BAFTA Launches ‘Breakthrough’ Talent Initiative in China

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has extended its growing “Breakthrough” talent initiative to China. It has teamed with financier Yu Holdings to launch BAFTA Breakthrough China, which was unveiled at the Shanghai International Film Festival. British actor Tom Hiddleston will be an ambassador for the scheme.

The China initiative with Yu Holdings follows BAFTA’s pact with Netflix to extend the Breakthrough initiative internationally. The program identifies and nurtures emerging talent. The U.K. edition has included BAFTA Award winners Molly Windsor and Daisy May Cooper in recent years, as well as the likes of Letitia Wright and Tom Holland.

A jury of Chinese and British industry experts will select five breakthrough talents from across China to take part in the yearlong mentoring and guidance program. Their names will be announced at an event in Shanghai in October. The winners will then be flown to the U.K. to be introduced to British creatives and share their knowledge and experiences with their British peers.

BAFTA is asking Chinese industry professionals to recommend potential candidates who should be directors, writers, producers, actors or game developers with the ambition to work with U.K. talent or to produce content for global audiences.

“Over the years we have gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the Chinese creative industries, but we recognize that we still have a lot to learn about new talent in China, so we are reaching out to members of the Chinese film, games and television industries to help us by recommending talented individuals and encouraging them to apply,” said BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry.

Hiddleston added: “I have seen firsthand all the fantastic ways in which BAFTA supports Breakthrough British talent, and it’s wonderful that they will now be doing the same in China. There is so much creativity and craftsmanship in China. I’m excited to see who the winners will be.”

Wendy Yu, founder and CEO of Yu Holdings, said: “Through our partnerships, we strive to provide opportunity for acceleration as well as creative-cultural exchange – we are thrilled to be working with BAFTA on Breakthrough China, the first initiative of its kind, which we know will help propel the careers of our rising stars.”

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