BAFTA’s ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’, in partnership with British Council, returns in April with BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante.
London/Los Angeles/New York, 10 March: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced that it will profile BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante (A Way of Life, Belle) in April at the first of this year’s ‘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 introduce outstanding British film talent to the US film industry.
On Tuesday 1 April in New York, and on Thursday 3 April in Los Angeles, director Amma Asante will be introduced at a screening of her second feature film Belle, which premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival to strong reviews, and opened this year’s Palm Springs International Film Festival. Belle is inspired by the true story of a mixed race girl raised as an aristocratic Lady in England around the time of the abolition of slavery. The film will be released by Fox Searchlight in the US on Friday 2 May, and in the UK on Friday 13 June.
In 2005, BAFTA awarded Asante the Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer for her debut film A Way of Life. She was also named Best Director - Drama at the BAFTA Cymru Awards in Wales in the same year.
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 also arranges a number of follow-up meetings for the individuals to meet with key industry figures in both cities.
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “I am delighted that we are continuing our ‘Brits to Watch’ activity in 2014. Three years ago, with the support of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we launched our very first ‘Brits to Watch’ event in Los Angeles. Since then, we’ve introduced a range of activity to support up-and-coming British talent and, now in its second year, ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ – a strand that BAFTA is uniquely placed to deliver – introduces British rising stars to the US film industry. I am thrilled that Amma Asante – a very talented film maker, and a BAFTA winner – is our next ‘Brit to Watch’.”
Nigel Daly, Chairman of BAFTA Los Angeles, added: “The Brits to Watch: The Screenings series is central to BAFTA's mission, and here in Los Angeles we are in a privileged position to offer a platform for the best British talents as they break through to the US marketplace. There is a long tradition of talent exchange between the US and UK, and we are honored to showcase the new generation of talents and support Amma as she furthers her career in the US.”
Charles Tremayne, Chairman of BAFTA New York, added: “This is the second year of our Brits to Watch: The Screenings program in New York and we are delighted that we have been able to bring such talented up and coming individuals to showcase their considerable work in America. It's a vital role for BAFTA as New York is clearly where Britain meets America so it's even more important that we continue to encourage directors, producers, writers and actors from both sides of the pond to work together to create excellence in a truly globalized entertainment world.”
Briony Hanson, Director of Film at British Council, said: “British Council is delighted to be continuing the series by showcasing the talents of Amma Asante. She’s a perfect fit for the programme having made a hugely confident second feature in Belle which marries a traditional view of British Cinema – period drama and a top notch cast – with a very unusual and surprising story. We really look forward to helping her connect with the US industry during her visit.”
The first ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ events took place in 2013 with BAFTA-nominated directors Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) and Richard Laxton (Burton and Taylor). As a result of their trips, Barnard has secured US representation with The Gersh Agency and is in contact with a number of US producers about future projects, while Laxton is in talks on a number of US projects, one of which is expected to be announced imminently.
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. It 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), 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.
‘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:
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