StoryFutures Academy

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National Film and Television School & Royal Holloway, University of London Awarded £10m funding to Run Industry Centre of Excellence for Immersive Storytelling

Bid Supported by Sir Lenny Henry, Asif Kapadia, Georgina Campbell, Sarah Gavron and Alex Garland

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) and Royal Holloway University have won a £10 million bid to run a new National Centre of Excellence in Immersive Storytelling, to be known as StoryFutures Academy, following an open competition run by UK Research and Innovation.

StoryFutures Academy will develop cutting-edge creative training and research programmes in immersive storytelling to ensure the UK creative workforce is the most skilled in the world in the use of immersive technologies. As well as experimental labs,  placements and writers’ rooms, the centre will support and co-fund dozens of real immersive productions with a focus on storytelling.

The centre is a key part of the £33m Audience of the Future programme, part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The programme aims to pioneer immersive experiences across the creative industries. It is also aligned with the Creative Industries Clusters Programme.

Bid Supporters and Champions

Organisations from the screen industries, film, games and TV producers, will be invited to be part of experimental labs run by NFTS and Royal Holloway starting with a number of high profile supporters of the bid including: Oscar winning writer, director and producer, Asif Kapadia (Amy), award-winning actor and comedian, Royal Holloway alumnus Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), BAFTA winning actress, Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror), BAFTA winning director and NFTS alumna, Sarah Gavron (Suffragette) and Oscar nominated writer, producer and director, and NFTS Associate Director, Alex Garland (Ex Machina). Find out more about our supporters here.

The National Centre of Excellence will be led by Co-Directors Dr Jon Wardle (NFTS) and Professor James Bennett (Royal Holloway).

Jon Wardle, NFTS Director, said:

“We are delighted to be awarded the bid to run the National Centre of Excellence in Immersive Storytelling in partnership with Royal Holloway. It is our aim to make immersive another success story for UK Plc’s world leading screen industries by enabling our world-leading storytellers of film, TV, games and theatre to exploit this new medium. We intend to place diversity at the heart of our endeavours, ensuring that the future of immersive storytelling is one that reflects the full breadth of the UK’s creative talent.”

Professor James Bennett, Royal Holloway said:

“This is an exciting partnership between the country’s leading screen industries’ training provider and one of the UK’s leading research institutions. It’s a unique collaboration that will bring together industry and academia to explore the exciting creative and commercial opportunities of immersive technologies, placing story-telling at the heart of the work.

“StoryFutures Academy will work with organisations across the UK to commission 60 productions which will play a vital role in the development of the UK’s immersive sector and talent pipeline. The experimental labs will tap into Royal Holloway’s cutting-edge work in electronic engineering, media arts, management and psychology, to enable producers of immersive productions to respond to issues identified during audience testing”

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