There is one particular star whose career Brandon Perea says he loves to emulate.
“I’m a huge fan of her work and the projects she’s doing,” says the actor who turned heads on Netflix. OABut earlier this year he caught the spotlight as bleached-haired tech salesman and UFO enthusiast Angel Torres in Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror, No, his first major film role. “So to be able to reflect that in a small sense.”
Fortunately for the 27-year-old, he’s already mirroring the early point of Florence Pugh’s career.
Perhaps along with Tom Holland and Letitia Wright (all three, coincidentally, now key elements in the MCU), Pugh – before her dramatic ascent – was a graduate of BAFTA’s Breakthrough programme, which helped support the initiative set up by the British Academy in 2013. Rising talent in film, television and video games.
Originally launched for the UK only, the program – which offers participants a year’s worth of personally curated development, networking and mentoring opportunities, taking advantage of BAFTA’s Rolodex of influential industry names – is backed by Netflix and is going global, first to China in 2019 and to India and the US in 2020.
Peria, who is also on the 12-strong list of US Breakthroughs for 2022-23, announced earlier this month, has actually been approached by BAFTA to apply. “When the email came to join I read it like a college acceptance letter and I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God,'” she recalls.
The 2022 group from the US also includes producer Melissa Adeyomo, whose debut feature, IMOFE (This is my wish), two Nigerians living in Lagos who dream of immigrating to Europe, bow before heading to an impressive festival run at the Berlinale in 2020, drawing comparisons to Wong Kar Wai along the way. In the mood for love and by Asghar Farhadi An isolation. Adeomo heard about the show through writer-director Ekwa Msangi, who had a breakthrough in 2020 after his Sundance-winning title. Goodbye Amor.
“And then someone forwarded the BAFTA list and said, ‘I think you might be perfect for this,’ and I thought, ‘That’s kind of cool,'” he says. “As an independent filmmaker I’ve really created my own way, so the opportunity for mentorship is incredible.”
For fellow 2022 Breakthrough So Eun Um, the recommendation to apply for the initiative came before she took on the doc feature. Liquor store dreams – her deeply personal direction exploring the politics of Korean-owned liquor stores in the US (including her father’s) on a global tour including the Busan International Film Festival and later the BFI London Film Festival. “I thought, OK, I’ll do it, but it seems so far-fetched,” he explains. “But I shoot my shot in everything I do, so I did, and when I heard back it was probably the most surprising email I’ve ever received.”
Although Perea, Adeomo and Yun Um practice their craft in different areas of filmmaking, on and off-screen, they all hope to harness the BAFTA breakthrough for one central goal. That is, learning how to move on to the next level and take advantage of this important moment in their career the way they want to.
“I feel like it’s easy to have a movie where you really break through, but there’s this big gap before your next movie,” says Adeomo, who says that as a producer, it’s his job to help get each one through. The project moves as smoothly as possible for its directors. “So it helps to be as prepared as possible, and the old rules don’t really apply, at least on the film side, you have to have as much knowledge as you can,” he says. “I think it’s both capable of leading from this place of darkness to something more authentic, like a flash in the night. [Breakthrough] Must help.”
Adeomo is currently producing a documentary Dust and stones, about two country singers from Swaziland who travel to Texas to compete in a band competition. Given its subject matter, he feels the film has a definite international audience and is still trying to pin-down its international premiere. “So being part of this BAFTA network definitely helps with that,” he says.
In addition Liquor store dreams Now in the world and showing people the kind of stories Eun Um wants to tell and the kind of filmmaker she is, she feels like she’s “in the North” and is now “really emerging” in the industry. With Breakthrough, he hopes to “meet more people, become a better filmmaker and learn more techniques,” but also looks to expand his horizons and opportunities “as someone who wants to do both documentary and narrative.”
After having a “life changing” experience No, Peria is now at a career juncture where he wants to carefully plan what to do next. When the film was first released in September, he admitted to thinking that he should go straight back to work and book another job by the end of the year.
“But I had to sit back and think, it just came out, you have to give it time for more people to see it. Of course, if a good script and a good filmmaker come along, I will try to do it. But at this point, it’s like, don’t rush it,” he says, adding that he hopes to “pick the brains” of others who have gone through a similar experience. “It’s a special position, but I want to handle it with grace and purpose.”
When Breakthroughs first join the programme, they are asked to send BAFTA a wishlist of names they would like to speak with to help them gather the key career-propelling expertise they are looking for. For Adeomo, figures like Steve McQueen and Julian Fellowes come to mind (“Maybe I’ll visit the set The Gilded Age?”), for Yun Um, she said she “got really big” and shadowed Chloe Zhao on set and talked to Bong Joon Ho about scriptwriting and directing actors. “Unfortunately, our class also said Andrea Arnold – I think that’s the person I want to try to be.”
For Peria, Stranger Things Breakout Joseph Quinn is someone in a “relatable space,” wondering what to do next. “I want to see what his thoughts are because it’s great to have an extraordinary supporting cast in something big and I think he’s going through the same thing right now.”
And, of course, there’s the former Breakthrough, one of the most sought-after and acclaimed actors of his generation.
“Florence Pugh is definitely at the top of the list,” he says. “She’s giving a performance every time and standing out in every film, and it’s very impressive to see a young actor working at that level. At her age and our age, it’s easy to confuse these moments.