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The Vance Byrd Mentorship Program Announcement

20 December 2021

Today we are pleased to announce the first-ever group of participants for our Vance Byrd Mentorship Program – a four-year program that supports talented, underserved students across Los Angeles as they transition from high school to college. The program, which pairs each participant with a BAFTA mentor to support their professional growth, was named in honor of Vance Byrd, a BAFTA mentee whose life was cut short by gun violence in 2015. 

“When BAFTA was first introduced to Vance Byrd at George Washington Preparatory High School in 2014, his impact on his peers, teachers and mentors was evident through his filmmaking and leadership,” said Matthew Wiseman, Executive Director and Head North America. “Through the launch of our Vance Byrd Mentorship Program, his legacy will endure and inspire the next generation of promising young talent from the underserved communities of Los Angeles.” 

“BAFTA has been unbelievably instrumental in my classroom. When BAFTA comes into my classroom, it’s not just about filmmaking, it is about creating a community. I’m thankful to BAFTA for naming this program after Vance Byrd, who was a student of mine that was inspired and nurtured by this community,” said Darryl McCane, Director of Multimedia and Filmmaking Academy at Washington Preparatory High School.

Earlier this month, The Vance Byrd Mentorship Program was announced at a special launch event at the Residence of British Consul General Emily Cloke, hosted by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Dame Karen Elizabeth Pierce DCMG, with program participants and supporters in attendance. 

As part of the program, students will be given access to BAFTA’s new talent programming and special opportunities for mentorship, internships and scholarships. We will work with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), local schools, teachers and other groups to identify deserving candidates. 

The Vance Byrd Mentorship Program was developed from our ongoing local outreach efforts, and many of the first cohort were drawn from existing BAFTA high school and outreach programs.