BAFTA’s Breakthrough China launched in Shanghai

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), in partnership with Hong Kong-based investment company Yu Holdings, launched Breakthrough, a talent initiative China in Shanghai during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Friday. Its aim is to nurture China’s future stars of film, games and television, and bringing them to international attention.

British actor Tom Hiddleston is the ambassador for BAFTA Breakthrough China.

This was the first time BAFTA’s flagship new talent initiative took place outside the UK, according to Amanda Berry, BAFTA’s chief executive.

“Over the years we have gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the Chinese creative industries, but we recognize that we still have a lot to learn about new talent in China, so we are reaching out to members of the Chinese film, games and television industries to help us by recommending talented individuals and encouraging them to apply,” Berry said.

“BAFTA Breakthrough China will identify and support talented newcomers, bring together passionate and creative people, and encourage closer collaboration and cultural exchange between the Chinese and UK industries for our mutual benefit,” she added.

A jury of Chinese and British industry experts will select five “Breakthrough” talents from across China to take part in the year-long mentoring and guidance program. Their names will be announced at an exclusive event held in Shanghai in October.

The winners will then be flown to the UK to be introduced to British creatives and share their knowledge and experiences with their British peers.

Berry said BAFTA is inviting Chinese industry professionals to recommend potential candidates, who will then be invited to submit an application at BAFTA’s official website. Potential candidates may be a director, writer, producer, actor or game developer, with a demonstrable ambition to work with UK talent, or to produce content for global audiences.

The deadline for industry recommendations is Aug 12. The deadline for applications from individual candidates is Aug 16.

“BAFTA Breakthrough China is instrumental in helping to strengthen the careers of exciting new talent, and to promote them on a global scale,” Hiddleston said. “I have seen first-hand all the fantastic ways in which BAFTA supports Breakthrough British talent, and it’s wonderful that they will now be doing the same in China. There is so much creativity and craftsmanship in China and I’m excited to see who the winners will be.”

The Breakthrough Brits initiative has been running since 2013 and has brought over 100 emerging British talents to global attention, including actor Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming and games producer Dan Gray in Monument Valley.

Over 40 percent of Breakthrough Brits have gone on to become BAFTA winners or nominees at the prestigious Film, Games or Television Awards ceremonies.

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