BAFTA’s ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’, in partnership with British Council, returns with award-winning writer-directors Kieran Evans in May and Hong Khaou in June.
London/New York/Los Angeles, 16 April: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the next two filmmakers who will take part in ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’, a series of showcase events hosted by BAFTA in New York and Los Angeles, in partnership with British Council, that present outstanding British film talent to the US film industry.
On Tuesday 6 May in New York, and on Thursday 8 May in Los Angeles, writer-director Kieran Evans will be introduced at a screening of his film Kelly + Victor, for which he was awarded ‘Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer’ at this year’s EE British Academy Film Awards. On Tuesday 10 and Thursday 12 June writer-director Hong Khaou will meet the industry at a screening of his debut film Lilting, which premiered in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Cinematography Award. He also received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award for Monsoon, a project in development.
At each ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ event, a British actor, director, writer or producer who shows great promise presents a sample of recent work to an exclusive audience of film industry professionals. BAFTA then arranges a number of follow-up meetings for the individuals to meet with key industry figures in both cities. The series began in 2013, and the first events in 2014 featured BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante with her second film Belle.
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “I am thrilled our next ‘Brits to Watch: the Screenings’ events will introduce two exceptionally talented individuals to the US film industry. BAFTA is in a unique position to promote the very best of British talent internationally, and I am delighted with the industry’s response to ‘Brits to Watch’ since its inception three years ago. BAFTA-winning Kieran Evans, and Hong Khaou, are truly deserving recipients of this international showcase.”
Nigel Daly, Chairman of BAFTA Los Angeles, added: “As an organization with an international reach, the ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ series is something very unique to BAFTA. The Hollywood community consistently seeks to find the most exciting talents and content being developed in the UK, and BAFTA Los Angeles is proud to provide a platform for these British filmmakers to showcase their work and continue the long tradition of talent exchange between the US and UK."
Charles Tremayne, Chairman of BAFTA New York, added: "We are delighted that New York is the first stop for these talented individuals as they get a chance to meet some of the top producers in America. This program is welcomed by that community as everybody is always on the lookout for the next big talent, and so many come from the UK."
The ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ series builds on the legacy of BAFTA’s 2011 ‘Brits to Watch’ event 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 in Los Angeles.
The initiative is endorsed by ‘Friends of Brits to Watch: The Screenings’, a high-profile group of leading industry practitioners 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), Rebecca Hall (Parade’s End, Vicky Christina Barcelona) and David Harewood (Homeland, Blood Diamond); director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World); screenwriter John Logan (Skyfall, Hugo, The Aviator); and writer, director and producer Armando Iannucci (Veep, In The Loop).
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.
Kieran Evans, from Wales, began his career making music videos, short films and feature documentaries. His work has been screened at many festivals across the world including the BFI London Film Festival, SXSW in Austin, Texas, and the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Evans’ first feature-length drama, Kelly + Victor, gained Evans the award for ‘Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer’ at the 2014 EE British Academy Film Awards. Kelly + Victor is a haunting, candid depiction of a young couple embarking on a passionate and transgressive love affair, from the acclaimed novel by Niall Griffiths. The film is set against the backdrop of a highly cinematic Liverpool, to a searing soundtrack featuring music by a host of celebrated artists.
Kieran Evans is represented in the UK by The Agency. Kelly + Victor was released in the UK in 2013. International sales are being handled by The Works.
Cambodian-born with British citizenship, writer-director Hong Khaou began writing for the theatre, where he participated in various attachments, including a joint initiative with the BBC and the Royal Court Theatre. He spent seven years at independent film distribution company Peccadillo Pictures, where he managed the Home Entertainment department, and was part of the acquisitions team.
Making the move into filmmaking, Khaou wrote and directed two short films, Spring (2011) and Summer (2006), which were selected for the Sundance and Berlin international film festivals respectively. His debut feature film, Lilting, stars Ben Whishaw as Londoner Richard, and Cheng Pei Pei as the Cambodian-Chinese mother of Richard’s recently deceased boyfriend. The film, which has sold in over 12 territories internationally, had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, in the World Dramatic Competition, where he also received the Sundance Institute/Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award for his project Monsoon.
Hong Khaou is represented by CAA in the US and by United Agents in the UK. Lilting is being distributed in the US by Strand Releasing, and in the UK by Artificial Eye. Protagonist Pictures are handling international sales.
Notes to editors:
‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ is being produced as a collaboration between the BAFTA offices in London, Los Angeles and New York.
The initiative is a talent showcase, and the associated screenings are not intended as film previews for press.
In New York:
Marlea Willis at Marlea Willis Communications, Inc.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round, international programme of learning events and initiatives that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York.
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 inner-city outreach programme, screenings, seminars, Behind Closed Doors series, Q&As, scholarships for British students studying in the US, and a Heritage Archive project, which 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. www.bafta.org/losangeles
BAFTA New York carries the Academy’s mission forward on the Atlantic Coast through its commitment to the film, television and documentary communities. Its activities include screenings, In Conversation series, masterclasses, Q&As and panels focusing on industry trends in film, television and multimedia. BAFTA New York's educational outreach is aimed at underserved youth in New York City and includes the BAFTA New York Media Studies Scholarship Program, which was established to support students pursuing media studies at undergraduate and graduate level institutions within the New York City area. www.bafta.org/newyork
BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.
The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. It is a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.
7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.
British Council Film department links UK films and filmmakers to new international audiences, profiling the innovation, diversity and excellence of British films around the world and finding opportunities for creative exchange. As part of its programme it provides a preview service for selectors from the world's major film festivals/markets (including Toronto, Cannes, Berlin and Sundance).
For more information, please see: www.britishcouncil.org/film