BAFTA Breakthrough India Applications Open with A.R. Rahman Appointed as Ambassador

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced applications are now open for BAFTA Breakthrough India, supported by Netflix and has appointed music composer A.R. Rahman as the ambassador.

On Monday, BAFTA announced applications for Breakthrough India are now open, appointing award-winning composer A.R. Rahman as the ambassador for the initiative.

In 2020 and for the first time, BAFTA will identify, celebrate and support up to five exceptional talents working in film, games or television in India.

Winners will receive:

  • A year-long programme of support from BAFTA
  • Connections to the British creative industries
  • Opportunities to share their expertise with their British peers and learn from British practitioners
  • Promotion as talents to watch for the future in India and in the UK
  • Access to opportunities and support in both the UK and in India

The Slumdog Millionaire composer (among many others) said he is thrilled to work with BAFTA to discover talent that the country has to offer.

A.R. Rahman, composer and BAFTA Breakthrough ambassador, said: “I am happy to be working with BAFTA to discover some of the amazing talent that India has to offer in film, games and television.

“This is a unique opportunity for promising artists to be supported by a world-renowned organisation, to not only make connections with other talented creatives across the world but to be mentored by BAFTA-winners and nominees. I am looking forward to seeing the brilliant talent chosen from India to be showcased on a global stage.”

BAFTA extended the announcement on social media and shared a compilation video of the composer’s film recommendations.

They tweeted: “Today we’ve opened applications for #BAFTABreakthrough India, in partnership with @Netflix! Find out how to apply AND we asked BAFTA-winning

@ARRahman, our BAFTA Breakthrough India ambassador, for a few of his film recommendations.”

Rahman quoted the tweet saying: “Exciting and inspiring with more responsibilities.”

The flagship new talent initiative, applications for which are now open, is part of BAFTA’s year-round work to support new talent, operating alongside their awards ceremonies worldwide.

According to a press statement, BAFTA Breakthrough India will help facilitate the development of relationships between British talent and India’s homegrown creatives.

“We are absolutely delighted to be opening Breakthrough applications in India for the first time,” said Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA. “I am also incredibly grateful for the invaluable support of our brilliant Ambassador A. R. Rahman, an industry leader in his creative work and someone who shares our passion for identifying and nurturing new talent.

“He is well positioned to support the initiative, with his broad spectrum of work drawing recognition across Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films, which will help BAFTA to appeal to a wide section of the industry.”

As part of BAFTA Breakthrough India, a jury of British and Indian industry experts will select five talents from across India to take part in the year-long mentoring and guidance programme. The participants will receive one-to-one mentoring, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, and full voting BAFTA membership.

BAFTA Breakthrough, launched globally in May 2020 and previously known as Breakthrough Brits, has been running in the UK since 2013 and in China since 2019, but this year marks the first time the initiative is recognising talent globally across the UK, US, India and China.

To celebrate the first global cohort of BAFTA Breakthrough participants and encourage cross-cultural connections and collaboration, this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough global participants will be celebrated and showcased together in 2021. The initiative will continue to use digital communications in the coming months to enhance cross-cultural networking across the globe.

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.


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