LONDON -- Patrick McKenna, founder and chief executive of U.K. finance banner Ingenious, has been appointed chairman of the National Film & Television School (NFTS) board of governors.
The financier behind Avatar, Life of Pi, Trance, 127 Hours, X-Men First Class and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will help steer the $20 million (£13 million) fundraising for the school's second phase to build a digital village on its site on the outskirts of London.
Ingenious has raised and invested over $12 billion (£8 billion) into the U.K.’s creative industries since 1998 including finance for James Cameron’s Avatar.
Ingenious also invests in British-made TV production and formats such as drama series Foyle’s War and most recently crime thriller series The Fall, which airs on BBC2.
NFTS student films have been nominated for 25 Oscars and BAFTAs in its 40 year history and won seven.
McKenna and Ingenious have been involved with the NFTS over many years as a funder and supporter of the school’s work, co-sponsor of its 2013 Gala and contributor to an innovative new course -- Entrepreneurial Producing for the Creative Industries course (EPCRI).
Nik Powell, director of the NFTS, said: “It’s brilliant to have such a major figure in our business as Patrick as our new chairman. I very much look forward to working with him to complete phase two of the NFTS Digital Village project and ensuring the NFTS remains one of the top film schools in the world."
McKenna succeeds former ITV high flier Simon Shaps who stepped down at the end of his term and recently became managing director, International content and production at CORE media Group, the company that owns American Idol-maker 19 Entertainment to launch a UK operation to create shows and invest in production companies.