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BAFTA: ‘For Sama,’ ‘Blue Story’ on Short List for Outstanding Debut by British Talent

Ahead of its nominations announcement next month, BAFTA has unveiled the 10 films short-listed for the category of outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.

The listed works include “For Sama,” a portrait of a Syrian mother’s experience of her country’s civil war, and “Blue Story,” the story of two youths caught up in a South London gang war. “For Sama,” co-directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, recently cleaned up at the British Independent Film Awards, winning the prize for best British independent film, while “Blue Story,” the directorial debut of YouTube rap star Rapman, has been in the news because of some theaters’ temporary decision to yank the film because of violence surrounding its screenings.

Other short-listed titles include “Maiden,” director Alex Holmes’ documentary about an all-female crew on an around-the-world yacht race, and “The Party’s Just Beginning” from writer-director Karen Gillan, whose protagonist is a troubled young Scottish woman trying to cope with traumatic experiences and suicidal thoughts.

“New talent is the lifeblood of the British film industry,” Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee said in a statement Monday. “This short list of 10 films shines a light on a diverse group of talented debut British filmmakers who demonstrate that the future of British film is in good hands.”

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Nominations for BAFTA’s top film prizes will be announced Jan. 7. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 2, and will be emceed by popular BBC talk-show host Graham Norton.

Short-list of titles for the BAFTA for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer:

“Animals”
Writer:  Emma Jane Unsworth

“Bait”
Writer/Director: Mark Jenkin, Producers: Kate Byers, Linn Waite

“Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story”
Director/Producer: Steve Sullivan

“Blue Story”
Writer/Director: Rapman, Producer: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor
(also produced by Damien Jones)

“For Sama”
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab, Director: Edward Watts

“The Last Tree”
Producer: Myf Hopkins
(also produced by Lee Thomas)

“Maiden”
Director: Alex Holmes

“Only You”
Writer/Director: Harry Wootliff

“The Party’s Just Beginning”
Writer/Director: Karen Gillan

“Retablo”
Writer/Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio
(also written by Héctor Gálvez)

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