Wildflame becomes first Welsh Indie to forge partnership with NFTS Cymru

Nov 30, 2021

New three-year partnership with NFTS Cymru Wales sees the launch of Wildflame’s Creative Training Scheme – a ground-breaking training scheme for staff and freelancers.

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Leading Wales-based factual indie Wildflame Productions, has developed a new initiative with the pre-eminent National Film & Television School (NFTS) to deliver world-class training for Wildflame staff and key freelance colleagues. The move is part of Wildflame’s commitment to proactively contribute to the growth of the unscripted sector in Wales and will see them become the first Welsh indie to partner with NFTS Cymru Wales for bespoke training.

In a ground-breaking model, production talent working at Wildflame will now be eligible for Wildflame’s Creative Training Scheme – a bespoke package of ongoing training to develop the team’s expertise, with the aim of raising the bar across factual production. Drawing from the comprehensive schedule of NFTS short courses available within Wales and across the UK, talent will be able to create bespoke training programmes tailored to specific project needs and linked directly to their individual skills gaps. Training provided by the NFTS covers the full spectrum of technical, production and business skills, from Data Wrangling to Documentary Interview Techniques to Production Accounting, with courses delivered by experienced industry practitioners. As part of the company’s commitment to supporting the freelance sector working in Wales, Wildflame’s Creative Training Scheme will also be open to freelance talent who regularly work with the company.

This three-year training partnership aims to promote a consistent programme of ongoing training within the indie to ensure career development at all levels.

Paul Islwyn Thomas, CEO, Wildflame, says: “We believe this is the first indie-initiated scheme in the UK.  Wildflame is creating a culture where training is at the heart of our business, not on the periphery. We want to empower our staff to become the best they can be and we, therefore, need to offer a clear and structured training pathway for new and established talent.  Industry training for the indie and freelance sector has been available on an ad hoc basis for many years, but it’s often considered an ‘optional extra’ due to costs and time constraints. The indie sector has often fallen short in its ability to deliver a structured and accredited training model – particularly one which is linked directly to commissioning needs, where we feel it would make the most impact for businesses.

“In such a fast-moving industry, our team has to be at the top of its game, both creatively and technically, so we are delighted to be offering them this unique opportunity. We need to support our staff and freelancers in their development and, through our Creative Training Scheme, they can now learn from the best tutors in the business at the world-class National Film & Television School, through the recently-established NFTS hub in Cardiff.  We are proud to be announcing this partnership, which forms part of our long-term commitment to proactively contribute to the growth of the factual production sector in Wales.”

For half a century, the National Film and Television School (NFTS) has developed some of Britain and the world’s top creative talent. The School is recognised internationally as a model of excellence in specialist higher education and is one of the world’s pre-eminent film, television and games institutions.  It is consistently the only UK film school to be listed in the Hollywood Reporter’s top international film schools list and has been described in the Observer newspaper as the ‘World’s Best Film School’.

NFTS alumni are some of the most in-demand and well-known creative talents on the global stage.  Graduates of the School have gone on to win 13 Oscars and 152 BAFTAs with alumni including cinematographer Sir Roger Deakins (Blade Runner 2049 and 1917), writer Malorie Blackman OBE, Laurie Nunn, creator of Netflix’s Sex Education, BAFTA-winning 1917 writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, acclaimed writer/director Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), BAFTA-winning director David Yates best known for his work on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts franchises, animator Nick Park, creator of the beloved ‘Wallace And Gromit’ characters, director Yann Demage (Top Boy, ‘71), renowned arthouse filmmaker Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), award-winning director Alrick Riley (Bridgerton and Stephen) and composer Nainita Desai (The Reason I Jump and For Sama).

Judith Winnan, Head of NFTS Cymru Wales, commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Wildflame to deliver a high quality factual training programme that will benefit not just their team but also the production community as a whole. It’s exciting to see the ways in which NFTS Cymru Wales can work with indies in a more targeted and strategic way to deliver the gold standard of training that the National Film and Television School is known for, and we very much look forward to working with Paul and the team over the next few years to support Wildflame through further growth and success.

Llinos Griffin-Williams, Creative Director, Wildflame, adds: “We have always championed Welsh talent and those committed to the sector’s growth out of Wales. But the responsibility lies with us as an indie to empower and support our staff and freelancers if we are to seriously compete in producing the very best in global content. Wildflame works for many different broadcasters both within the UK and internationally. Whether it’s excellence in story-telling, structure or content development, we need everyone to be on point. Our teams must be aware of the latest technological trends and our programmes must look a million dollars. We hope that, through our Creative Training Scheme, and an openness to develop skills and improve, that we and our creative talent pool will together strengthen and grow the unscripted sector in Wales.

Wildflame Productions is known for its wide range of factual content for UK and international broadcasters. Our portfolio of shows includes the recently-transmitted and BAFTA CYMRU Single Documentary winner Amy Dowden : Crohn’s and Me for BBC One and BBC Wales; 14-part series Evacuees / Efaciwis (w/t) for S4C; Michael Ball’s Wonderful Wales (Channel 5); Yellowstone Supervolcano: American Doomsday (Discovery+ Original); Secrets of the Celtic Grave (Smithsonian Channel and S4C / Discovery); The Story of Welsh Art (BBC Two Wales and BBC Four); and the Grierson Award-shortlisted The 1900 Island (BBC One Wales/BBC Two).

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