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BAFTA to launch 'Brits to Watch' screening series

BAFTA to launch 'Brits to Watch' screening series
Damian Lewis of "Homeland" is among the "Friends of Brits to Watch" who have endorsed "Brits to Watch: The Screenings." (Kent Smith/Showtime)

The British are coming!

To the attention of the U.S. film industry, that is.

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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced Tuesday that it would launch "Brits to Watch: The Screenings," a showcase of up-and-coming film talent from the United Kingdom.

The series, in partnership with the British Council, will be shown in Los Angeles and New York over a 12-month period. It will kick off on July 25 with director Clio Bernard's “The Selfish Giant,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. 

Stemming from BAFTA's 2011 "Brits to Watch" initiative, which introduced 42 British newcomers to the U.S. film industry at a gala event in Los Angeles, the screening series will allow each actor, director, writer or producer to introduce, and then screen a sample of his or her work to the audience.

"We are in a unique position to offer unrivaled opportunities to help British talent make connections with those who have the power to shape and enhance their careers," Amanda Berry, BAFTA's chief executive, said in a statement.

The series is endorsed by what BAFTA calls "Friends of Brits to Watch," which includes actors Damian Lewis ("Homeland"), Sienna Miller (“The Edge of Love”) and Tom Hiddleston (“Midnight in Paris”), director Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) and screenwriter John Logan (“The Aviator”).

Bernard emerged on the independent film scene after the debut of her 2010 movie, "The Arbor." Her new film, "The Selfish Giant," is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde's children's tale, and was screened in the Director's Fortnight at Cannes.

"Clio has long shown her prodigious talent as an artist filmmaker, and now, with just two features under her belt, shows extraordinary maturity as a feature filmmaker," said Nigel Sinclair, co-chair of the BAFTA Los Angeles Film Committee.

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Twitter: @celinecwright

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