BAFTA to Showcase Up-and-Coming British Film Talent to the US Industry in New York and Los Angeles

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced 'Brits to Watch: The Screenings', a series of showcase events, in partnership with British Council, that will introduce outstanding British film talent to the US film industry. The series builds on the legacy of BAFTA's 2011 'Brits to Watch' initiative supported by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at which BAFTA introduced 42 promising British newcomers to leading figures in the US film, television and games industries at a black-tie gala event in Los Angeles.

'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' will be hosted by BAFTA in New York and Los Angeles and will consist of up to six events, replicated in both cities, over 12 months. On each occasion, a British actor, director, writer or producer on the cusp of an international breakthrough will present a sample of recent work to an exclusive audience of film industry professionals. BAFTA will also arrange a number of follow-up meetings for the individuals to meet with key industry figures in both cities.

The series is endorsed by 'Friends of Brits to Watch: The Screenings', a high-profile group of film professionals including: actors Damian Lewis (Homeland) Tom Hiddleston (Avengers Assemble, Midnight in Paris), Andrea Riseborough (Shadow Dancer, Brighton Rock), Simon Pegg(Star Trek, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness, Men in Black 3) and Sienna Miller (The Girl, Interview); director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead and the upcoming The World's End); screenwriter John Logan (Skyfall, Hugo, The Aviator); and writer, director and producer Armando Iannucci (Veep, In The Loop).

The first evening of the series, in July, will feature director Clio Barnard, one of the most talked-about filmmakers at this year's Cannes International Film Festival with her second film The Selfish Giant, which screened in Directors' Fortnight and was acquired by Sundance Selects. An established fine artist, Barnard burst onto the independent film scene in 2010 with her debut film, The Arbor, for which she was recognised in 2011 with a BAFTA nomination for 'Outstanding Debut By A British Writer, Director or Producer'.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: "'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' is an exciting new chapter in our 'Brits to Watch' initiative, following the gala reception in 2011 attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and enables us to offer US film professionals a closer acquaintance with individual British rising stars. We are in a unique position to offer unrivalled opportunities to help British talent make connections with those who have the power to shape and enhance their careers."

Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chair of the BAFTA Los Angeles Film Committee, added: "We're thrilled that Clio Barnard will feature in our very first 'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' showcase. Clio has long shown her prodigious talent as an artist filmmaker, and now, with just two features under her belt, shows extraordinary maturity as a feature filmmaker. This new series is central to BAFTA's mission to support new talent. Film festivals provide an excellent platform for British talent, but the Academy has identified a need to present promising new voices in a less time-pressured environment to a carefully curated audience."

Harlene Freezer, Chairman of BAFTA New York, added: "Identifying new talent is an electrifying experience. And supporting that talent is extremely rewarding. BAFTA's new initiative 'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' merges these two aims in a series highlighting the exciting new work of producers, directors, writers and actors coming from the UK. New York is the center for indie films and we are proud to introduce stellar UK talent to the New York filmmaking community."

Briony Hanson, Director of Film at British Council, said: "British Council is very happy to be supporting this series. The UK has an incredibly rich seam of new film talent coming through, and this is a great opportunity to help them connect with the wider international industry."
BAFTA's 'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' is produced in partnership with British Council with the support of Framestore, Langham Hospitality Group, Soho House and UK Trade & Investment.

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