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Britannia Awards Get a Facelift Under BAFTA/LA’s New Leaders

This year’s Britannia Awards show gets a new face thanks to the production efforts of Done and Dusted, host Jack Whitehall and a new outlet, Pop TV. But there are also a couple of fresh faces at the top of BAFTA/LA, the org that’s behind the awards: incoming CEO Chantal Rickards and Kieran Breen, chairman of the board of directors.

“One of the great things that the Britannias have always been able to bring is top-level talent,” Breen says. “This year you can tell from the honorees (Orlando Bloom, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford, Sam Mendes, James Corden and Amy Schumer) that once again we’ve a stellar lineup. But this year we’re also going to bring a more polished, progressive, sort of cool Britannia thing that (Done and Dusted) do so well.”

Throughout the year, BAFTA/LA hosts a series of programs to help find the next generation of filmmakers. “It starts with grassroots work like screenings in parks with families, work with film schools to find young talent,” chief operating officer Matthew Wiseman says. These include scholarships, mentorships, student film competitions and professional programs like master classes.

For the past four years, BAFTA/LA has been at Washington Prep High School in the Westmont area of Los Angeles. “It’s in a tough part of town,” Rickards says. “We put in a lot of manhours, going down there to help with their education programming. We also open those children’s eyes to the opportunities of all the other jobs in the industry that they can get. ”

The Britannias are more than a way to honor people in showbiz, they also help BAFTA/LA fundraise for its various efforts from industry screenings to inner-city philanthropy and student mentoring and competitions.

“I think it’s important that we try and pay it back in some small way to the community here that has welcomed us,” Breen says. “And it also helps this British organization be relevant in this town.”

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