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2020 BAFTA Scholars Announced

30 September 2020

BAFTA announces $250k in financial aid to 26 students globally.

U.S.-based scholars include diverse talent from U.S., U.K., China and Nigeria.

Includes recipient of new $60,000 scholarship in partnership with Fulbright Commission.

On September 30, 2020, The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the recipients of $250k in financial aid to support studies in film, games and television. Presented as part of BAFTA’s long-standing commitment to support new talents, the year also includes the first ever recipient of the Fulbright-BAFTA Scholarship.

Lily Freeston from Manchester has been selected to receive the Fulbright-BAFTA scholarship to study an MFA in documentary filmmaking at Northwestern University in Chicago. Made possible thanks to a partnership with the US-UK Fulbright Commission, the scholarship is one of 26 awarded by BAFTA this year around the world, including 16 in the U.S. and 10 in the U.K.

In addition to financial aid, the 26 Scholars will gain free access to BAFTA online events and industry resources.

The BAFTA Scholarship Program is made possible by the generous support of a number of individuals, foundations and partnerships. In the U.S., partners include philanthropist Mark Pigott KBE, as well as The Hunter Foundation, HBO, BBC America, DLT Entertainment, King Features Animation, and The Taffner Family Charitable Trust.

“The astonishing expense of postgraduate education remains a major obstacle to equality in talent development, so we are delighted to remove financial barriers through these scholarships,” said Kathryn Busby, Chair of BAFTA LA. “We are also proud to partner with the Fulbright Commission to offer the full cost of annual tuition to a single student and join forces with an organization dedicated to improving worldwide access to top quality education and to the reciprocal benefits of international study.”

This year’s 16 U.S.-based BAFTA scholars will be studying disciplines at various institutions ranging from The City College of New York, Brooklyn College, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the American Film Institute, Columbia University, University of Southern California, Northwestern University and Berklee College of Music. Half of the scholarships are for British students studying in the U.S., while the other half are targeted towards U.S. and international students from underrepresented groups.

“This year’s U.S. scholars represent a broad spectrum of nationalities, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds,” said Maria Ishak, Chair of BAFTA New York. “We are proud to invest in the future of this diverse and talented group of individuals and we can’t wait to see the impact they have on our industry years from now.”

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive at BAFTA, said: “BAFTA’s charitable activity sits at the heart of everything we do. For the last 18 years, BAFTA Scholarships have played an important role in providing financial support for students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to further their creative careers in film, games or television. Alongside this, we’re pleased to be able to offer unique opportunities through mentoring and access to BAFTA online events. Congratulations to all of our 2020 scholars.”

Previous BAFTA Scholars have continued to thrive within the industry working on major, award-winning productions, such as director Aneil Karia (Top Boy), Sacha Gervasi (My Dinner with Herve, Hitchcock), Gil Kenan (Monster House, Ghostbusters: Afterlife), Academy Award-nominated director Kevin Wilson Jr. (My Nephew Emmett), visual effects artist Shivani Shah (The Lion King trailer, Avengers: Infinity War), Make-up artist Alesha Ledeatte-Williams (No Time to Die) and Actor Jurrell Carter (Kiri, Emmerdale).

In the U.K., for a seventh year, three students will receive the Prince William Scholarships in film, games and television, supported by BAFTA and Warner Bros., which are awarded in the name of HRH The Duke of Cambridge in his role as President of BAFTA. For the first time this year, the Kirsh Foundation is also a named supporter of the U.K. Scholarships program and the Reuben Foundation is supporting for its third year.