24 September 13
Meet the first ever BAFTA Breakthrough Brits; a group of industry newcomers who were selected to represent UK talent across film, TV and games.
BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, in partnership with Burberry, is a new initiative to celebrate and support the UK’s future talent. The group of 17 was selected by a jury of industry experts from an open call for nominations. John Willis, Chairman of BAFTA explains:
"We want to turbocharge the careers of really talented people right across the spectrum of the creative industries"
The successful BAFTA Breakthrough Brits will now be invited to a day of networking sessions and inspirational talks from leading industry figures that takes place at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London on Monday 21 October.
Rowan Athale – writer/director
Rowan Athale, aged 32, lives in Balham, South London. He was born and raised in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, and moved to London at the age of 18 to work as a studio runner. He began directing a few years later, and directed the acclaimed short film A Good Life starring Daisy Haggard and Tom Harper.
Rowan’s debut feature film Wasteland (re-titled in the UK as The Rise), starring Luke Treadaway, Iwan Rheon, Timothy Spall, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby and Gerard Kearns, premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim. It also screened in competition at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival, and was in competition at Dinard. The film will be released nationwide in the UK in September 2013. International distribution has been secured for a number of territories including North America, France, Australia/New Zealand Japan.
Rowan has been nominated for several awards including the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director at the 2012 British Independent Film Awards and the Best Newcomer Award at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival. Rowan was also one of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow 2011.
Rowan said: “Being named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit feels great. Recognition from the industry, both those you are inspired by, and those who are your peers, is hugely valuable. The fact that an organisation such as BAFTA has confidence in your work can’t be underestimated.”
Ed Barratt – producer
Ed Barratt, aged 30, lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was raised in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. He began his career working in locations, before working in various capacities on independent feature films and high-end network television dramas. As Head of Development at Ipso Facto Films, Ed was the Assistant Producer or Development Executive on four theatrically released and internationally distributed feature films (SoulBoy, Who Killed Nancy?, Mad, Sad & Bad, and Comes a Bright Day).
More recently, under the banner of his own production company, Hook Pictures, he has enjoyed success with Wasteland (re-titled in the UK as The Rise), his debut feature film as a producer. The Rise, starring Luke Treadaway, Iwan Rheon, Timothy Spall, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby and Gerard Kearns, premiered at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival to critical acclaim. It also screened in competition at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival, and was in competition at Dinard. The film will be released nationwide in the UK in September 2013. International distribution has been secured for a number of territories including North America, France, Australia/New Zealand Japan. Hook Pictures has two new projects slated for production in 2013/14.
Ed said: “It’s great to be a part of such a prestigious scheme and to be recognised alongside some seriously talented individuals. It can be difficult running a film business from the North East when the industry is so naturally focussed on London, but I hope this shows what the regions have to offer. I’m looking forward to the networking and mentoring opportunities inherent in the award, but primarily I see the real value in the recognition that the BAFTA name brings; people, rightly, associate the organisation with quality and this award is a real seal of approval.”
Paul Brannigan – actor
Paul Brannigan, aged 27, was raised, and continues to live, in Glasgow. He was named one of Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow in 2011, and has since been named Best Actor at the British Academy Scotland Awards for his performance in The Angels’ Share, and was nominated for Best Newcomer at both the British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard Film Awards. Paul can currently be seen in the role of Ronnie in the film Sunshine on Leith, which is based on the songs of the Proclaimers, and is directed by Dexter Fletcher. He can soon be seen opposite Scarlett Johansson in the film Under The Skin, directed by Jonathan Glazer.
In late 2012, Paul helped to create and film the documentary Born To Lose? In conjunction with STV Charity Appeal, exploring the links made between addiction and genetics. The programme was watched by over 3.5 million viewers in Scotland and helped to contribute to the raising of over £2million for the charity.
Paul said: “Being named as a Breakthrough Brit came as a bit of a shock to me. It has given me a confidence boost and I'm very grateful to everyone one who selected me. It's a great privilege to be nominated alongside so many amazing people. I feel blessed.”
Oliver Clarke – game developer
Oliver Clarke, aged 35, was raised in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and now lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. He works as a professional game developer, making games across a variety of genres and platforms.
In 2011 Oliver developed the game The Cat that Got the Milk, which was the culmination of a dream to combine the work of artists with accessible gameplay to create a new experience to challenge games players. The game was met with positive critical coverage in the games media and widely played by YouTube Lets Players. Oliver has presented The Cat that Got the Milk and his latest game The Button Affair at multiple arts and game events, and has a vision of combining art with games to create new experiences and emotions for games players.
Oliver said: “Being selected as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit was a huge surprise. I am over the moon to be given such a huge privilege. I feel a sense of responsibility to do my level best to achieve the very highest standards of game development.”
Rex Crowle – game designer
Rex Crowle, aged 36, was raised on a remote farm in Cornwall and now lives in Whitechapel, east London. He began his career as a freelance creator of digital art and animation for clients such as Disney and MTV, before becoming a graphic designer at Lionhead Studios. He was later involved in the formation of the games studio Media Molecule, including the organisation’s distinctive identity and the visual style of the BAFTA-winning game LittleBigPlanet. Rex has recently taken his first creative lead on a game project at Media Molecule: Tearaway, a handheld adventure in a papercraft world, which won Best Handheld/Mobile Game at the Game Critics Awards during this year’s E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.
Rex said: “I feel very excited and honoured to be a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit! I’ve been entirely focussed on creatively leading one project for the past three years, so this honour comes just at the same time as I’m starting to look up from my monitor to see what’s going on past my screen. It’s exciting to now be able draw upon the expertise of BAFTA and its members, and figure out where interactive media and games are going.”
James Floyd – actor
James Floyd, aged 28, grew up in northwest London and currently lives in Hackney, east London. James started acting with the National Youth Theatre, before graduating to professional theatre work. His early roles include parts in television series Holby City and Dream Team, and the feature film The Infidel. James’ first major lead role came on the 2012 low-budget feature film My Brother the Devil, for which he received the Best Newcomer award at the 2012 British Independent Film Awards, Best Male Actor at the 2012 Milan International Film Festival, and was nominated for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2013 Evening Standard British Film Awards.
James said: “To have the monumental, prestigious BAFTA name even loosely associated with mine will help me hugely to push upwards in my creative endeavours. As an actor it will make it easier to get noticed by many inspiring, established people who wouldn't necessarily have me on their radar. Also, it is a confidence boost to a young actor. BAFTA, you made my year. Thank you!”
Sophia George – game designer
Sophia George, aged 23, is from Runham in Norfolk, but recently moved to south-east London. She studied Games Art & Design at Norwich University of the Arts, followed by the MProf in Games Development at Abertay University. Whilst at university, Sophia and her team won the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, in association with Dare To Be Digital, at the British Academy Games Award in 2012, for their game Tick Tock Toys. One week after finishing her master’s degree, Sophia co-founded Swallowtail Games, and Tick Tock Toys was released on the iTunes App Store in 40 countries in 2013, reaching no. 2 in the kids free apps chart.
Whilst continuing work with Swallowtail Games, Sophia has also been named the first ever Game Designer in Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). During her six-month residency, she will be creating games concepts based on the galleries, as well as running public events and workshops.
Sophia said: “It feels fantastic to be named a Breakthrough Brit! This is a great opportunity for me to learn more about the industry and improve my craft. As I’m at such an early stage in my career, I am excited to hear advice and guidance from industry experts at the BAFTA events.”
Tom Holland – actor
Tom Holland, aged 17, is from Kingston upon Thames, Surrey. Tom made his feature film debut in 2012 as Lucas in The Impossible, directed by JA Bayona, for which he received huge critical acclaim. He was named one of the Screen International Stars of Tomorrow and received the Spotlight Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, the National Board of Review Breakthrough Actor Award, Young British Performer of the Year at London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, and the Empire Award for Best Male Newcomer.
Prior to being cast in The Impossible, Tom had been performing as Billy in the West End smash hit, Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry. Tom has since gone on to film How I Live Now, directed by Kevin MacDonald, in which he plays the leading role of Isaac alongside Saoirse Ronan and George MacKay, and Locke with Tom Hardy. Tom Holland is currently filming the young lead in the new Ron Howard feature In the Heart of the Sea with Chris Hemsworth.
Tom said: “I’m honoured to have been recognised for my work by two very prestigious organisations such as BAFTA and Burberry. It’s fantastic to be among this brand new talent and to meet some really inspirational people.”
Mitu Khandaker – game developer
Mitu Khandaker, aged 29, was raised in Portsmouth and now lives near Leicester. Mitu founded the independent games studio, The Tiniest Shark Ltd, whilst continuing her PhD in Creative Technologies, looking at novel game controllers.
As part of her PhD, Mitu has spent six months in the US on a fast-track entrepreneurship program, spending time at Harvard Business School, the Kauffman Foundation, and taking part in a design and business internship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Education Arcade initiative, designing educational game concepts. She set up The Tiniest Shark Ltd on her return to the UK, where she is developing Redshirt, a social networking simulation game.
Mitu said: “I feel absolutely honoured to have been named as a Breakthrough Brit. My future plans already included continuing to work and expand my current one-woman games company, but being selected as a Breakthrough Brit has given me further confidence to pursue this.”
Dominic Mitchell – writer
Dominic Mitchell, aged 33, was born and raised in Yealand Redmayne, Lancashire, and still lives in the same village, near Lancaster. He began his career as a production runner in factual television, while writing fiction in his spare time. Dominic joined the Royal Court Theatre's Young Writers Programme in 2005 and his plays have been performed at various London venues including Shakespeare's Globe, Trafalgar Studios, Hampstead Theatre, Soho Theatre and The Young Vic.
Dominic’s original pilot script In The Flesh, which was written for the BBC Northern Voices scheme, was optioned by BBC Production Salford, and this year was green lit for series. The show was broadcast by BBC3 in the spring of 2013 to critical acclaim. Series 2 has been commissioned for six episodes, with Dominic as the head writer. Dominic also has original television projects in development with several independent production companies and broadcasters.
Dominic said: “It feels brilliant to be named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit. To have support from such a great institution is going to help immensely with my future plans. I'm most excited about the mentoring scheme. Writing can sometimes feel like working in an echo chamber. Having someone to go to for creative and career advice is going to be invaluable.”
Ade Oyefeso – actor
Ade Oyefeso, aged 20 is from Colindale, north-west London. His first professional role was as Yemi, in the hit E4 series Youngers, which was broadcast in 2013 and has been commissioned for a second series. A self-trained actor, Ade can next be seen alongside Sean Penn and Idris Elba in The Gunman, which is due for release in 2014. Ade can also be seen in the next series of Silk and Misfits.
Ade said: “It’s an honour; BAFTA is such a backbone to our industry so to be recognised for anything I’ve been a part of is really encouraging; especially since I’m a huge fan of so many people on the selection panel. I hope being a part of BAFTA Breakthrough Brits will set me on the right path to really making a career out of acting.”
Nisha Parti – producer
Nisha Parti, aged 41, grew up in Ealing, West London and now lives in Ladbroke Grove in the capital. After graduating from film school, Nisha has worked within the film industry for companies such as ICM, New Line, Heyday Films and Warner Bros.
Nisha recently set up as an independent film producer under the banner Parti Productions, where she produced her first film Honour, a thriller that centres on an honour killing, in 2012. Honour is written and directed by Shan Khan and stars Paddy Considine and Aiysha Hart. It will be released theatrically in the autumn of 2013 in the UK and the US. She has other projects in development for the BBC and with the BFI.
Nisha said: “It is lovely to be chosen by such a respected jury and is such a great opportunity to meet some brilliant people and also help get my name out there. My career as a producer is just taking off and this will really help me get my foot into the door of companies I don’t already know and help to elevate my profile; which is always really useful in the film industry.”
Dan Pearce – game developer
Dan Pearce, aged 19, lives near Maidenhead, Berkshire. In 2010, Dan and two teammates received the first ever BAFTA Young Game Designers Award for their game Hamster: Accidental World Domination, which was announced at the British Academy Children’s Awards. Through the competition, Dan was introduced to EA and TT Games, which led to him taking independent game development seriously.
Dan developed the game 10 Second Ninja, which is due for release in October, alongside his first year of study at the University of Westminster. He has also set up The Tall Trees, a games development company that aims to deliver narrative-driven experiences that focus on the joy of being a child. The Tall Trees’ first game, Castles in the Sky, is awaiting release, and other projects are in development.
Dan said: “It’s incredible, I’m really flattered. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to converse with people who I really respect and look up to. It's a tremendous opportunity to get the right advice, and from people who I find really inspiring.”
Chloe Pirrie – actress
Chloe, aged 26, was born and raised in Edinburgh, and now lives in London. She graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2009. Since then Chloe has filmed the title role in independent feature film Shell, which won Best Film at Torino Film Festival and saw her nominated for Best British Newcomer at the 2012 BFI London Film Festival.
Chloe was selected as one of the Screen International Stars of Tomorrow 2013, and is currently shooting major new BBC Drama The Game, directed by Niall McCormack. Other television credits include a leading role in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror-The Waldo Moment, directed by Bryn Higgins, and E4's Misfits. Theatre credits include Men Should Weep at the National theatre, directed by Josie Rourke.
Chloe said: “It's a real honour and makes me very proud of the work I've done and incredibly grateful to the people who've given me jobs and helped me along! It’s lovely to be considered by BAFTA as a breakthrough artist amidst so many talented young people producing great work. I hope this will bring further opportunities to meet and work with the directors/writers I dream of working with.”
Sharon Rooney – actress
Sharon Rooney, aged 24, is from Glasgow. She spent some time as a stand-up comedian on the Scottish comedy circuit, but is best known as teen heroine Rae Earl in hit E4 Series My Mad Fat Diary, which aired this year. The second series will be broadcast in the New Year.
Sharon said: “Being named as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit is something I just can't believe. I feel so honoured to have been chosen; it means so much. Having BAFTA believing in me means that I am going to start believing in myself a bit more and hopefully continue to work in the industry. It's that acceptance you dream of. When you hear BAFTA you know it's going to be good, so I’ve now got that pressure of making sure I carry the BAFTA name with pride and work my socks off.”
Zam Salim – writer/director
Zam Salim, aged 40, was raised in Denton, Greater Manchester, and currently lives in Glasgow. He has made a number of award-winning short films, documentaries and commercials. Before becoming a writer/director he worked in the art department, and as an editor. Zam’s recent feature film debut Up There won a number of awards at festivals around the world, as well as Best Feature Film and Best Director at the British Academy Scotland Awards in 2012.
Zam said: “I'm very honoured to be named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit. I hope it allows me an opportunity to build on my previous work. I'm intrigued by the possibility of meeting a few of my filmmaking heroes and learning a thing or two from them.”
Arthur Williams - broadcaster
Arthur Williams, aged 27, was raised in Cheltenham and now lives in Aston Somerville, Worcestershire. As a Royal Marine he served in Sierra Leone and was specially trained as a signaller in sophisticated military communications and data transfer. After a severe car crash in 2007 resulted in Arthur being paralysed from the waist down, he rebuilt his life and set his sights on an active career in sport and media. Since then he has won the Birmingham wheelchair marathon, spent for months training with the GB cycling development squad, and gained a private pilot’s licence.
In 2012, Arthur received rave reviews as a presenter on Channel 4’s BAFTA-winning coverage of the Paralympic Games. This summer he used his knowledge and passion for military history as a reporter for the widely acclaimed Channel 4 two part series D-Day As It Happened. Arthur followed this up with a 60 minute authored documentary, The Plane That Saved Britain. The film centred on Arthur’s love for the unheralded World War II plane The Mosquito.
Arthur said: “I still really can't quite comprehend I have been successfully nominated. This is huge to me and gives me a sense of something that is hard to find working in the TV industry, security. With a Breakthrough Brit nomination under my belt it gives me a lot more appeal for future employment, and gives me more confidence for a future on this career path. Also, to be recognised at this level for what I do, above the other applications, is humbling.”
Download the full list of Breakthrough Brits 2013 (PDF)
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