BAFTA Launches Breakthrough Talent Initiative In China With Tom Hiddleston As Ambassador

BAFTA Shanghai, Amanda Berry, Tom Hiddleston and Wendy Yu BAFTA

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), in partnership with financier Yu Holdings, has launched a new initiative to spotlight China’s future stars of film, games and television and help grow their international presence.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, announced the BAFTA Breakthrough China initiative today at the Shanghai IFilm Festival, alongside British actor Tom Hiddleston and philanthropist Wendy Yu, founder and CEO of Yu Holdings. The Avengers star Hiddleston will serve as an ambassador on the scheme.

A jury of Chinese and Brit industry experts will select the five ‘Breakthrough’ talents from across China to take part in the year-long mentoring programme. Their names will be announced at an event at The Peninsula Shanghai in October. The winners will then be flown to the UK to be introduced to British creatives and share their knowledge and experiences with their overseas peers.

BAFTA wants Chinese industry professionals to recommend potential candidates, who will then be invited to submit an application. Potential candidates can be a director, writer, producer, actor or game developer, “with a demonstrable ambition to work with UK talent, or to produce content for global audiences”.

The initiative is the first international version of UK scheme Breakthrough Brits, which has been running since 2013. Previously selected actors on the program include Letitia Wright (Black Panther), Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and games producer Dan Gray (Monument Valley). According to BAFTA, more than 40% of Breakthrough Brits have gone on to become BAFTA winners or nominees at their awards ceremonies.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA said, “We are delighted to be announcing BAFTA Breakthrough China, the first time BAFTA’s flagship new talent initiative has taken place outside of the UK. BAFTA Breakthrough China will identify and support talented newcomers, bring together passionate and creative people and encourage closer collaboration and cultural exchange between the Chinese and UK industries, for our mutual benefit.

“Over the years we have gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the Chinese creative industries, but we recognise 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.”

Hiddleston added, “Initiatives like BAFTA Breakthrough China are instrumental in helping to strengthen the careers of exciting new talent, and to promote them on a global scale. I have seen first-hand 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.”

Yu Holdings is run by Chinese heiress, investor and philanthropist Wendy Yu, daughter of Jingyuan Yu, billionaire founder of the Mengtian Group, which is Asia’s largest manufacturer of wooden doors.

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