During a visit from its President, The Duke of Cambridge, BAFTA has announced plans to extend support for under-represented groups aiming for a career in TV, film and games.

BAFTA unveiled plans for the new Prince William BAFTA Bursary fund which is aimed at talented individuals who, due to financial reasons, would otherwise not be able to pursue careers in the screen industries.

The royal visit also marked the reopening of BAFTA’s newly redeveloped headquarters at 195 Piccadilly.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge, President of BAFTA, said: “I am hugely proud of BAFTA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that young talent from all walks of life are given every possible opportunity to build and develop successful careers in the film, games and television industries. The redevelopment of 195 Piccadilly has created fantastic new learning spaces to ensure that future generations can receive the support they need to thrive.”

BAFTA also announced that BAFTA Elevate, an established year-long programme of bespoke support and activity, will open this year to producers (scripted and non-scripted) working in film and television who are disabled, from minority ethnic backgrounds and from low-socioeconomic backgrounds.

For emerging and mid-level professionals, BAFTA announced Connect, a new discounted tier of membership for those at an earlier career stage.

Amanda Berry OBE, BAFTA Chief Executive said: “The initiatives we are announcing today are in direct response to research identifying some of the barriers to opportunity talented people across the country face when trying to pursue careers in the screen industries. Our talent development programmes enable those from under-represented groups to access BAFTA’s extensive network of industry professionals to aid their career progression, while our bursaries and scholarships provide vital financial support for recipients who otherwise would not consider a career in film, games or television. For the first time we are introducing a new tier of membership that will open up our organisation to a wider range of creative talent, and at an earlier stage of their careers.  We are indebted to BAFTA’s President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, for his ongoing support of our work and for joining us today at 195 Piccadilly.”

Krishnendu Majumdar, BAFTA Chair of the Academy said: “As we kick start the year of BAFTA’s 75th anniversary I’m excited for what BAFTA will be able to accomplish over the next 12 months. Not only because we are able to reopen our home at 195 Piccadilly, which has doubled in size and capacity, but because it will enable us to inspire and support more talented people and showcase the impact BAFTA’s charitable work has on so many people across the UK and globally.  I’m incredibly grateful to BAFTA President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge for his continued support of our initiatives such as Elevate, Young Game Designers and our mentorship programmes as they are vital in enabling young people and emerging talent from underrepresented groups to access the screen arts.  In the lead up to the sparkle of Awards season, what better time than now to give BAFTA’s learning and new talent programmes centre stage.”

BAFTA winning actor and mentor Suranne Jones added: “If you want to find your footing in the arts, BAFTA’s unique approach of harnessing the industry to support emerging talent can be invaluable.  As young as 8, I dreamed of becoming an actor, but I didn’t begin my professional career until the age of 16. A lot of young people in creative fields who don’t have family connections in the industry don’t know where to turn for help or advice and I resonate with their stories in that sense. Behind the scenes and beyond the awards, there is a lot of good work being done to level the playing field for creatives from all walks of life and I’m delighted to play my part in my role as a BAFTA mentor.”

Jon Creamer

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