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BAFTA ventures into India with Breakthrough initiative

It will showcase and support emerging stars of film, games, and television in India.

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NEW DELHI: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is taking its first steps in India with the global expansion of the Breakthrough initiative, supported by Netflix. This flagship new talent initiative is part of BAFTA’s year-round work to support new talent, operating alongside their awards ceremonies worldwide. BAFTA Breakthrough India will help facilitate the development of relationships between British talent and India’s homegrown creatives.

BAFTA Breakthrough India is a new international iteration of the highly successful Breakthrough initiative, which has been running in the UK since 2013, China since 2019 and has launched in the USA this year, supporting over 130 emerging talents to date.

Encouraging creative and cultural exchange between some of the major centres of film, games, and television in these countries, the programme has supported individuals such as Tom Holland, Letitia Wright, Florence Pugh, Jessie Buckley, Josh O’Connor, and Callum Turner. Industry supporters of the initiative in recent years also include actors Oliva Colman, Naomi Harris, Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, actor-producer Brad Pitt, directors Tom Harper and Barry Jenkins, game designers Brenda Romero and Tim Schafer, and actor-writers Sharon Horgan and Amy Schumer.

In 2020, BAFTA will identify, celebrate, and support up to five exceptional talents working in film, games, or television in India, through this first-of-its-kind program in the country. By showcasing talent globally, BAFTA Breakthrough aims to turbocharge their career success by offering a bespoke programme of support – helping them to learn more about the industry, overcome barriers to progression, and network globally with people who can influence their careers.

Netflix is the official supporting partner for BAFTA Breakthrough, in the UK, USA and India, providing integral support in the global expansion. BAFTA and Netflix share a joint vision to celebrate and provide opportunities for emerging talent across the world, bringing together international communities across global networks, in order to develop and support stories and voices from different cultures.

“BAFTA is uniquely placed to facilitate creative partnerships across the moving arts, being one of the only art charities to work across film, games, and television and on a global scale,” BAFTA director of learning & new talent Tim Hunter said. “India is one of the most prolific and accomplished industries and a fascinating centre for the screen arts with lots of creative diversity, which extends far beyond the world-famous ‘Bollywood’. Some of the best practitioners in the world work in Indian film, games, and television – and practitioners from around the world have much to learn from them.”

Netflix India VP content Monika Shergill said, "Netflix shares BAFTA's vision and responsibility in providing ‘breakthrough’ opportunities to emerging talent. We’re thrilled to extend our support to the programme in India and help amplify our country's new voices. This initiative will meaningfully bring together creative communities across borders, support their stories, unearth raw talent and provide them with recognition on the world stage.” 

BAFTA will work closely with local cultural bodies and industry in India to reach each sub-region's unique landscape and identify excellent individuals who have shown creative promise in film, games, and television. Participants will be selected by a jury comprising leaders from across India’s moving arts industries. The chosen participants will be offered a year-long support programme from BAFTA and be showcased across India and the UK. They will also receive one-to-one mentoring, guidance sessions, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, and full voting BAFTA membership as part of Breakthrough. It will enable the chosen talent to connect with and learn from some of the best in the British and Indian creative industries, share their expertise with peers around the world, gaining access to opportunities beyond geographical borders.

The Breakthrough programme will also be supported by a series of craft masterclasses, which will feature British and Indian talent sharing their expertise and insights with audiences across India and the UK. More details of the Breakthrough Masterclasses programme will be announced.

Applications for the programme will be announced as open soon.

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