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.

 

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).

Mentioned in the press:

Abbie Bolitho

With a background in current affairs and factual programmes, Abbie has been able to apply her research and organisational skills to a wide variety of projects in both English and Welsh. These include S4C's Nyrsys, Dim Byd i Wisgo and more recently Beasts - a series on the 'top 10' animals for children which is being sold internationally.

Adrian Grant

Adrian has worked on primetime shows including Emmy Award-winning ‘The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night’, BAFTA Award-winning ‘First Dates’ and more recently he has been Producing content for Channel 4’s True Stories.

Now a Development Producer at Wildflame, Adrian joins the team with an aim to apply his editorial knowledge and experience in developing new shows and formats for the company.

Alexia Barrett

Alexia graduated in 2020 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism Communications and Politics from Cardiff University, and is now kickstarting her career in TV Production. She started working with Wildflame as a Researcher on their Adventure Living History Series, Ultimate Viking.  Alexia achieved her first Network Researcher Credit on the Wildflame series, Michael Ball's Wonderful Wales. 

She will be working across our full range of factual output for UK and international broadcasters.

Cai Glover

Cai first joined Wildflame in the development team where he created ideas and crafted taster tapes. He worked on several productions using his skills as a self-shooter and researcher including S4C's digital series 'Bwrw 'Mlan', BBC Bitesize 'History KS2', S4C's 'Dim i'w Wisgo'. He was a shooting assistant producer on the second series of S4C's 'Nyrsys'. He went on to follow his passion for editing and got his first editor credit on our documentary 'Aled Haydn Jones: You, Me and the Surrogate’.

Cai is now a freelance editor with credits including C5’s ‘Wonderful Wales with Michael Ball, C4’s ‘Perfect Pitch’ and a number of documentaries for the S4C ‘Drych’ strand including ‘Jason Mohammad: Ely, The Riots and Me’.

Carrie Smith

Carrie is an award-winning film-maker. She is a director, series producer and edit producer with experience across a wide range of popular factual content, including observational documentaries, popular factual and digital content. She is an expert access negotiator and has successfully secured access to several police forces across the UK, as well as multiple private businesses such as hotels and veterinary practices.

Carrie filmed, produced and directed The Greatest Gift which won Best Factual Series at the Bafta (Cymru) awards. Carrie has also produced behind-the-scenes content and created high-concept digital features for drama co-pro series for the BBC, Netflix & HBO, winning an International Webby award for her work on 'The Ballad of the Peaky Blinders'. Before joining Wildflame Productions, Carrie was a Senior Producer on a brand-new primetime competition format for Channel 4.

Catrin Jones-Shawe

Catrin’s career began in children’s television where she produced content for both S4C and CBBC.

Catrin has a passion for health-based documentaries and in 2019 won a BAFTA Cymru Award for best factual series for Velindre: Hospital of Hope (ITV Wales). Her most recent series, Nyrsys (S4C) is an observational documentary format highlighting the incredible work performed by nurses across Wales.

Celyn Williams

With a passion for history, Celyn has spent her time collecting and telling stories of extraordinary individuals from across Wales.

Her previous work includes a number of high-profile history productions including Time Team, and The Aberfan Wives Club (ITV).

For S4C, Celyn worked on the double Welsh BAFTA winning Adam Price a Streic y Glowyr and more recently, a living history series The 1900 Island (BBC).

Connie Fisher

Connie moved into the world of television after a career as a West End leading lady playing Maria Von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Sound of Music.

With a passion for TV and entertainment, Connie leads the development of formats & features projects for Wildflame and works closely with broadcasters creating projects for both high-profile and emerging talent across the full range of factual programming.

Esme Horne

The last 10 years of Esme’s career has been dedicated to understanding the production process and supporting a creative vision from development to transmission. Since joining Wildflame in 2017, Esme has worked across the Wildflame slate: reinforcing the production management team and helping to assure all projects are run smoothly and efficiently.

Gareth Fisher

Gareth has extensive knowledge of the business of production across all genres. He has an outstanding track-record in controlling large production teams and multi-million-pound projects. Gareth has worked with all of the main UK Broadcasters as well as forging strong relationships with International Broadcasters and Co - Production partners.

Jacqueline Lee

Jacqueline is a self-shooting producer-director, working mainly on observational documentaries and lightly formatted factual entertainment.
She thrives on gaining access to difficult and sensitive environments and building and maintaining relationships quickly with contributors, telling compelling and interesting stories.

Jacqueline has previously produced content for BBCThree, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and most recently S4C. Currently, she is producing and directing exciting Wildflame documentaries for S4C.

Leona Cowley

Leona has been with Wildflame since its inception and has a wealth of experience in a senior production management role working on regional and high-profile documentaries being filmed in various exotic and remote locations across the globe. Her extensive experience spans some 25 years working across most programme genres.

Llinos Griffin-Williams

As a Bafta Cymru Winning Executive Producer, Llinos is our Creative Director following her many successes as Executive Producer, Factual and International Co-productions at Wildflame Productions. She leads on international content development, production and delivery of Factual Programming to Domestic and International Broadcasters and is part of the Wildflame Senior Management Board. Llinos is Vice Chair of RTS Cymru Wales and a member of Welsh Indies Council TAC. 

Lloyd Rees

Lloyd started his career working on Live Studio programmes; The One Show and This Morning before moving on to development roles at RDF and BBC Studios. Believing variety is the spice of life, Lloyd used his interest in consumer issues on a range of programmes such as The Big Con, Shop Well for Less and The Martin Lewis Money Show.

During his career he’s also worked on some of the biggest Factual Entertainment formats, including The Great British Bake Off, Dragons’ Den, First Dates and Race Across the World. Lloyd returned to Wales and joined Wildflame working on international productions and has gone on to work with us on Wonderful Wales with Michael Ball for C5 and a major new living history project for S4C about Evacuees

Manon Alice-Thomas

After graduating with a BA (Hons) from York St. John’s University Business School, Manon gained her first professional experience working in events management. She then completed an internship with Kate Borde at Cardiff based talent agency KBPM, and has recently undertaken a contract as Junior Assistant at the ‘InterTalent Group’, London, supporting the Chairman and Founder, Prof. Jonathan Shalit, OBE.  As a Television Production Coordinator for Wildflame, Manon supports the team across the slate of UK and international productions

Megan Roberts

With a background in Archaeology and Anthropology, Megan's passions lie with telling people's stories both past and present with real empathy and understanding. Having filmed in various locations all over the world, her previous work has included both award winning international productions such as The Wall and more recently delicate observational storytelling in Bois y Rhondda
Megan has joined the team on the international Vikings series and will be working across all Wildflame’s specialist factual programming

Meinir Richards 

Meinir is a Series Producer who also Edit Produces and Directs in both English and Welsh.

She has over 25 years of experience in television and has worked across a range of genres which include, factual entertainment, comedy, live programmes, drama and film. She is an expert at securing exclusives with Talent, and access to high profile worldwide companies, such as NASA and Mensa. She thrives on establishing and maintaining strong relationships with talent and contributors and is known for her way of producing engaging, warm, and sensitive films, with people and story at its heart.

Prior to joining Wildflame, Meinir was Series Producer and Director on segments for BBC1’s The One Show.

 

Mike Davies

Mike has accrued over a dozen years of experience in company and programme finance.  His expertise encompasses day-to-day financial transactions, managing company-wide spending against fiscal targets, preparation of monthly management accounts and forecasting. He is also responsible for day to day scheduling and running of Wildflame’s editing facilities.

Paul Islwyn Thomas

Paul is founder and CEO of Wildflame Productions and is responsible for the creative and business management of the company. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, Paul has built an enviable reputation as one of the leading factual Executive Producers and TV Executives working in Wales. Throughout a distinguished career Paul has delivered hundreds of hours of programming for both UK and international broadcasters. He is currently Chair of the highly acclaimed ‘It’s My Shout’ Training Scheme which offers exciting pathways into the industry for all championing diversity and social inclusion.

Sam Lumley

With a background predominantly in Factual Entertainment, Sam has worked as an Assistant Producer in casting, welfare, and forward-planning roles on shows across the UK’s major broadcasters.

Some of his credits include: ‘Little Mix: The Search’ (BBC), ‘The Voice’ (ITV), ‘The Only Way is Essex’ (ITV2), ‘9/11:Diwrnod Wnaeth Newid Fy Mywyd’ (S4C), ‘The Great British Bake Off’ & ‘Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker’ (C4), ‘Stage School’ (E4), and ‘Michael Ball’s Wonderful Wales’ (C5).

As part of our development team, and with a keen interest in History and Adventure, Sam is using his editorial experience and passion for storytelling to create, capture, and produce new ideas and stories.

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