Chinese screen creatives mentored in UK
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) runs a scholarship programme that enables talented Chinese nationals from mainland China or Hong Kong to take an industry-focussed course in film, games or television in the UK.
The scholarships aim to encourage cross-cultural exchange between British and Chinese nationals. British citizens are also funded to study similar courses in mainland China or Hong Kong.
The Chinese scholarship recipients are mentored by a British industry professional, and have free access to BAFTA events.
In return, the BAFTA Scholars share their learning experiences on BAFTA Guru, BAFTA’s online learning resource (www.bafta.org/guru), and participate in BAFTA outreach to young people. BAFTA Scholars also attend BAFTA Film Awards.
The scheme is part of efforts by UK-based organisations to increase grow collaboration, networks and mutual understanding between the UK and Chinese creative sectors.
BAFTA first awarded a scholarship to a student from Hong Kong in 2014, and awarded two students from mainland China for the first time in 2016. In 2017, BAFTA awarded scholarships to five Chinese students.
For example, BAFTA Scholar Haolu Wang from Xuzhou in Jiangsu Province, studied Directing Fiction at the National Film and Television School (NFTS), under the mentorship of BAFTA and Oscar-nominated writer-director Alex Garland (director of the acclaimed science fiction movie, ‘Ex Machina’).
Haolu has described the scholarship as an “absolute honour and privilege” and thanked his “fantastic mentor”.
BAFTA Scholar Edward Lun, from Hong Kong, studied MComp in Composition for Screen at the Royal College of Music (RCM). BAFTA-nominated composer Ilan Eshkeri (The Snowman and the Snowdog, an animated sequel to the film, The Snowman) was his mentor.
Via the BAFTA website, Sara Putt, Chair of BAFTA’s Learning and New Talent Committee, said: “Our Chinese BAFTA Scholars are some of the most impressive students that we support. They share insights from China with their peers in the UK, and we introduce them to leading figures in the British film, games and television industries.
‘Applicants need to contact their chosen course directly to arrange their studies, but then they are welcome to apply for our scholarship for the chance to receive a range of financial and professional support.”
The BAFTA Scholarship Programme in China is exclusively open to Chinese nationals, including Hong Kong residents with Chinese nationality. There is no age limit for applicants.
The BAFTA Scholarship Programme in China has been made possible by the generous support of Kevin and Carrie Burke.
The deadline for 2019/2020 applications is Friday 24 May 2019, 5pm.
In addition to the scholarships programme, BAFTA also runs masterclasses and other learning events.
Its activity in China has involved exclusive ‘In Conversation’ events with top British on-screen talent, and a series of masterclasses with leading behind-the-scenes craftspeople.
These events have included: a conversation with Hugh Bonneville (pictured), star of ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Paddington’, a Costume Design Masterclass with Lindy Hemming; The Creation of Character by Naomi Donne; and a make-up Masterclass with Lois Burwell.
(Above: Hugh Bonneville in Paddington © Paddington'© Studio Canal S.A)
BAFTA also introduces promising British film talent to leading figures in the Chinese film industry including at events such as the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) every June.
It is to be hoped that over the long-term greater contact between screen talent and production and commissioning executives in both countries will help deliver the promised benefits from increased UK-China co-productions, envisaged by the production treaty signed by both countries in 2014.
The agreement enables qualifying co-productions to take advantage of national benefits, such as easier access to funding and easier distribution, in each market. In the Chinese market, for example, there continue to be quotas limiting the maximum number of foreign made films that can be distributed in the country.
Find out more about BAFTA in Asia, including insights into Anglo-Chinese creative collaborations here.
More about the UK-China film co-production treaty
Read how TV makers collaborated at the 2019 UK-China Creative Exchange