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Brits 2015

Contents special Features 4 A Message from HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG, President of the Academy 5 A Message from Anne Morrison, Chair of the Academy 16 The Breakthrough Brits Legacy

Introducing the Breakthrough Brits 2015

6 Alex Lawther 7 Anna Valdez Hanks 8 Aysha Kala 9 Catherine Woolley 10 Charlie Covell 11 Chris Davis 12 Daisy-May Hudson 13 Ed Perkins 14 Jenny Saunders 15 Jessica Saunders 20 Laura Wade 21 Lauren Dark 22 Letitia Wright 23 Luke Whittaker 24 Martin McCann 25 Regina Moriarty 26 Stephen Fingleton 27 Tess Morris

28 Contact Details

30 Thanks & Credits

The Breakthrough Brits initiative selects the UK’s brightest emerging stars from across the film, television and games industries. Following a meticulous and competitive selection process, by expert panels of celebrated industry professionals, each Breakthrough Brit is chosen for their outstanding talent after making a significant creative contribution in a leading role. The future of our industries relies upon original creative ideas being allowed to blossom, and this scheme aims to help the Breakthrough Brits turn their early promise into a lasting legacy.

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HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG President of the Academy


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ow in its third year, Breakthrough Brits is the UK’s leading initiative that identifies, supports and celebrates the most promising newcomers across film, television and games. As with all our new talent initiatives, BAFTA strives to remove the barriers to entering our industries: Breakthrough Brits levels the playing field through an open call for entries, ensuring that the most talented individuals on the cusp of success have a greater chance to fulfil their potential and ambitions, regardless of their background. We then offer an ongoing network of support, and, of course, shine the bright BAFTA spotlight on their existing achievements. Our jury – which comprises experienced artists, craftspeople and industry practitioners from diverse fields and backgrounds – selected 18 individuals for the 2015 initiative, across a range of crafts within film, television and games, and I am delighted that there is such strong female representation this year. Next, we will send our Breakthrough Brits on a year-round mentoring and guidance programme to help shape and guide their

careers, and with our mentors willing to open their contacts books and share insider knowledge and career tips for success, we expect big things. Last year’s Breakthrough Brits received mentorship from such industry luminaries as Danny Boyle, Barbara Broccoli OBE, Christine Langan, Simon Pegg, Ennio Morricone, Olivia Colman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ian Livingstone CBE, Amma Asante and Richard Ayoade, among many others. Several of the first year Breakthrough Brits also passed on their advice on how to best make use of the initiative, including Dominic Mitchell, Rowan Athale and James Floyd. Our expectations of past Breakthrough Brits have often been fulfilled, and frequently surpassed. Recent highlights for me have been seeing Jonathan Asser, Chris Lunt, Marc Williamson and Daniel Gray all receive recognition for their outstanding work through multiple BAFTA wins and nominations. The legacies of our talent schemes are hugely important to us, so we’re always delighted to see our Breakthrough Brits go on to achieve success through their hard work, persistence and sheer talent, often in very short periods of time. We’ve included some information on each of our Breakthrough Brits in this brochure, and most importantly how to contact them. Keep a close eye on them; they are truly ones to watch. Thank you for your support. Anne Morrison Chair of the Academy

Follow our Breakthrough Brits activity throughout the year: /BAFTA @BAFTA #BreakthroughBrits

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Lawther Actor


or someone so young (he’s just hit his 20s), actor Alex Lawther already has an impressive body of work behind him and a host of accolades. He made his feature film debut in 2014 in Morgan Matthews’ X+Y (starring alongside another of this year’s Breakthrough Brits, Martin McCann), before appearing in Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game. His role as the young Alan Turing saw him win the London Film Critics Circle award for Young British Performer of the Year and earned him a nomination for the BFI’s Best British Newcomer, adding to his nomination for WhatsOnStage’s London Newcomer of the Year award for his West End performance in David Hare’s South Downs. He followed this with a starring role in 2015’s Departure, opposite Juliet Stevenson, and in May he completed filming a new HBO pilot, Virtuoso.

In conversation, it’s clear Lawther backs up his extraordinary talent with a deep curiosity about his craft. “The more I work as an actor, the more I discover that I know nothing,” he says. “I’ve only really been working for three years and already I’ve had professional questions that I didn’t know the answer to. I’m looking forward to talking with people who have already trodden those paths and had similar experiences. Through the shedding of their light, I can come to an educated decision myself. Breakthrough Brits is a very special opportunity.” He adds: “I’d like a career that’s consistently stimulating and varied. I’d love to be a very old man and still excited by the work I’m doing.”


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nna Valdez Hanks’ route to becoming a cinematographer has been, some would say, a traditional one, working her way up from camera trainee to clapper loader and focus puller. From there, she moved into camera operating and second unit cinematography on larger budget productions and was credited with additional cinematography on Pete Travis’ film Endgame and B-camera operator on Nick Murphy’s BAFTA-winning television series Occupation (both 2009). Her other cinematography credits include In the Club (2014), for which she earned her first fulllength broadcast credit; The Syndicate (2015); and Clean Break (2015). “For a long time, I was working as an assistant trying to move up to director of photography,” Valdez Hanks notes. “It felt really difficult to get that long-form credit as a DOP. When I finally got it I thought I’d made it, but it soon dawned on me that now the real work begins.” She adds: “There are so many talented people trying to become a DOP, you have to really be passionate about it. And you have to extend your passion outside of the technical… Directors don’t want to work with someone who just knows how to light a scene. A lot of different elements need to come together. Primarily your job is to make the director’s vision better than they envisaged it. I really love that aspect of it, that your job is to listen and make the film what it should be.”

Anna Valdez


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Kala Actress


hile still a first-year student at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, actress Aysha Kala landed a prize role in Paul Abbott’s highly acclaimed continuing drama Shameless, as the young Sita Desai, in 2011. She followed this with her first film, Amit Gupta’s Jadoo (2013), where she met second year Breakthrough Brit alumnus, Ray Panthaki. He then asked her to appear in his first film as producer, Convenience (2015). Graduating in 2012 with a first-class BA (Hons) in Acting, numerous stage performances followed, including with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was then chosen for the role of Sooni Dalal in Channel 4’s Indian Summers, and has recently finished filming the second series of the drama in Malaysia. “BAFTA is such a huge organisation and it’s wonderful to have them recognise you in this way,” Kala says about being named a Breakthrough Brit. “I’m really excited. I’d love to meet some people I wouldn’t otherwise meet, other actresses that I could ask for advice and directors I’d love to work with. It’s an amazing opportunity. “I want to keep making progress in everything I do,” she continues. “I’d like everything I do to be better than the last thing. You soon realise that you’re never going to know everything, so you need to be open to constantly learning.”


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nyone who knows the games business will be aware of just how long it takes to develop a great video game, so it is perhaps no surprise that designer Catherine Woolley worked on her last project, Alien: Isolation, for more than three years. When the game was finally released in 2014, it drew widespread praise from critics and gamers alike and awards aplenty, including five BAFTA nominations, one of which was for Game Design, as well as a win in the Audio Achievement category. Woolley’s role was to help design the game mechanics, crafting levels (including key missions in the campaign) and producing several missions from scratch for additional downloadable content. Promoted to senior designer at Creative Assembly during the game’s development, she also led the design of the recent Japanese version. Previously, she worked at EA’s Bright Light studio on the Spare Parts and Harry Potter games. As a fan of both survival horror games and the Alien film franchise, clearly working on Alien: Isolation was a dream come true. She says: “I love being a designer. The work I put into Alien: Isolation was a good body of work. More than 100 people were on the team, and they all worked hard on it, but it felt really special to me. As a kid, I never would have thought I’d work on a survival horror game or a game in the Alien franchise. “I don’t get scared playing it though,” she laughs. “I think I’ve desensitised myself.” Breakthrough Brits is not Woolley’s first dalliance with BAFTA either, having twice served as a juror for the Games Awards and attended BAFTA Young Game Designers events, seeking to inspire the next generation of developers. She also takes part in several Game Jams a year, which she says helps “me push myself outside of work, to ensure I’m doing all right and challenging myself.”



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Covell Writer/Actress


hen someone as revered as Russell T Davies states “While people like Charlie Covell exist, there’s hope for the entire industry,” it’s time to sit up and take note. Covell burst onto the scene last year, writing two episodes for Davies’ Banana and taking a leading role in the second one (she also appeared in two episodes of sister series, Cucumber ). As an actress, Covell has been on our screens since 2003, appearing in the shows Fortysomething (2003) and Peep Show (2012), and in 2014 was named as one of Broadcast’s ‘Hotshots’. But with Banana and the sole writing credit on the feature film Burn Burn Burn (starring 2013 Breakthrough Brit Chloe Pirrie, alongside Laura Carmichael, Sally Phillips and Joe Dempsie), 2015 really seems to have

been a breakout year. She is currently working on several new writing projects, some her own work, some penned with writing partner, Iain Weatherby, including a Channel 4 comedy drama commission for a pilot. “I feel very lucky at the moment, and I’m very excited about the Breakthrough Brits,” Covell says. “I would like to meet as many people as possible, especially people I could potentially collaborate with. Everything I have done before has been very collaborative and I really like that aspect of the work.”


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ust three years ago, you might have found Chris Davis atop your house weatherproofing your tiles in his previous career as a roofer. But a love of gaming, and a deep interest in the developing and designing that goes into creating them, led him to place a modest ask on Kickstarter to create his first game, Spud’s Quest, in 2012 under the guise of Mouldy Toof Studios. Inspired by the early Dizzy and Zelda games, Spud’s Quest enjoyed moderate success, but it was enough to encourage Davis to leave the roofing business behind for good and concentrate on creating games for a living. Again he turned to Kickstarter for his next project, The Escapists, a fun and surprisingly tricky prison breakout game, inspired by Davis’ love for ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 classic School Daze. The game was greenlit by the Steam Community in just three days; it was then signed to Team17 as publishing partner for PlayStation and Xbox; and, following its release in February 2015, has sold more than half a million copies. “When you spend your time sitting in your bedroom coding, things like BAFTA and Breakthrough Brits seem like a different world,” Davis says, “so it’s been a real confidence boost. It shows that I must be doing something right and that I should keep doing what I’m doing. The success of The Escapists and this BAFTA recognition have been a lesson that you shouldn’t underestimate your own worth.”


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Hudson Producer/Director


he first thing that strikes you about producer/director Daisy-May Hudson is how full of life and energy she is. This spirit is evident throughout all her work, but especially in her first feature-length film, Halfway, which documents her time spent as homeless, following her family’s eviction from their privately rented property. But then the young producer is all about breaking down preconceptions and challenging, in particular, the portrayal of the working class in the media. She filmed her entire homeless experience over the course of a year and, after raising £10,000 through crowdfunding, has turned more than 250 hours of footage into a keenly observed and moving 90-minute feature. At the same time, Hudson was also hired to create original filmed content for VICE Media, and has become a core member of the production team, producing close to 50 per cent of the overall content on its website. Her first producer and director credit was Iceman, about ‘superhuman’ Wim Hof, and she also presented and associate produced Regeneration Game, about the rapid gentrification of London. “For me, documentary is a tool for social change,” Hudson says. “I think you can change a lot of social and political narratives and the way people think through film. People get empathy when they see something and feel what that person is going through. A lot of the problems in the world are through a lack of empathy or lack of compassion for thinking outside your own experience. Humanising issues and telling stories that have never been told can be really powerful.”


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ith the subject of his first feature-length documentary, director Ed Perkins struck gold… Garnet’s Gold (2014). After a near-death experience in the Scottish Highlands, Garnet Frost believes he discovered the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid his gold. Twenty years later, Frost decided to try to relocate the hiding place and Perkins was there to capture his journey every step of the way. Naturally, the film is not simply about the charismatic Frost’s treasure-hunting and more about his existential search to understand himself. Shot over the best part of four years, the documentary, which was produced by two-time BAFTA-winner Simon Chinn, is impressive filmmaking and clearly made by someone who both understands and loves the genre.

“I’m very proud to be part of the documentary genre because I think it’s going through a golden age at the moment,” Perkins says. “When I left university it coincided with the release of the first small, portable, low-cost but high-quality cameras. It opened the world to a lot of filmmakers, democratising the whole filmmaking process.” He adds: “The films I admire and want to make myself challenge the idea of what a documentary can and should be. Blurring the lines between narrative and documentary is something I’d love to explore more in future projects.” After graduating from the University of North Carolina in 2009, Perkins cut his teeth working for the National Geographic, before making behind-the-scenes documentaries for such celebrated works as Project Nim (2011), The Imposter and Searching for Sugar Man (both 2012). And then Perkins met Garnet Frost…



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Saunders Producer


he making of a documentary about the shocking story of Baby P and the media witch-hunt of Haringey social workers that followed was always going to be a challenging one. And yet the result, Baby P: The Untold Story, produced by Jenny Saunders, directed by Henry Singer and broadcast on BBC One in October 2014, was a remarkable and profound work. The Guardian described it as a “lucid, beautifully stitched film, painstakingly researched by Jenny Saunders,” adding it is “probably as near as we will get to a true and fair account of what happened”. Unsurprisingly, the film was nominated for a BAFTA in the Single Documentary category at the 2015 Television Awards. Her previous work includes other high-end, sensitive access documentaries, tackling such diverse subjects as honour crime, child sex abuse and the disappearance of Flight 447. Elsewhere, she also produced an animated series about mental health for children called Troubled Minds, which won a BAFTA at the Children’s Awards in 2009. She is currently developing an original 10-part drama series with screenwriter Jeremy Brock, as well as a film about WB Yeats, intended for theatrical release. “The Baby P film had, in its own way, made a bit of a wave,” says Saunders. “It was a long hard slog and emotional to make. We were juggling so many different needs, because everyone was so terrified of opening up this story again when it had destroyed so many lives. Finally, the film went out and my friend encouraged me to apply for Breakthrough Brits. I didn’t dare dream, but I applied on the basis that you won’t know if you don’t try.”


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ne of the most curious aspects of sound design in any of the moving image arts is that when it is done well you often don’t notice it, but when it’s missing or, worse, it sounds jarring it can ruin the whole experience of watching a film or playing a game. As such, the fact that you may not instantly notice the work of Jessica Saunders is perhaps the highest compliment you can pay to her incredible talent for sound. But listen carefully and you will hear her endeavours in such games as Fable Heroes for Lionhead Studios, Kinect Sports Rivals for Rare and, most recently, in one of the biggest releases of 2015, Batman: Arkham Knight, for Rocksteady Studios. For the latter, she was in charge of creating, implementing and maintaining the user interface, physics, destructible and walla (aka crowd murmuring or rhubarb) audio systems, as well as several main path audio sequences. She also composed and integrated final music into the game.

“My job is very creative but it’s also very technical,” Saunders notes. “One day I’d like to have my own studio and work on my own projects. One of the perks of being a contractor is that I’ve enjoyed working at some amazing studios and I’ve met some incredible people. I’d like to put a dream team together. Once you meet people from different disciplines, you can pull them together and share a vision. It probably won’t be quite that easy in reality, but it is something I’d like to do.”



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The Sophomore Year of the Breakthrough Brits With the BAFTA Breakthrough Brits initiative now entering its third year, we discover how the Class of 2014 have fared from our tailored mentoring and guidance programme.


n exciting future lies ahead for the Breakthrough Brits 2015. In just two years, BAFTA’s flagship new talent initiative has seen the Breakthrough Brits go on to win and be nominated for a large number of prestigious industry awards. Building on the BAFTA Awards success enjoyed by the likes of year one’s Dominic Mitchell, Rex Crowle and Dan Pearce, year two saw director Marc Williamson win the Breakthrough Talent award at our Television Craft Awards in 2015, beating off fierce competition from a line-up that included fellow Breakthrough Brit, Chris Lunt. The latter was also named as part of the Prey team nominated in the Miniseries category at the Television Awards 2015. Fellow writer Jonathan Asser won the Writer Film/Television award at the BAFTA Scotland Awards, and Dan Gray was part of the team that picked up two BAFTAs for the game, Monument Valley. But it’s not just about winning awards. First launched in 2013, Breakthrough Brits was created to help provide emerging British


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The Breakthrough Brits Class of 2014 (from top left): Jonathan Asser, Steve Jamison, Tandis Jenhudson, Chris Lunt, Mike Brett, Ray Panthaki, William Pugh, AJ Riach, Sarah Walker, Ashley Kendall, Reece Millidge, Destiny Ekaragha, Marc Williamson, Charu Desodt, Katie Leung and Daniel Gray Daniel Gray with one of two BAFTAs won by Monument Valley

creatives a platform on which to build receive non-voting BAFTA membership for a year, giving them successful careers. It has been enabled from free access to our events, screenings and London home, BAFTA the start by our partner Burberry, which has 195 Piccadilly. BAFTA also works tirelessly with each one to a strong history of discovering and supporting tailor their experience to best suit their needs, helping to new talent across many different industries, provide them with a proactive programme of support, expert helping them reach their creative potential. mentoring and career development. “What the Breakthrough BAFTA and Burberry share Brits recognises is that you’ve a vision of celebrating got yourself to a certain level British talent and giving and then they will help you get them the tools to develop to the next stage,” says Ray their skills at the start of their Panthaki, a producer and actor careers, wherever they are in and one of 18 individuals who the world. formed the second year of the Selected by a stellar jury Breakthrough Brits line-up (see of industry experts, the box out for the full list). “It’s chosen Breakthrough Brits C h a ru De sodt a fantastic initiative. BAFTA have already proven they have creative nous. So, we know they have understands the decisions you’re making, and takes an active the raw talent; the next step is to help them interest in your career. It’s incredible to have an organisation fulfil that early promise. As such, the such as BAFTA fighting your corner so vociferously. It’s really Breakthrough Brits enjoy a year-long felt like I’ve had an extra member on my team.” As an illustration of the kind of support our Breakthrough programme of mentoring and guidance from some of the world’s best practitioners. They Brits have enjoyed as part of the initiative, Panthaki met

It’s an amazing accolade to receive from your peers and it demonstrates that they have confidence in you as a creative person.

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with industry greats such as James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli obe and BBC Films’ Christine Langan, among others. BAFTA also provided free space at BAFTA 195 for the press junket of his debut film as producer, Convenience, which had its theatrical launch in London on 2 October. Elsewhere, producer-director team Mike Brett and Steve Jamison were invited to join Danny Boyle on the San Francisco set of his latest project. They also had mentoring sessions with directors James Marsh and Bennett Miller and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. BAFTA connected actor Callum Turner with his acting hero Daniel Day-Lewis; and composer Tandis Jenhudson sat down for a private session with his lifelong idol, Italian composer Ennio Morricone, an experience he describes as “one of the most exhilarating and significant moments in my life”. All of the Breakthrough Brits can tell a similar story. “I’ve really enjoyed the networking side of it,” notes writer Chris Lunt, who was nominated twice for a BAFTA for his debut television series Prey. “BAFTA has been great at setting up meetings with people who you wouldn’t necessarily get through to on your own. I met Simon Pegg, which was really interesting. I want to write films eventually and just having someone like Simon Pegg aware of me is a huge help towards that.” “One of the biggest thing I’ve learnt from Breakthrough Brits is not to be afraid to approach people for advice, despite their commercial and creative success,” adds games producer Charu Desodt, who

has spent time with Ninja Theory’s chief development director, Nina Kristensen, and Media Molecule’s studio director, Siobhan Reddy, among others as part of the programme. “It’s nice to know that people appreciate other creative people and will give you their time and energy. They’ve been very open to helping me.” Many of the Breakthrough Brits have in turn offered their time to provide mentoring

It’s incredible to have BAFTA fighting your corner so vociferously. It’s really felt like I’ve had an extra member on my team. R ay Pa n t h a k i and advice to aspiring film, television and games practitioners. Desodt and actress Katie Leung took part in an Inspiring Women event where they discussed their careers with 800 young women; Desodt also took part in one of BAFTA’s Young Game Designers events; game designer William Pugh delivered a Storytelling Masterclass for BAFTA Scotland; director Marc Williamson was a panellist for a Gen Next 2015 event; and directors Destiny Ekaragha and Williamson, producers AJ Riach and Panthaki, and writer Lunt have also all been supporting young filmmakers as mentors for the BFI Film Academy. “You have everything to gain from applying,” notes Desodt. “It’s an amazing accolade to receive from your peers and it demonstrates that they have confidence in you as a creative person. In an industry where people either love or hate your game, that’s a really nice validation of what you do.” Panthaki also offers some advice for this year’s Breakthrough Brits: “Really think

Marc Williamson collects his BAFTA for Breakthrough Talent at the British Academy Television Craft Awards in 2015 (From top) Katie Leung meets Olivia Colman; Tandis Jenhudson with mentor Ennio Morricone; Destiny Ekaragha with Hugo Blick; Chris Lunt meets Simon Pegg; AJ Riach with David Heyman


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about the key people you would like to meet and work out a schedule of when you’d like to meet them. Try to tie it in to what you’re doing with your career right now; be timely with your choices.” Something else for this year’s Breakthrough Brits to bear in mind is that BAFTA continues to support past honourees of the initiative beyond the initial 12 months. BAFTA-winning writer Dominic Mitchell, who was a Breakthrough Brit in 2013 and who also offered mentoring advice to last year’s recipient, writer Jonathan Asser, concluded: “Breakthrough Brits is a brilliant scheme. I’m still getting support from BAFTA to this day. They don’t forget about you. You’re not just in a herd and then that’s it, see you later. They are constantly checking in to see how you are doing. It’s not just a couple of events. It really felt like a massive stepping stone for me career-wise and creatively. I think Breakthrough Brits is crucially important for the industry.”

The Breakthrough Brits 2014 A reminder of the Breakthrough Brits selected last year… AJ Riach Producer Ashley Kendall Presenter Callum Turner Actor Charu Desodt Games Producer Chris Lunt Writer Daniel Gray Games Producer Destiny Ekaragha Director Jonathan Asser Writer Katie Leung Actress Marc Williamson Producer/Director Mike Brett and Steve Jamison Producers/Directors Ray Panthaki Producer/Actor Reece Millidge Games Developer Sarah Walker Director Stacy Martin Actress Tandis Jenhudson Composer William Pugh Games Designer

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aura Wade began her writing career dreaming up stories to tell on the stage, writing the play Colder Than Here during her time on the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme in 2003, followed by Breathing Corpses shortly after. In 2010, she completed writing Posh, a commission for the Royal Court, which she would later adapt for the screen under the title The Riot Club. Funded by FilmFour and the BFI, with Pete Czernin and Graham Broadbent as producers and Lone Scherfig as director, Wade’s first screenplay was turned into a film and released theatrically in 2014. “Film is a very different business to be a writer in,” Wade explains. “It’s a different way of working and a different way of collaborating. Writing my first film was like going back to the beginning. I’ve been learning on the job, feeling my way so far, but I really enjoyed the process and it made me want to get better at it. It’s fascinating and I love it.” The Riot Club is a dark social satire about the upper-classes and the perceived sense of entitlement that comes with wealth and privilege. The film has a distinctly British flavour, something that Wade is keen to explore more in future projects, telling stories that will appeal to UK audiences in particular. “I’m a big fan of the British film industry,” she says. “There’s a lot of really strong talent in this country at the moment, so writing British films for British audiences is a really valid endeavour.”


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Dark Producer


nlike many of this year’s Breakthrough Brits, Lauren Dark has some idea of what lies ahead in the next 12 months because she was producing a film, War Book, with two of last year’s alumni, Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, as they were experiencing the programme. “It all sounds really wonderful,” Dark notes. “I know Mike and Steve found the mentoring, the support and the overall opportunity really helpful. I think it’s particularly useful to do this after your first film, because it’s a period when you are focusing on the next steps in your career, exploring what opportunities are out there and seeking other people’s advice. I’m coming at it at the same time as they did, so I’m really excited about it.” War Book was officially selected for the London Film Festival in 2014, and although it’s Dark’s first feature-length narrative film it is by no means her first experience of film production. Before joining Ivana MacKinnon’s Stray Bear Films in January 2014, she spent five years at Sixteen Films, under the auspices of Ken Loach and Rebecca O’Brien. While there, she worked on a range of films, including Les Bien-aimes (aka Beloved, 2011) and Dheepan (released in 2015). She also co-produced with Rebecca O’Brien, Julian Assange and Johannes Wahlstrom the featurelength documentary Mediastan (2013), an exposé of censorship and the press from across the world.

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uch like fellow Breakthrough Brit Charlie Covell, actress Letitia Wright burst onto our screens earlier this year in the Channel 4 and E4 series’ Cucumber and Banana, created by Russell T Davies. However, her role as Scotty was by no means her first television appearance, having previously starred in the BAFTAwinning Top Boy (2011), Random (2011), Glasgow Girls and Chasing Shadows (both 2014). She made her feature film debut in My Brother the Devil (2012) and will soon appear in Urban Hymn, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, who describes Wright as, “the most exciting young screen acting talent that I’ve had the pleasure of working with since Leonardo DiCaprio on This Boy’s Life”. “Beyond carrying on acting, my ambition is to cultivate a career in a way that’s truly significant, in terms of the projects that I do and the characters that I play,” Wright states. “I’d like a solid body of work that can really inspire and maybe shift the industry in a way that adds to it.” She adds: “I also want to get into writing. Charlie Covell really inspires me. She’s very young but the imagination in the script that she wrote for Banana was mind-blowing. She acts and creates, so I hope to do something like that too.”


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Whittaker Games Creative Director


f all of this year’s Breakthrough Brits, Luke Whittaker perhaps best demonstrates how the skills and crafts that go into the creation of films, television and games do not have to be restricted to each art form. As founder and creative lead at independent games studio State of Play Games, Whittaker was instrumental in the creation of Lumino City, a vividly imaginative game that utilises many filmmaking techniques – such as animation, model-making and lighting, among others – to create its unique gameplay. Lumino City’s originality and glorious design, not to mention its relevant ecomessage, won its dev team a BAFTA in 2015 for Artistic Achievement, as well as nominations in the Game Innovation and British Game categories. State of Play’s previous game, KAMI, for Mac and iOS, was equally as original, using colour and origami-style gameplay to create a headscratching puzzler. “What we do is such a crossover,” Whittaker notes. “I’m interested in meeting filmmakers and other artists, anyone who is interested in trying new things. Lumino City wasn’t a traditional game production process by any means, so I’m looking forward to many enjoyable conversations throughout the year with people who want to push at the edges of what is possible. People who aren’t afraid to do things in a slightly different way, and that often comes about through a crossover of disciplines. He adds: “Operating on the borders of what you understand is, for me, the most exciting space. You’re not really having fun unless you’re learning.”

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elfast-born actor Martin McCann is not an unfamiliar face in the world of film and television, having previously worked with the likes of Richard Attenborough (Closing the Ring, 2007), Steven Spielberg (The Pacific miniseries, 2010), James Marsh (Shadow Dancer, 2012), Morgan Matthews (X+Y, 2014) and Yann Demange (’71, 2014). More often than not he’s been cast in supporting roles, but more recently, McCann has been taking centre stage. He played the lead in The Survivalist (which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was screened at the London Film Festival 2015) and also starred in the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated short, Boogaloo and Graham (2014). “I’m really looking forward to the experiences Breakthrough Brits can give me over the next year,” McCann says. “I want to get better as an actor and to learn from people who have more experience than me. At the end of the year, I’d like to go, ‘If it hadn’t have been for that, I wouldn’t have known all these things that I now know,’ and hopefully that will make me a better actor. “Every job I do I always think, ‘I wish I’d known that on my previous gig.’ Every single job you come away with knowing so much more. It is a craft. It’s a learning curve and the more people I meet and the more work I do the better I get at it.”


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Moriarty Writer


ike last year’s Breakthrough Brit Chris Lunt, writer Regina Moriarty is the very definition of ‘it’s never too late’. After working as a tutor in the Probation Service for 10 years, it wasn’t until Moriarty turned 41 that she decided to enrol at the National Film and Television School for an MA in Screenwriting. By that time, she had also become a single mother. “I was juggling lots of different balls at the same time,” she explains. “A job, being a mother, an MA. I don’t know how I did it now I think about it. But once I’d made the decision that I was going to have a go at screenwriting, that was it, I was off. I was really committed to it and I’ve remained so. I don’t know why I waited until I was 41. I think I didn’t really know that that was what I wanted to do. When I started looking into screenplay writing, I just fell in love with it.” Although initially daunted by the prospect – she freely admits she had felt the industry was something of a “closed shop” – she finished her MA and was accepted on a Channel 4 screenwriting course and then the Channel 4 Coming Up strand, soon after earning her first writing credit on Sammy’s War (2013). But it was her next commission that really caught the eye: Murdered by My Boyfriend (2014). This one-shot drama won the Royal Television Society’s Single Drama award in 2015 and Moriarty was nominated for two BAFTAs, for Single Drama and Breakthrough Talent. She is currently co-writing a three-part drama for the BBC with writer-director Dominic Savage. “The industry needs new people to keep the creative pool fresh,” she says. “I’m all for encouraging people to have a go and not be put off by your age or your background.”

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o say Stephen Fingleton’s debut feature film, The Survivalist, has been wowing audiences and critics alike at its various film festival appearances would be an understatement. Following its Tribeca Film Festival premiere, Time Out New York called it a “masterful feature debut… a film that will shake you for days”, while Screen Daily hailed the writer-director as “a major discovery”. An independent production, produced by The Fyzz with support from the BFI and Northern Ireland Screen, The Survivalist stars fellow Breakthrough Brit Martin McCann, alongside Mia Goth and Olwen Fouere. As well as looking forward to the benefits Breakthrough Brits will bring to his future career, Fingleton hopes that it will also help bring more attention to his debut feature. “It’s a low budget independent movie and doesn’t have the ‘machine’ behind it,” he says. “It was made with a tremendously talented cast and crew, and it would be great to bring some extra attention to them too. I’m looking forward to having conversations with people who might be able to help me make the stories I want to tell. When you want to make stories that are at the margins of what is commercially viable, finding the right people to speak to is really important.” He adds: “I’d like to speak to people who are more experienced than me, who are a few curves ahead on the road and have seen those curves that are coming. Taking some of that knowledge and experience and trying to make better decisions earlier myself would be helpful. The thing about filmmaking is you are always making something with your heart, so when things go wrong it costs a piece of you. I’d like to be able to get through that process with as much heart left as possible.”

Writer/Director 26

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Morris Writer


f you want a better understanding of what writer Tess Morris is all about then simply watch the film Man Up (2015), directed by Ben Palmer and starring Simon Pegg, Lake Bell, Olivia Williams and Rory Kinnear. It is not only Morris’ breakthrough film as a screenwriter but also tells an intimate story about modern romantic dalliances that has a personal connection with its originator. “When I wrote the script, it felt like a breakthrough mentally,” she explains. “My previous film scripts had not quite worked for me, but Man Up proved to be such a personal story. It unlocked a lot of internal stuff: it was me baring my soul in the cinema. Even if the film hadn’t been picked up, I think I knew I’d written something I was very proud of and it had taken me quite a while to get to that point in my career. When the film came out, it felt like a nice full circle.”

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A self-confessed romantic comedy addict, the writer is keen to pen more of them in the future. “I’d like to bring the British romcom back,” she says. “Particularly in London, as I’m born and bred here. We make brilliant romantic comedies, but I think something has happened to us in the last few years whereby we defer either to the amazing Richard Curtis or we look to the American output. There’s room for lots of different types of romantic comedies and I’d like to encourage people to write more of them, as well as study the craft like any other genre of film. I think they are often too easily dismissed.” Comedy is clearly dear to her heart – Moonstruck, Trading Places and the work of John Hughes were big favourites in the Morris household when she was growing up. Before Man Up, she worked extensively as a script editor with Seinfield writer Tom Leopold and as a development executive for Richard Holmes. She also lectures on comedy and screenwriting for the Arvon Foundation and Royal Holloway, University of London. She is currently developing two more scripts with Big Talk Pictures.


Aysha Kala Twitter Agent


Kate Staddon at Curtis Brown

Agent email

Contact Details

Agent tel



you wish to make contact with any of this year’s Breakthrough Brits, here are their details...

+44 (0)207 393 4472

Catherine Woolley Email Twitter @Catmoo;

Charlie Covell Agent (writing)

Harriet Pennington Legh Troika

at Agent email Agent tel

+44 (0)20 7336 7868

Agent (acting) Agent email Agent tel

Jonathan Hall at Identity Agency Group

+44 (0)20 7502 4670

Chris Davis Email

Alex Lawther Agent

Nicki van Gelder at Conway van Gelder Grant

Agent email Agent tel

+44 (0)20 7287 0077

Anna Valdez Hanks Email Tel

+44 (0)7799 624291



Silvia Llaguno at United Agents

Agent email Agent tel


+44 (0)203 214 0889

Twitter @MouldyToof

Daisy-May Hudson Email Twitter Web @dsyhdsn

Ed Perkins Email Tel

+44 (0)7552 585757

Twitter Web


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Jenny Saunders

Email Twitter


Jessica Saunders

Email Twitter


Laura Wade Agent

Charlotte Knight at Knight Hall Agency

Agent email Agent tel

+44 (0)20 3397 2901

Lauren Dark

Email Twitter Web


Martin McCann Twitter Agent


Alex Irwin at Markham, Froggatt and Irwin

Agent email Agent tel

Regina Moriarty Twitter Agent


 ark Casarotto at Casarotto Ramsay M & Associates Limited

Agent email Agent tel



Ikki El-Amriti and Femi Oguns at Identity Agency Group

Agent email Agent tel;

+44 (0)20 7502 4670

+44 (0)20 7287 4450

Stephen Fingleton Twitter Web



Jack Thomas at Independent

Agent email

Letitia Wright

+44 (0)20 7636 4412

Agent tel

+44 (0)20 7636 6565

Tess Morris Twitter Agent


Julia Tyrrell at Julia Tyrrell Management

Agent email Agent tel

+44 (0)20 8374 0575

Luke Whittaker Email Tel

+44 (0)207 277 1818

Twitter Web


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Thanks Breakthrough Brits Jury John Willis Jury Chair

Lee Schuneman

Games Sub-Committee Chair

Emma Morgan

Film and Television Sub-Committee Chair

Marc Samuelson

Film and Television Sub-Committee Chair

Sam Bickley Chris Chibnall Simon Chinn Noel Clarke Natalie Dormer Jamal Edwards MBE Tim Hincks Ian Livingstone CBE James Norton Rhianna Pratchett Sara Putt Siobhan Reddy Eve Stewart Maxine Watson Haris Zambarloukos

Photoshoot Crew Photographer Ian Derry Photographer’s Assistants John P Heynes Molly Skeffington Make-up Artist Clare Reed Make-up kindly provided by Burberry Beauty

Breakthrough Brits Film and Television Sub-Committee Jane Aldous Claire Freeman Miranda Jones Sam Jones Josie Law Ann Phillips Lina Prestwood Bradley Quirk Ade Rawcliffe Jemma Rodgers Chris Ross Yonni Usiskin

Breakthrough Brits Games Sub-Committee Georg Backer Ollie Clarke Paul Croft Trang Ho Charmie Kim Catharina Lavers Mallet Julian Lynn-Evans Louise O’Connor Jude Ower Mark Stanley

Burberry Rosewood London Audi Freuds

Hair Stylist Marcia Lee Stylists Hannah Grundy Alana Symonds


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Breakthrough Brits Supporters and Friends BAFTA would like to extend our sincere thanks to all those who have been involved in the Breakthrough Brits programme as supporters, mentors and friends. Your passion, generosity and commitment to supporting BAFTA’s new and emerging talent is extraordinary. John Altman Jesse Armstrong Amma Asante Rowan Athale Richard Ayoade Georg Backer Sam Bain Ed Barratt John Battsek Kay Benbow Tim Bevan CBE Don Black OBE Hugo Blick Douglas Booth Edith Bowman Danny Boyle Greg Brenman Barbara Broccoli OBE Charles Cecil MBE Chris Chibnall Ollie Clarke Olivia Colman Christian Colson Judy Counihan Daniel Day-Lewis James Dean Yann Demange Ilda Diffley Anne Dudley Gail Egan Chiwetel Ejiofor CBE

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Sally El Hosaini Eric Fellner CBE James Floyd Emma Freud OBE Tim Fywell Ricky Gervais Jane Goldman Ellen Goldsmith-Vein Alex Graham Paul Greengrass Blake Harrison Miranda Hart David Heyman James Horner Imre Jele Toby Jones Asif Kapadia Liz Karlsen Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris David Kosse Nina Kristensen Christine Langan Polly Leys Karen Lindsay-Stewart Ian Livingstone CBE Nick Manzi James Marsh Gugu Mbatha-Raw Bennett Miller Johnny Minkley Dominic Mitchell

Abi Morgan Ennio Morricone Christopher Nolan Patrick O’Luanaigh Nira Park Andy Payne OBE Michael Price Jas Purewal Simon Pegg Douglas Rae Jade Raymond Siobhan Reddy Lee Schuneman Jenni Sherwood Sheridan Smith OBE Fiona Sperry Peter Strickland Cheryl Taylor Damien Timmer Jo Twist Christine Vachon Julia Verdin Hal Vogel Sally Wainwright Alice Webb John Willis Jamie Wolpert Nina Wolarsky Brian Woods Eva Yates Rob Yescombe


For BAFTA Event and project Staff

Brochure credits

Event and Legacy Producer Claire Stratton

Director of Partnerships Louise Robertson

Photographer Director Janette Dalley

Senior Manager, Talent Development Alex Cook

Partner Manager Amy Elton

Graphic Designer Joe Lawrence

PR and Learning Campaigns Manager Niyi Akeju

Print Editor Toby Weidmann

Director of Learning & New Talent Tim Hunter Learning & New Talent Team Julia Carruthers Bradley Down Evan Parker Melissa Phillips Ciara Teggart Eleanor Thrower Morgan Tovey Frost Director of Production Clare Brown BAFTA Productions Georgina Cunningham Daniel Dalton Cassandra Hybel Sophie Klein Darren Lovell John Maloney Jonathan Padley

Online Oli Goldman Pippa Irvine Emma Raczkowski Event Photographers Jonny Birch Stephen Butler

British Academy of Film and Television Arts 195 Piccadilly London W1J 9LN t: +44 (0)20 7734 0022 f : +44 (0)20 7292 5869 Chair Anne Morrison Chief Executive Amanda Berry OBE Chief Operating Officer Kevin Price The Academy chooses UPM Finesse Silk, supporting excellence in print. Publication printed on UPM Finesse Silk 300g/m² (cover) and 170g/m² (text) supplied by Denmaur Independent Papers.

© BAFTA 2015


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BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2015  

The Breakthrough Brits initiative selects the UK’s brightest emerging stars from across the film, television and games industries. Following...

BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2015  

The Breakthrough Brits initiative selects the UK’s brightest emerging stars from across the film, television and games industries. Following...