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BAFTA Breakthrough 2021 applications open for entry across the UK and USA

10 June 2021
  • Applications open today for BAFTA Breakthrough UK and USA
  • Apply or recommend a candidate here
  • Paapa Essiedu, Bukky Bakray and Chris Walley feature in montage video
  • Netflix to partner on Breakthrough globally for third year
  • BAFTA also unveils the chosen talent for first ever Breakthrough India 2021

Today, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announces applications opening across the UK and USA for BAFTA Breakthrough 2021, BAFTA’s flagship talent support initiative in partnership with Netflix. 

The initiative, previously known as Breakthrough Brits, has been running in the UK since 2013 and in the US and India since the global expansion last year. BAFTA Breakthrough is a global new talent initiative that showcases and supports the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television.

Since its launch in 2013, BAFTA Breakthrough has championed over 160 talented newcomers, including performers Bukky Bakray, Paapa Essiedu, Letitia Wright, Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Abubakar Salim and Lauren Ridloff, games creatives Chella Ramanan, Segun Akinola, Gemma Langford, and directors Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Rose Glass, Stella Corradi and Destiny Ekaragha, amongst many others. Previous Breakthrough alumni have gone on to flourish within their respective disciplines, many becoming BAFTA winners and nominees.

Supporters of the initiative in recent years include actors Olivia Colman, Tilda Swinton, Zawe Ashton, actor-producer Brad Pitt, directors Tom Harper, Barry Jenkins and Asif Kapadia, game designers and developers Brenda Romero, Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, actor-writers Sharon Horgan, Amy Schumer and writer-director Amma Asante

As the main supporting partner for the third year on BAFTA Breakthrough, Netflix continues to provide integral support in the global expansion. BAFTA and Netflix share a joint vision to celebrate and provide opportunities for emerging talent across the world, bringing together international communities across global networks, in order to develop and support stories and voices from different cultures. 

BAFTA Breakthrough selects and identifies new talent through a cross-industry jury of leading professionals and BAFTA works closely alongside local cultural bodies in each region to ensure they advise and deliver the necessary support. The successful Breakthrough applicants will receive one-to-one mentoring and career guidance, full voting membership of BAFTA, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, both in the UK and internationally. 

Like much of BAFTA’s work in recent months to keep the industry creatively inspired and connected during COVID-19, this year’s initiative will continue to embrace the digital era of communication. Networking opportunities will be made available digitally across the globe for Breakthrough participants in all regions, enhancing cross-cultural connections and collaboration.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “We are delighted to announce that Breakthrough applications are now open in both the UK and USA. Breakthrough is a brilliant initiative that has been championing emerging talent for eight years in the UK, with a wonderful network of talented individuals growing each year. We are excited to be partnering with Netflix for a third year, following last year’s global expansion into the USA and India. We look forward to seeing who will be discovered as part of the next talented global cohort spanning the film, games and television industries.”

Applications for BAFTA Breakthrough in the UK and the USA are now open. To apply, please visit:

Industry professionals can also recommend someone by providing details of their recommended candidate. BAFTA will then contact the recommended individual to invite them to submit an application before the deadline. To recommend someone, please visit: 

Applications for Breakthrough UK and USA will close on Friday 23 July. BAFTA Breakthrough 2021 participants will then be announced in Autumn 2021. 


BAFTA Breakthrough India

BAFTA has also today announced the selected participants of the first-ever BAFTA Breakthrough India initiative, in partnership with Netflix. Due to an overwhelming number of quality applications from the films, games and television industries, the initiative selected not five but ten emerging Indian talents. The incredibly talented list of BAFTA Breakthrough participants for 2020/2021 is:

  • Akshay Singh, Writer/Producer (Mehsampur, The Gold-Laden Sheep and The Sacred Mountain)
  • Arun Karthick, Director/Writer (Nasir, Sivapuranam/The Strange Case of Shiva)
  • Jay Pinak Oza, Cinematographer (Gully Boy)
  • Karthikeya Murthy, Composer (KD (A) Karuppudurai)
  • Palomi Ghosh, Actor (Typewriter, Nachom-ia Kumpasar)
  • Renu Savant, Director/Writer (The Ebb Tide)
  • Shruti Ghosh, Game Developer & Art Director (Raji- An Ancient Epic)
  • Sumit Purohit, Director/Writer (Scam 1992 - Writer/Editor)
  • Tanya Maniktala, Actor (A Suitable Boy)
  • Vikram Singh, Director (Elephants In My Backyard)

The participants will receive one-to-one mentoring, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, and full voting BAFTA membership. They were selected by an esteemed industry Jury which included A. R. Rahman, Anupam Kher, Monika Shergill, Mira Nair and Siddharth Roy Kapur. 

Today, BAFTA has also announced a delay in opening applications for the next Breakthrough India cohort, originally due to open alongside the UK and USA applications today. This decision has been made to allow future Breakthrough talent the space and time needed during such a difficult time in India. BAFTA will continue to offer support to the current Breakthrough India cohort as their careers face unique challenges.

For more information about BAFTA Breakthrough in partnership with Netflix, please visit: 


Photography - hi res version of the image above (featuring past Breakthrough participants) and their individual images - and video content are available at

Montage video with Paapa Essiedu, Bukky Bakray and Chris Walley available to download here.

For further information and press requests, please contact:


Nick Williams / BAFTA 

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Rogers & Cowan PMK

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The Other Circle

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Isha Choure

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Prathmesh Chavan

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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 UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA 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


Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with over 195 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without adverts or commitments.