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BAFTA Breakthrough applications open globally for the first time across USA and UK

27 May 2020

Applications for BAFTA’s flagship new talent initiative open today, apply here

Official partner Netflix facilitates global expansion

Today the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced the global launch of BAFTA Breakthrough, its flagship new talent initiative that showcases and supports the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television. Applications open today across the USA and the UK, with applications for India and China opening later this year.

Previously known as Breakthrough Brits, the initiative has been running in the UK since 2013. Today’s announcement marks the first global, new talent initiative across the film, games and television sectors.

Netflix is the official supporting partner for BAFTA Breakthrough, in the UK, USA and India, providing 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 will work with local cultural bodies in each territory to provide bespoke support within each region’s unique landscape.

BAFTA Breakthrough selects talent through a cross-industry jury of leading industry professionals. The successful Breakthrough applicants will receive one-to-one mentoring and career guidance, access to BAFTA events and networking opportunities in the UK and internationally. Supporters of the initiative in recent years include actors Olivia Colman and Zawe Ashton, actor-producer Brad Pitt, directors Tom Harper, Barry Jenkins and Asif Kapadia, game designers Brenda Romero and Tim Schafer, actor-writers Sharon Horgan and Amy Schumer, and writer-director Amma Asante.

Like much of BAFTA’s work in recent months, the initiative will embrace the digital era of communication, with networking opportunities and connections being made across the globe for Breakthrough participants using video-link. To mark the first global launch of a BAFTA initiative and encourage cross-cultural connections and collaboration, all Breakthrough participants will be celebrated and showcased together in 2021.

Jessie Buckley, actor and Breakthrough in 2019, known for recent roles in films Wild Rose and Judy and for television appearance in Chernobyl and Misbehavior, said: “BAFTA Breakthrough is a family that I will be forever grateful for. It offers a really unique chance to be part of a conversation with a group of the most inspiring creatives, all of whom are at a similar point in their careers and are curious about what might be possible. It makes you feel not only supported, excited and emboldened by each other but also by the people who you look up to and are inspired by within the industry. It a gorgeous thing and I have made lifelong friends.”

Paapa Essiedu, actor and Breakthrough in 2018, known for TV roles in Kiri, Press and the recent Gangs of London, said: “Breakthrough was such an important moment of recognition for me. The programme gave me access to a group of truly inspiring people who I can still call on for advice today! Couldn’t recommend it more highly.”

Adrienne Law, games producer at ustwo games and Breakthrough in 2018, known for her work on Monument Valley 2 said: “Being a Breakthrough was a life changing experience. I was introduced to amazing industry contacts, had opportunities to learn new skills, and gained a newfound confidence in myself and my work. Through a combination of mentoring and members events throughout the year, it helped me to figure out the direction my dream career would take. I couldn’t be more grateful for the support the scheme provided in making that dream a reality.”

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “We are incredibly proud to be launching BAFTA Breakthrough globally, the only initiative of its kind that works across film, games and television. I’m excited to see who will join the global breakthrough family this year, at a time when our international community is more important than ever. We’re also delighted to be working alongside Netflix for the second year to continue to grow a truly international network for emerging talent, filled with diverse voices and stories.”

Matthew Wiseman, Chief Executive Officer of BAFTA Los Angeles said: “Continuing BAFTAs integral work to support emerging talents and encourage cross-cultural collaboration is now as crucial as ever. It’s exciting to be bringing Breakthrough to new global communities, and create ways for people around the world to connect with one another in a meaningful way. We’re delighted applications are now open in the USA and can’t wait to see who will be discovered as the first Breakthrough USA participants.”

Since its launch in 2013, BAFTA Breakthrough has championed over 110 talented newcomers, including actors Letita Wright, Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Malachi Kirby, Ray Panthaki and Molly Windsor, reality television producer Coco Jackson, composer Segun Akinola, game producer Dan Gray, and directors Rose Glass, Stella Corradi, Destiny Ekaragha and Michael Pearce. Previous Breakthrough Brits have gone on to flourish within their respective disciplines, many becoming BAFTA winners and nominees.

Applications for BAFTA Breakthrough are now open. To apply or find out more visit:

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

Applications close on Wednesday 22 July. BAFTA Breakthrough 2020 participants will be announced in Autumn 2020.


Notes to editors:

Since the lockdown, BAFTA has continued to celebrate and connect talent globally, keeping industry networks alive and creatively inspired. In March, BAFTA hosted its first online-only awards show, the Games Awards, and each week BAFTA holds multiple live Q&A events, previews and online networking sessions from the UK and the USA, continuing its year-round learning programme which has also been open to the public. 

BAFTA is also supporting The Film and TV Charity’s Covid-19 emergency response in the UK, using its networks and resources to tackle the impact of Covid-19 on the industry workforce.

BAFTA continues to support emerging talent; The GSA BAFTA Student Film Awards has received over 650 submissions from 35 countries, applications to the Newcomers Program in the USA have opened, and recipients of BAFTA Scholarships across the UK and US will be announced shortly. 


Images of previous breakthroughs quoted available here:

For further information or interview requests please contact:


Molly Whitehall / WDW Entertainment

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Caroline Stegner / Rogers & Cowan

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India / China / Global 

Sophie Dudhill / BAFTA

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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