A decade of support for NFTS scholars: Kieran Nolan Jones

Since it’s inception in 2013 Sargent-Disc’s scholarships have supported 25 graduates of the National Film and Television School (NFTS). We’re taking a look back at the alumni of the Production Management Diploma Programme to share their experiences and learn how the scholarship impacted their journey.

Entering the film industry is often a dream nurtured by passion, and for many, the path is not always a straight line. For Kieran Nolan Jones, a producer in the world of branded content and commercials, the journey from university to the prestigious National Film and Television School was shaped by determination, challenges, and the invaluable support of the Sargent-Disc scholarship.

After spending two years working in university administrations and events management after graduating from university, Kieran decided to pursue a career in the film industry. The decision to attend the NFTS came after a long-standing dream and a goal to immerse himself in the world of film production. The unique approach of the NFTS Production Management Diploma course, discovered on the school’s website, caught his attention.

The appeal of production management, which involves working closely with every department to understand their needs and workflows, resonated with Kieran’s desire to gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry. With a background in event organisation, he saw a transferable skill set that would seamlessly integrate into the world of production management.

Accepting the course place at NFTS was not without challenges. Personal circumstances, including a family emergency and financial constraints, presented potential hurdles. However, the Sargent-Disc scholarship emerged as a beacon of support. This financial assistance not only eased the burden but also allowed him to focus more time on studies and take on extra-curricular production work, enhancing practical skills and industry experience.

The NFTS Production Management Diploma course proved to be a transformative experience. Beyond its unprecedented curriculum focusing on practical learning, the course instilled a deep sense of confidence. Kieran learned to navigate and overcome challenges inherent in production, a skill set that would prove invaluable in the real-world scenarios of film and television production. The scholarship also opened doors to valuable industry connections and resources. The confidence gained during the NFTS Production Management Diploma course, coupled with Sargent-Disc’s standing in the industry, provided a solid foundation for his budding career.

Having successfully completed the course at the NFTS, Kieran embarked on a dynamic career as a freelance producer in branded content and commercials. Working with renowned brands such as Stella McCartney, EA Sports, Universal Music, and DoorDash.

Additionally, Kieran is the founder and lead producer of Hellmouth Pictures, a production company specializing in horror and fantasy. The company, in its three years of existence, has produced short films funded by prestigious organisations like the BFI and BBC and produced and episode of Disney and Hulu’s ’Bite Sized Horror’. Notably, Hellmouth Pictures is currently in production on two feature-length horror documentaries.

Kieran’s journey from university to the NFTS, supported by the Sargent-Disc scholarship, showcases the transformative power of education and financial assistance in shaping successful careers in the film industry. The commitment to lifelong learning, coupled with the confidence gained at the NFTS, has propelled him into a thriving career, leaving an indelible mark in the world of film production.

Nominations announced for the RTS Programme Awards 2024, in partnership with Cast & Crew

The nominations have this week been announced for the RTS Programme Awards 2024, which is this year headline sponsored for the first time by Cast & Crew, the leading global provider of software and payroll services for the entertainment industry and parent company of Sargent-Disc.

Shortlisted nominees across all 30 categories were revealed by presenter Gaby Roslin on Thursday 7th March 2024, via a broadcast on the RTS website and YouTube channel.

Watch again here.

The BBC leads the charge this year with 51 nominations, in particular dominating with its drama output. Four nominations apiece have gone to hard-hitting true crime story The Sixth Commandment and comedy thriller series Black Ops, and the PSB has also scored three nominations in the Limited Series category for Best Interests, Boiling Point and The Sixth Commandment.

The BBC also owns all three nominations for the Breakthrough Award: Ashley Thomas (Great Expectations), Hamza Yassin (Hamza: Strictly Birds of Prey) and Lucy Edwards (Japan – The Way I See It – The Travel Show).

Channel 4 received a total of 17 nominations, with popular comedy drama Big Boys recognised across Comedy Drama, Comedy Performance – Male (Jon Pointing) and Writer – Comedy (Jack Rooke).

Meanwhile, Disney+ has scored its first RTS Programme Award nominations with superhero comedy Extraordinary featured in both the Scripted Comedy and Comedy Performance – Female (Máiréad Tyers) categories.

The Leading Actor – Female category sees Jodie Whittaker and Tamara Lawrance nominated for Time (BBC), alongside Sarah Lancashire for Happy Valley (BBC). In the Leading Actor – Male category, Kane Robinson is nominated for Top Boy (Netflix), Gary Oldman for Slow Horses (Apple TV+) and Timothy Spall for The Sixth Commandment (BBC).

Laurence Sargent, Co-Head International at Cast & Crew and Sargent-Disc Director says: “After eight years as an RTS Major Patron, Sargent-Disc is extremely proud that 2024 marks the new chapter of headline sponsorship from our parent company Cast & Crew, a global business with established links to companies across the UK industry who are producing world-class content. We congratulate all the 2024 nominees and look forward to celebrating their excellence on the night.

Kenton Allen, Chair of the RTS Programme Awards, said: “2023 was an outstanding year for UK creativity, and the nominations we have announced today highlight the breadth of genre-defining, exceptional programming that British audiences have enjoyed over the last 12 months. Despite the unpredictable times our industry currently faces, we at the RTS welcome the opportunity to come together as a creative community and celebrate the hard work and incredible talent, on and off camera, that makes sensational shows for audiences here and on the global stage.

The RTS Programme Awards in partnership with Cast & Crew will take place on Tuesday 26th March at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London, hosted by comedian Tom Allen.

View the full list of nominations here.

2024 NFTS Graduation – celebrating the achievements of up and coming filmmakers

The annual National Film and Television School (NFTS) Graduation ceremony, sponsored by BBC Studios, took place on Friday 23rd February at the Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square. The celebration not only recognises and celebrates the successes of the graduating students, but also offers them the chance to forge connections for their future careers with screen industry members.  

Emma Wilford, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sargent-Disc, attended the ceremony as a proud sponsor of three NFTS students (two Production Management Diploma students and one Production Accounting student [John Sargent Scholarship]). These serve as a key element of Sargent-Disc’s work to recognise the efforts of the NFTS and its students in achieving excellence.

Sargent-Disc Award winners

Each year at the ceremony, a number of students are chosen by key NFTS industry partners Sargent-Disc, Avid, Christie, IOSH and Panalux to recognise outstanding levels of achievement.  

The 2024 Sargent-Disc Awards went to two Production Management Diploma graduates. Helena Hunt and Carl Mason received a Final Draft software licence as well as £500 each.

Helena production managed a large and very diverse set of projects ranging from a Documentary shot in America, to Animation projects and a Children’s TV musical extravaganza. She also took on a demanding Fiction project called Resort, filmed in Spain and which required weeks of budget preparation with the Producer and meetings with crew members.

Carl showed a high level of commitment to production management throughout the course, working on over eight graduation films across a wide range of genres from animation to international documentaries filmed in Australia, California and across the USA, as well as a challenging period fiction film shot on location. Carl stepped up to every challenge with conviction and courage to ensure his teams had the resources and support needed to make the best possible films safely, on budget and on schedule.

Dr. Laurence Sargent commented, “The students graduating from the NFTS today are the future of our industry. Their hard work, skill and creativity are critical to its ongoing success. Sargent-Disc is proud to support this year’s Production Managers with awards in addition to providing an annual scholarship for two Production Management students. We wish them every success as they embark on their careers.” 

Left to Right: Carl Mason, Emma Wilford and Helena Hunt
Photo Credit: National Film and Television School

NFTS Honorary Fellowship

In recognition of the exceptional contribution they have made to the film industry, Production Design legends Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer were awarded the impressive Honorary Fellowship. Not only have the pair been nominated for a total of seven Oscars, most recently for their work on Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, they were also celebrated for their efforts to nurture emerging filmmakers.

Honorary Fellowship recipients Katie Spencer and Sarah Greenwood
Photo Credit: National Film and Television School

For more information about the NFTS, click here.