London Film School

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London Film School
Established 1956
Type private
Location London, United Kingdom
Campus Covent Garden
Affiliations CILECT

The London Film School (LFS) is a not-for-profit film school in London and is situated in a converted brewery in Covent Garden, London, close to a hub of the UK film industry based in Soho. The LFS was founded in 1956 Gilmore Roberts as the London School of Film Technique in Brixton and later moved to Charlotte Street, becoming The London Film School under Principal Bob Dunbar.[1] From 1971 to 2000 it was known as The London International Film School, and reverted to the name London Film School in 2001. It offers MA degrees in Filmmaking and Screenwriting, recruiting from all over the world. LFS is the only graduate-only film conservatoire specifically constituted as an international community; only 25% of its students are from the UK. The LFS is one of three UK Creative Skillset "Film Academy" Centres of Excellence.[2]

The school's current director is producer Ben Gibson and its current chairman is Oscar-nominated Mike Leigh O.B.E.


>50 years on[edit]

In 2006, students’ films were screened at 80 film festivals and they won 12 major, international festival prizes and a BAFTA nomination while in 2007 LFS students’ films played at 100 festivals and won 15 major prizes.

Filmmaking is taught on stages, and in workshops rather than in classrooms so the building functions like a studio. On the MA Filmmaking, students work on a minimum of six films, at least two as director, with all costs included in fees. In addition, the films are mostly made on film, including two 10 minute 35mm studio/location drama exercises. With an approximate annual intake of 60 student, and just 125 full-time students at any one time on the MA Filmmaking course, it generates over 170 finished films a year. It's an exceptionally busy place.

LFS is a living creative community and not a short term 'immersion experience' or a commercial training product. It's a very independent non-profit school run by passionate and experienced filmmakers with 18 full-time faculty, including Les Blair and Mark Solomon, and a varied and hugely talented group of visiting lecturers, technicians and artists. The LFS hosts a masterclass programme that reflects the school's status: Abbas Kiarostami, Hanif Kureshi, Franc Roddam, Dick Pope, Seamus McGarvey and Stephen Frears have all been recent visitors and lecturers. Such is the School’s global reputation that Al Gore chose to launch Current TV in Europe at the School recently.

2008 has been year full of innovations and success stories for LFS. 2005 graduate Carlos Armella, following a major festival career for his documentary feature Toro Negro, won the Golden Lion in Venice for his short Tierra Y Pan. LFS filmmakers achieved over 30 first prizes at international film festivals. These included a record three awards at the Exposure UK Student Festival, one of which was the Grand Jury prize for Samuele Romano's Camille E Marriuccia and five awards at the Kodak Student Commercial Awards.

MA Screenwriting students also received accolades, including an International Emmy award for 2008 graduate Felicity Carpenter and Best Comedic Short at the prestigious BlueCat Screenwriting Lab Short Screenplay Awards in Los Angeles for 2007 graduate Gabriel Valejjo.

LFS attracted a group of leading figures from the cultural world to support its vision to create a new building incorporating the LFS Centre: a two screen centre for filmmakers and public, fostering innovation, internationalism and independence in cinema with seven day screenings, presentations, workshops and colloquia. LFS patrons are Chris Auty, Tony Elliott, Roger Graef, Christopher Hird, John Hurt, Hanif Kureishi, Charlie Parsons, Franc Roddam, Anthony Smith, Iain Smith, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Thomas and Alan Yentob.

In 2009 LFS launches Fast Forward, its first integrated groupings of 'upgrade' programmes for working professionals, offering a combination of intensive workshops, film crewing, mentoring and career strategy work. International projects presented by LFS will include A Few Euro Less, a sequel to the highly successful A Fistful of Euros, which brought together students, directors and producers from LFS, La Femis in Paris, the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest and the National Film School of Denmark, for a major workshop and screening event focussed on low-budget feature case studies. A Few Euros Less will take place in Budapest in June.

In 2013, LFS films had 232 festival entries across 179 events, winning 43 prizes, nominations or special mentions. The tally breaks LFS records for global visibility and graduate success. The list covers Toronto, Venice, Tribeca, San Sebastian, Clermont Ferrand, The London Film Festival, San Francisco, the BAFTAs and the Student Academy Awards. In 2014 LEIDI, the London Film School graduation film of Simón Mesa Soto, was awarded the highest honour at the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d'Or for Best Short Film in Competition in the Official Selection.

Notable graduates (a selection)[edit]

The school's alumni include:

Honorary Associates[edit]

Sponsors and funders[edit]

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 51°30′49″N 0°07′33″W / 51.5135°N 0.1257°W / 51.5135; -0.1257