You are here

BAFTA Los Angeles expands Newcomers Program

25 July 2018
BAFTA Newcomers

Longstanding program to support emerging British talents broaden their careers in the U.S. now includes participants from Poland, South Africa, Australia, Israel, Korea, France, Turkey and Hong Kong


Los Angeles, July 24, 2018: Today, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA LA) announced the expansion of its Newcomers Program to include international participants for the first time. Launched in 2007 to support British talents transitioning to Los Angeles, the program recognizes the fruitful legacy of international talents moving to the U.S. to further their knowledge, develop their skills, and strengthen their network of peers.

The expansion of the program to support international participants and connect them with the U.K. and U.S. communities furthers BAFTA's mission to promote cultural exchange and strengthen global collaboration.

"As BAFTA extends its helping hand globally, we are thrilled that after 10 successful years supporting British talent in Los Angeles, the Newcomers Program now expands to include international talent,” said New Talent Committee Chairs, Sandro Monetti and Peter Morris. “As our industry becomes increasingly global, it is more vital than ever that emerging talent has access to an international network of peers and mentors. We hope to provide just that to these Newcomers in Los Angeles."

Each participant receives access to BAFTA membership events and curated New Talent Events aimed at supporting both career development, and the transition to living and working in the U.S. The program includes professional networking opportunities, peer matching with others who have recently moved to the U.S., curated educational programming, and access to BAFTA’s wider professional development event schedule including BAFTA Briefing sessions and BAFTA Insights series.

This year’s 55 participants include 19 actors, 15 directors, 9 producers, 3 screenwriters, 2 art directors, 2 executives, 2 composers, 1 cinematographer, 1 production designer, 1 agent and 1 publicist. The recipients are divided into three groups, with each group either entering their first, second or third year in the program.

Below is the full list of Newcomers:


  1. Waseem Abbas, Actor
  2. Sheena Bhattessa, Actor
  3. Lucian Collier, Actor
  4. Sasha Collington, Director
  5. Pete Cooksley, Producer
  6. Leo Draper, VP International Creative Advertising
  7. Michael Driscoll, Director
  8. Tina Gharavi, Director
  9. Denise Hoey, Actor
  10. Mark Jackson, Actor
  11. Allison McGourty, Screenwriter, Producer
  12. Nita Mistry, Actor
  13. Rochelle Neil, Actor
  14. Mark Prendergast, Actor
  15. Monroe Robertson, Actor, Producer, Director
  16. David Saunders, Composer
  17. Sam Smith, Actor, Screenwriter
  18. Hanna Stanbridge, Actor, Screenwriter
  19. Sammy Sultan, Screenwriter, Director
  20. Catherine Taylor, Director
  21. Samuel Washington, Director, Screenwriter


  1. Felicity Abbott, Production Designer - Australia
  2. Asligul Armagan, Screenwriter, Director - Turkey
  3. Christel Chaudet, Video Producer - France
  4. Leah de Niese, Actor - Australia
  5. Daniel Jansen, Segment Producer - South Africa
  6. Muriel Naim, Director - Israel
  7. Sarah Oh, Producer - South Korea
  8. Angie Polkovich, Director, Screenwriter - Poland
  9. Wan-Yi Sweeting, Creative Accounts Executive at Tongal - Hong Kong
  10. Roi Vissel, Cinematographer - Israel


  1. Abby Ajayi, Screenwriter
  2. Sisi Cronin, Publicist
  3. Nicholas Horton, Development Producer
  4. Louise Houghton, TV Presenter, Journalist, Actress
  5. Kitty Kaletsky, Producer
  6. Sohm Kapila, Actor
  7. Peter Lam, Composer
  8. Adam Linzey, Director
  9. Luca Malacrino, Actor
  10. James McNamara, Screenwriter
  11. Alicia Sadler, Filmmaker, Artist
  12. Fagun Thakrar, Actor, Director, Producer
  13. Iesh Thapar, Director
  14. Emma Weston, Art Director


  1. Andy Blackburn, Director
  2. Marcus Chan, Screenwriter, Director
  3. Menik Gooneratne, Actor, Screenwriter
  4. Ben Gutteridge, Screenwriter, Director
  5. Heather Harris, Director
  6. Ruaraidh Hunter, Agent
  7. James Longman, Producer
  8. Alex Polunin, Producer
  9. Nicola Posener, Actor
  10. Emma West, Actor


For further information:

Caroline Stegner at Rogers & Cowan


[email protected]

About BAFTA and BAFTA Los Angeles

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the U.K. and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round program of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the U.K., U.S. and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit For more, visit

Founded in 1987, BAFTA Los Angeles serves as a bridge between the Hollywood and British production and entertainment business communities. Its commitment to professional and community education is at the heart of all activity, including an award-winning community outreach program, screenings, seminars, Behind Closed Doors series, Q&As, scholarships for British students studying in the U.S., a Newcomers Program for emerging British talents working in the U.S., and a Heritage Archive project that preserves in-depth interviews with the industry's leading talents for future generations. BAFTA Los Angeles celebrates and promotes excellence through its annual Britannia Awards, Awards Season Film and Television Tea Parties and the Student Film Awards.

BAFTA Los Angeles is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation and relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing work.