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BAFTA expands 2020 Newcomers program with record number of first-year female participants

7 October 2020

Longstanding LA program expands to New York, providing support to emerging international artists and industry professionals representing 20 different countries.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) today announced the 2020 participants for its prestigious Newcomers Program. For the first time ever, the program expanded to New York with a record number of first-year female participants, totaling 78 percent. As in previous years, the program also welcomed international talent from across the globe, with representation from the U.K., Australia, China, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.

The Newcomers Program recognizes the long and fruitful legacy of international talent moving to the U.S. to expand their knowledge, develop their skills, and expand their network of peers. The program further delivers BAFTA's mission to promote cultural exchange and strengthen global collaboration.

Forty-one individuals were inducted into the program this year to bring the total participants on the four-year program to 98. The combined group includes actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, composers, cinematographers, executives, art directors, production designers, animators, editors and publicists.

“For over 10 years, the BAFTA Newcomers Program has supported hundreds of industry talents making the move to Los Angeles, connecting them to a network of peers and with a program of career support.” said BAFTA Los Angeles Chair, Kathryn Busby and BAFTA New York Chair, Maria Ishak. “We are delighted that this year’s expansion of the program to New York also reflects our strongest year yet for female representation, comprising 78% of our new participants. As our industry continues to adapt to the extraordinary impact of the pandemic, it is as vital as ever to support those who have recently transitioned their careers to the US by welcoming them into BAFTA’s community."

Each Newcomer receives access to BAFTA membership events and specially curated new talent events aimed at supporting both career development, and the transition to living and working in the U.S. The program includes professional networking opportunities, peer matching with others who have recently moved to the U.S., curated educational programming including BAFTA Briefing sessions, and access to BAFTA’s wider professional development event schedule including the BAFTA Insights series.

Below is the full list of new and returning Newcomers:


Federica Belletti – Producer

Jade Edwards – Screenwriter

Stephanie Falkeis – Director, Screenwriter

Sana Malik – Director

Hazel Mckibbin – Director

Cecilia Otero – Producer

Bella Randle Racklin – Director

Alies Sluiter – Director, Screenwriter

Yuan Yuan – Director, Screenwriter

Weixin Zhuang – Director


Blanca Ballesté – Producer

Zoe Sua Cho – Filmmaker

Clarisse Chua – Animator

Wenting Deng-Fisher – Cinematographer

Jaspreet Dosanjh – Actor

Thais Drassinower – Director

Nikkita Duke – Screenwriter

Hugo Diego Garcia – Actor

Guo Guo – Producer

Vivian Ip – Director, Screenwriter

Jo Jo Lam – Cinematographer

Kirsty Langsdale, Publicist

Rom Lotan – Screenwriter

Yashna Malhotra – Screenwriter

Eunice Maruhi – Director, Screenwriter

David Carlo Mendoza – Cinematographer

Tim O’Brien – Producer

Beulah Obioma – Actor

Lucia Rinaldi – Cinematographer

Andras Roder – Cinematographer

Peier Shen – Director, Screenwriter

Akanksha Shyam – Cinematographer

Emily Splisgardt – Actor

Nikolay Sysuev – Producer

Sohil Vaidya – Director, Screenwriter

Nicole Vanden Broeck – Director

Mireia Vilanova – Producer

Jenny Wu – Actor

Shi Min Yong – Production Designer

Yiming Zhao – Production Designer


Claire Leona Apps – Director

Maor Azran – Producer

Omer Ben Shachar – Director

Michael Bhim – Screenwriter

Anne Chmelewsky – Composer

Theo Cowen – Editor

Max Davidoff-Grey – Composer

Ashish Dawar – Director

Tanya Fear – Actor

Claire Fowler – Director

Lisa Gorgin – Actor

Emily James – Director

Yong Kim – Actor

Ran Li – Director

Nicholas McCarthy – Actor

Obiageli Odimegwu – Screenwriter

Charlie Robinson – Actor

Martina Silcock – Producer

Siqi Song – Director

Joanne Thomson – Actor

Robert Treves – Composer

Catherine Wignall – Screenwriter

Kat Wood – Director


Felicity Abbott – Production Designer

Asligul Armagan – Director

Sheena Bhatessa – Actor

Christel Chaudet – Producer

Sasha Collington – Director

Leah de Niese – Actor

Leo Draper – Executive

Michael Driscoll – Director

Tina Gharavi – Director

Denise Hoey – Actor

Mark Jackson – Actor

Daniel Jansen – Producer

Allison McGourty – Screenwriter

Nita Mistry – Actor

Muriel Naim – Director

Angie Polkovich - Director

Mark Prendergast – Actor

Monroe Robertson – Actor

David Saunders – Composer

Sam Smith – Actor

Hanna Stanbridge – Actor

Sammy Sultan – Director

Wan-Yi Sweeting – Executive

Catherine Taylor – Director

Roi Vissel – Cinematographer

Samuel Washington – Director


Sisi Cronin – Publicist

Nicholas Horton – Producer

Louise Houghton – Actor

Sohm Kapila – Actor

Gavin Laing – Screenwriter

Peter Lam – Composer

Adam Linzey – Director

Luca Malacrino – Actor

Emma Weston – Art Director

Full details are available online here

For further information:

Caroline Stegner at Rogers & Cowan PMK

[email protected]


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

About BAFTA Los Angeles

Founded in 1987, 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 award-winning community outreach program, screenings, seminars, Q&As, scholarships for British students studying in the U.S., a Newcomers Program for emerging British talents working in the U.S., and a Heritage Archive project that 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, Film and Television Tea Parties and the Student Film Awards.

BAFTA Los Angeles is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Corporation and relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing work.

About BAFTA New York

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, masterclasses, Q&As and panels focusing on industry trends in film, television and multimedia. BAFTA New York’s educational outreach supports 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.