drawing
and an optional collection of up to 10 still photographs of models and sets used in a 3D animation project.


You can apply directly to us at the NFTS by clicking on the link below:

APPLY FOR DIRECTING ANIMATION COURSE - https://nfts.co.uk/user/login?destination=node/9%3Fnid%3D6

You can apply online, or download a word document of the application form to submit via email
When selecting your course, please ensure that you have read the entry requirements and details of the supporting materials that should accompany your application.


We are happy to receive applications 24/7 and 365 days a year up until the deadline. That said, there is no particular advantage to submitting your application very early. The important thing is that your application shows us your latest work and tell us about your most recent filmmaking experiences.

Visit the Directing Animation page on the National Film & Television School website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Nick Park OBE

4015.jpg 1985 graduate, and creator/director of Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit shorts and features.

(Student Profile)

Mark Baker

Animation Graduate, Multiple BAFTA Award winner: Best Pre-School Animation PEPPA PIG


NFTS Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

All long term resident UK students, once they are offered a place on the MA programme, are invited to apply for an NFTS funding award. Awards may consist of either a bursary or a scholarship or a combination of both. NFTS Scholarships are donated by individuals or organisations with a direct involvement in the film, games and television industries. They often include a mentorship and an individual donor may take in interest in your work. Therefore they have an added prestige.The NFTS funding awards contribute directly to tuition fees and may be between £1,000 and £10,000. They are not re-payable by the student. They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Value of Scholarship(s)



They are only available to UK permanent residents although there is also currently one small scholarship available annually to a French-speaking student.

Application Procedure

Students are invited to apply in both of the two years of the course. Some scholarships are intended to be for a particular specialisation, for female students, or awarded on ethnicity or according to the UK region of an applicant.

Further Information



The Toledo Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

Applications are treated confidentially and are means tested. The school reserves the right to ask an applicant to provide proof of his/her financial circumstances and of possible family support. The Assistant Registrar must be notified immediately of any change in an applicant’s financial circumstances. Careful consideration is given by the Scholarship Panel with a view to responding to demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited and students are asked to estimate responsibly how much assistance they think they will need as this affects the School’s ability to accommodate students in serious need.Unfortunately, we are unable to open this scheme to EU or International students, or to students on the Diploma programmes. There are some course specific scholarship opportunities available to Diploma students. Please check the latest situation on the NFTS website course pages. There may not be enough scholarships available to allow the school to give one to all applicants. Therefore it may be necessary for you to make alternative arrangements for your tuition fees and maintenance. All students offered a place are provided with guidelines for applying for independent funding. This information is distributed during the summer. NFTS funding applications are received in September and the Scholarship Panel meets in October to decide the awards for the following year. Decisions are announced shortly afterwards.

Value of Scholarship(s)

See the website


The Toledo Scholarship is an NFTS scholarship specifically intended to enable talented newcomers from the UK’s ethnic minorities to fast-track their ambitions and join the British film industry.

Application Procedure

Application is made in the same way as all other NFTS scholarships but candidates will need to identify themselves as an UK ethnic minority candidate in order to be considered automatically.

Further Information



BAFTA Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

The BAFTA Scholarship Programme assists talented individuals in need of financial support. A BAFTA scholarship can help you afford an NFTS course in 2016 or 2017. Recipients will receive:
- Up to £10,000 to cover their course fees
- An Industry mentor
- Free access to BAFTA events around the UKUK students who have worked in the industry for at least two years may qualify for assistance from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. Students with relevant experience who have been offered a place on a course should apply direct to the CTBF. There is also an opportunity to apply early and directly for a BAFTA scholarship before your application has been completed. UK applicants should look out for the BAFTA scholarship announcement on their website.Some of the remaining UK Regional Screen Agencies offer scholarships to students from within their region. Some are arranged through the School as NFTS Scholarships, while others must be applied for direct, in competition with students at other institutions.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £10,000


Eligible courses are listed on the website.

Application Procedure

The deadline for applications is Friday 17 June 2016. You can apply to BAFTA before you are offered an NFTS place.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

We are looking for people with a desire to tell stories, a strong visual sense and an enthusiasm for film and television culture and history. Successful applicants may have a degree in a relevant subject, such as animation, graphics, illustration or fine arts, or may have taken intensive short animation courses or may have worked in the industry and now want to develop their own work.

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Recipient: National Film & Television School
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