The NFTS to award Sir Sam Mendes with an honorary fellowship

May 12, 2021

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is delighted to award multi-award-winning director, producer and screenwriter Sir Sam Mendes with an honorary fellowship.

NFTS Chairman Patrick McKenna will present the fellowship, awarded each year to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the industry at the School’s annual graduation ceremony, due to take place at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London on Monday 24 May 2021.

Oscar- and BAFTA-winning Sir Sam Mendes has enjoyed an illustrious screen career with critically-acclaimed films including American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and Skyfall. He most recently enjoyed global success with 1917, shot by NFTS alumni and cinematographer Sir Roger Deakins and co-written with Krysty Wilson-Cairns who graduated from the School just six years ago in 2015.

Mendes was selected for an honorary fellowship by the NFTS board of governors to honour both his superlative contribution to the screen industry worldwide and the time and dedication he showed to the School’s Directing Fiction students throughout the pandemic, delivering twelve intensive weekly classes, covering each aspect of the production process. At the start of lockdown, Mendes was also one of the first industry names to step forward to host a School wide virtual Masterclass. Additionally, NFTS governors commended his recent vital work in the cultural sector, establishing an emergency fund for freelancers and artists affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Mendes commented: “I couldn’t be prouder or more flattered to have received the offer of this honorary fellowship. One of the few highlights of lockdown was my regular once a week contact with the brilliant and inspiring group of young directors at the NFTS. Although they assured me I was helping to keep them going through this tough time, it increasingly seemed like it was the other way round. During that time, it also became increasingly clear to me what a great institution the NFTS is. I am genuinely honoured to now be a part of it.”

Patrick McKenna, NFTS chairman said: “Sir Sam Mendes many accomplishments as a director, producer and screenwriter of bold and distinctive films are a real inspiration to NFTS students, the next generation of filmmakers. We are delighted to honour his contribution to the creative industries. His support and guidance of the School’s emerging directors during the pandemic went above and beyond, helping to lift their spirits and keep them motivated during what was a very uncertain and turbulent time.”

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