Emerging Brits 2020 - National Youth Film Academy

Emerging Brits 2020

Introducing our 2019 Emerging Brits

Emerging Brits is a programme created to showcase the best talent the UK Film Industry has to offer. Every 3 years the next generation of actors and filmmakers are selected to take part in a year-long guidance programme.

The National Youth Film Academy support their members through a year long programme of career development, during which they work with some of the industry’s top professionals, attend PR and networking events and end the year with their short film showcased in front of industry.

Scroll down to learn about 2019’s Emerging Brits.

Male Actors
Female Actors
Filmmakers
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Abby Russell

Actor


Abby was born and raised in Sheffield with a flair for outrageous characters. In October 2016 she relocated to London in order to train with National Youth Theatre’s ‘Playing Up’ course. The course culminated in the play, “THREE” at The Arcola Theatre written by Sophie Ellerby and directed by Anna Niland. During the development of the play, Abby created her own comedic character which was then written into the script. After watching Abby in the play, Robert Delamere the co-writer and director of comedy “Hang Ups” offered her a role in the new series which aired on Channel 4. After creating several of her own characters, Abby naturally developed an interest in writing her own material and went on to do a spoken word course- Wax Lyrical at Roundhouse Theatre where she created her one woman piece ‘Crave Rave’ which she then performed at Roundhouse at The Last Word festival 2018. Most recently Abby made her West End Debut, performing at The Criterion Theatre in a new play ‘Function’ written by Sophie Ellerby and directed by Lynette Linton. Abby has also just filmed a pilot for a new BBC comedy ‘Big Boy’.

Abby spends a great deal of time writing material for her theatre company, which she set up in February 2018 – ‘Fruitcake comedy’ a comedy duo, consisting of two Northern working class females. For her first show Abby co-wrote, directed and performed in a multi-roling, two women character comedy “Itchy Bits” for the crucible Studio in Sheffield. After receiving a standing ovation and rave reviews, they took this show to Bestival in August as part of the comedy tent.

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Adam Nicholls

Director of Photography


Adam started off learning his trade studying Film and Television at Southampton Solent university. There Adam was able to gain a finer understanding of the craft that he wished to pursue as a career along with gaining some valuable hands on experience with high end cameras such as the Blackmagic Ursa 4.6K, Sony FS5 and ARRI Alexa mini. The course taught Adam vital lessons in lighting set up and the importance of shot composition.

After graduating from university, Adam has taken part in several different filming roles, all revolving around the camera/lighting departments. These experiences outside of university have helped Adam to further understand the cinematography role and how to be more efficient with every passing shoot. Adam also took part in the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course where groups were asked to conceptualise, write, shoot and edit a film in ten days. The course not only taught Adam about the value of good teamwork, but also how to think on his feet and make the most of the surroundings in order to get the best possible shots.

Since becoming a member of the National Youth Film Academy, Adam has worked on a few advertisements, one for the Samsung galaxy S9 and another for the Wimbledon tennis. Both jobs were totally different and were great fun to participate on. Adam was the Cinematographer on ‘SOIL’ starring Matt Milne (Downton Abbey, Warhorse) and Bruce Jones (Coronation street, The Full Monty). Adam is currently working as the Cinematographer for a low budget feature that is due to be released on amazon prime called ‘The Broken Trilogy’.

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Ali Kurr

Director


Ali Kurr is an award winning writer and director based in London. She cut her teeth making music videos for artists including Loyle Carner, Amber Run and Rina Sawayama while studying at the prestigious Courtauld Institute of Art.  Her final year work was awarded a First Class prize while her early directing work was being recognized at the UK Music Video Awards.

Since focusing her attention on directing she has carved a path making commercials for brands such as Nike, Valentino, Puma, Barclays and Samsonite.  Kurr also has experience directing narrative fiction and her first short film ‘Sparrow’, made alongside Bafta nominated producer Sorcha Bacon, received its debut screening at Underwire Festival in Autumn 2018.

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Amba Gayfer

Actor


Originally adopted from Nepal, Scottish actor Amba Gayfer graduated with a drama degree from the University of Hull in 2013. Amba continued her training in physical theatre abroad in Austria and Lithuania, under the guidance of Russian practitioner Sergio Ostrenko.

Amba has been a member of the National Youth Film Academy since 2014 and is also a member of the National Youth Theatre and The Actors class by Mary Doherty. She has consistently worked in the industry as an actor and has been in short films such as ‘209’ers’, CBBC, music videos, including ‘Let it go’ by James bay and Sophie muller, commercials for Disneyland Paris, Samsung, and Coca-Cola, and performed in theatre.

Amba does ballet and pole dancing for fitness, she combines her love of horse riding by learning specifically horse riding for the screen. This includes solo and group lessons where she learns how to ride with one hand carrying a sword and shield and other weapons, cantering to your mark, jousting, and riding in formation with other riders as well as different scenarios where horse riding would be used on set in a film.

She is continuing her training with the British Action Academy in armed and unarmed combat for the screen, and would like to eventually be able to do her own stunts in film. Amba is based in North London and represented by Hero Talent Group.

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Amelia Simpson

Writer


Since realising her love for screenwriting in particular, Amelia has taken part in a few courses as well as entering her own work into film competitions. Amelia’s first real step in the Film Industry was being chosen for the British Film Institute’s Screenwriting Residential, where 25 young writers were chosen to take part in a week-long intensive course. On that course Amelia was able to write a short 6 page film script, that she has since used to propel herself further into the Industry and onto another course. This course was the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready programme where Amelia was lucky enough to be chosen as a screenwriter and was tasked to come up with a completed script in a matter of days. This was a really influential course to Amelia because it revealed the possibilities of actually finding a career within the Industry.

Outside of courses, Amelia has made short films and has won a few awards. A short film Amelia wrote, shot and directed was a joint winner in a nationwide charity competition for the WAVE Trust. In addition to that, more recently, another short Amelia wrote and directed; ‘her’ was placed second in the Cambridge Film Festival’s ShortReel competition.

Furthermore, a film Amelia collaborated on entitled ‘The Leading Lady’ was picked alongside a handful of films to be shown at the Barbican Cinema in London as a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome Film Competition. Amelia is really looking forward to getting more Industry Experience throughout the Emerging Brits course!

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Archie Williams

Director of Photography


Archie started making films when he was eight years old with his younger brothers. His first short film was a Western set in the South of France called the Texas Wisemen. Archie was ten and he scripted, directed and edited the film, since then he simply never got bored of making films and loves every aspect.

Archie has just completed a one minute film, has scripted another and earlier last year he made a ten minute film called February which is currently on YouTube. Archie has independently made around six films and has yet to finish six more. He has completed work experience with VCCP, the advertising agency behind many of the biggest adverts on television, has worked as a runner on a commercial and has assisted on professional photography sets with Simon Bohrsmann and James Bedford.

Archie has completed three summer camps with the Young Film Academy as well as their weekly saturday course. Archie completed the National Youth Film Academy Set ready course in Summer 2018 and has since become a member of the organisation.

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Charlotte Schofield

Actor


Charlotte is originally from London and is currently studying an MA in Literature, Culture and Society at the University of Sheffield.

Charlotte has loved acting since she first caught the bug in school, and has spent time training on short and part time courses at top drama schools such as LAMDA and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. When not studying Charlotte gets involved in as much theatre as she can in Sheffield and beyond, and has performed in both large-scale professional productions and smaller fringe pieces.

Having joined the National Youth Film Academy in 2018, Charlotte is currently enjoying learning all she can about the film industry and found taking part in the Set Ready course in the Spring was a wonderful opportunity to transfer what she’d learned about acting on stage to acting for the screen.

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Conrad McCroddan

Actor


From a very early age Conrad knew his life had to revolve around film. His parents were involved in the industry themselves; so film, television and theatre played a huge role in his development.

By the age of ten, Conrad and his younger brother had started making little films using old toys, crudely edited between the two of them using Apple Imovie. At the age of nineteen Conrad successfully got his first job in the industry, a small role on the Starz adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s ‘The White Princess’, and the chance to work with, and learn from some exceptionally talented actors and filmmakers.

Once Conrad had seen how a real, professional set worked his desire to work in the industry was fully established. Since then Conrad has completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course, filmed a few short films and has had parts in a couple of feature films for Tornado Studios, in South Wales. Conrad’s most notable success so far was a part in BBC drama ABC Murders.

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Dean Smith

Actor


From the moment Dean could walk he was always the entertainer in the room, however, being brought up in the countryside and working on his grandparents farm, Dean never knew what is was to perform until the age of 11, when he started studying drama at secondary school.

Dean joined a drama group which gave him the confidence he needed to pursue his dream. From there he was one of the select few chosen to try out a new theatre group known as the “Buxton Opera House Youth Theatre” and took part in a performance of ‘Arabian Nights’, in the Opera house.

At the age of 16 Dean studied a BTEC National Diploma in Acting at Aquinas college. Over the next two years he performed in multiple shows such as ‘The Tempest’, playing the role of Prospero, and ‘West Side Story’, playing the role of lieutenant Schrank.

After finishing college and not knowing where to go next to pursue his dream, Dean joined the family business in driving HGV’s, and before he knew it the dream began to fade. That’s when Dean joined the National Youth Film Academy and completed the Set Ready Course. He played the main role in the short film created by his group as part of the course.

Dean is signed by Platinum Artist and through December 2018 he completed a pantomime tour of sleeping beauty with Out Of The Box Productions.

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Ellie Ekers

Actor


Ellie’s film career began with the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course in 2016. Since then Ellie has taken part in many short films, most recently a horror film which gave her an insight into how make up artists work and perfect their art. Ellie has really enjoyed learning about the time it takes to create a fantastic film and the different elements involved. She has discovered that her love of film stems from creating a character and allowing the camera to highlight the intricate details.

Ellie’s most recent role is in a short film focusing on abusive relationships with an aim to highlight to young people some of the invisible signs to be cautious of.

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Gabriela Buchanan

Assistant Director


At 16 months old, Gabriela would turn on the television, power up the VHS player and slot in her favourite Disney tape Bambi. This Gabriel’s earliest memory of film and when her passion first began, in particular a fascination with the use of music in film to heighten the audience’s emotion and therefore inspire them.

Gabriela originally planned to pursue an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish, however, found her interests pulling her in a different direction and instead decided to apply for Film Studies and Spanish. With the cross-cultural influence of her Colombian and Scottish parentage Gabriela is keen to use my knowledge of languages and cultures to find work in the UK and abroad.

Gabriela gained theoretical experience at university which led to her joining the National Youth Film Academy and completing the Set Ready course to continue to develop her practical experience. Since the Set Ready course Gabriela has collaborated with other members to produce short films.

Since graduating from University Gabriela has gained experience as a floor runner and location marshal for a TV show, web series, music video and feature film and is currently working as a freelancer and seeking work experience to develop her skills in research and on-set with a final ambition of becomming a feature film director.

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Georgie Muya

Actor


Georgie describes himself as a very imaginative person and spends a lot of his time reading or watching movies and TV shows that he hopes to be in one day.

Georgie became a member of the National Youth Film Academy in 2018 when he completed the Set Ready Course. As part of the course, Georgie together with a group of fellow actors and filmmakers, created short film ‘Passion, Drive and Appropriate Qualifications’.

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Gideon Asuming

Actor


Acting first began for Gideon in 2010 when he played Danny Zuko in his School’s performance of Grease. It was then that he made the decision to follow his dreams and become an Actor. So far Gideon has been an extra in the British film, Brotherhood, has completed the National Youth Film Academy’s Set ready course and has since become a member of the organisation.

The Set Ready course helped Gideon to understand what it’s like to work in the film industry and presented him with opportunities and knowledge to develop his craft as an actor with like-minded individuals who all share the same goal.

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Grace Englert

Actor


Grace grew up surrounded by and loving theatre. Her family were passionate about the West End and Grace claims that with that backing throughout her childhood it would have been impossible to not want to be somewhere within the industry.

Grace’s first break in the industry was being involved in BBC Radio 4’s adaptation of Philip Larkin’s ‘Jill’. Grace became a member of the National Youth Film Academy in 2017 and has since gone on to achieve parts in two upcoming feature films, including the part of Becky in Ip Man 4.

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Grace Ward

Actor


Grace began acting in school plays when she was 10 years old. When she was 14, Grace joined a Stagecoach performing arts group and went on to study Drama GCSE and Theatre Studies A-Level at school.

Grace first began to pursue her career seriously when she started acted in short films. Together, with a group of friends, she began making numerous short films, music videos and other projects independently. It was this that granted Grace with the valuable experience as both an actor and in roles such as sound, lighting and assistant directing and led her to realising how much she liked being on a film set.

In 2015, Grace went to the University of Roehampton to study Creative Writing whilst completing a course at MN Academy, workshops at City Academy, and joined London, Voice and Motion. At LVM. Grace has gained two professional theatre credits in the plays “The Regina Monologues” and “The Games Afoot” – both of which are comedies.

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Harry Allmark

Producer


Harry is currently studying Theatre and Film at the University of Bristol. He started his journey into the creative arts industry when he was 8 years old by taking part in an after-school comedy drama club specialising in improvisation. It was there that he fell in love with creating scenes and stories that would make people laugh.

By the time Harry has finished school he had created 2 short films and put on a 2 hour long feature-length play which ran for 2 nights to 2 sold out audiences.

It was these productions which landed Harry his next job creating a comedic short film for the NHS campaign #endPJpararlysis. AMong other things, since starting University Harry has worked on a short film, written and directed an original theatre performance, performed in comedic and dramatic improvised shows and directed a piece of musical theatre featuring puppetry, performed in 2 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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Harry Duff-Walker

Actor


Harry is an actor living in North London. His first experience of acting was at school where he fell in love with the craft and spent as much time as he possibly could acting throughout his time at Leeds University.

Since moving to London Harry has been working to put himself in a position where he can pursue his passion professionally. A huge step to making that possible was taking part in the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course in August 2018.

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Isabella Gale

Assistant Director


Isabella started working in the industry in early 2017 when she directed a short film as part of the Shepperton studios BFI Film Academy and has gone on to work with the company that ran the course – Resource Production’s, on many day shoots since.

Following this Isabella worked as a runner on indie feature ‘Black Site’, as a production assistant for indie comedy feature ‘I Love My Mum’. In 2018 Isabella became a member of the National Youth Film Academy and took part in the Set Ready course where she worked as Assistant Director and Editor on her group’s short film, ‘Snowflakes’.

Since joining the National Youth Film Academy Isabella acquired the opportunity to work as a camera trainee on feature film ‘Lyrebird’ where she shadowed DOP, Remi Adefarasin.

Isabella is currently studying digital film production at Ravensbourne university and has just finished a short film with Resource Productions, ‘Overdrive’, which she directed as part of their ‘Shoot It!’ youth programme.

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Jack Barker

Actor


Jack has always wanted to act since a young age. He first started acting when he was at school where he joined and performed in local theatre groups.

After completing a course with the National Youth Theatre Jack joined a company called Totally Lit where he continued his education in acting for the camera and the difference between that and theatre. Following this Jack joined the National Youth Film Academy, completed the Set Ready course and went on to begin drama school at the Academy of Live Recorded Arts.

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Jack Price

Writer


Jack’s writing journey so far has encompassed film, games and prose. Whilst completing his English Literature and Drama degree Jack wrote his debut novella, “Home”, which reached number one on a Kindle bestseller list. This was jack’s first real introduction into the world of professional storytelling, and since then his career has moved from strength to strength.

Since leaving university, Jack has worked on a multitude of video games, including, “The Archivist” which received several Raindance film festival nominations, including “best narrative experience”.

Since taking part in the National Youth Film Academy’s “Set Ready” course, Jack has been pursuing his main storytelling passion – screenwriting. Jack has written several short films of his own and recently completed a 5-day stint in Oslo working as a script doctor on feature film, “The Department of Applied Chemistry”.

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Jacob Seymour

Editor


Jay has always wanted to pursue something to do with media since he was 6 years old. It was when Jay went to college and was taught basic editing that he discovered a real passion for editing and knew that he wanted to make a career out of it.

Before becoming a member of the National Youth Film Academy Jay spent some time volunteering overseas in Ghana where he did some filming and editing at a variety of charity events. Jay has also done some various work experiences with industry professionals whilst studying his Media Diploma.

Since completing the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course Jay has been involved in a number of different projects, one of them being his own dramatised Documentary about his own experience of living with a rare genetic eye condition.

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James Russell-Morley

Actor


James is an actor based just North of London. He grew up in Norfolk and lived there with his family until moving to Yorkshire to study. James graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in BA Hons Performance for Stage and Screen with first class honours in 2014 and won an award for most outstanding final year student.

Following this James went on to train with the National Youth Theatre on their elite Epic Stages course in 2015. As part of the programme James worked with writer James Fritz and in 2016 they collaborated again when James helped develop and appeared in Fritz’s play ‘The Fall’ which was published and released during the run of the show.

James has been cast in classic plays such as ‘Lord of the Flies’ with Lazarus Theatre Company at the Greenwich Theatre. James has also played Paris in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Stockwell Playhouse, Sebastian in an actor-musician adaptation of ‘Twelfth Night’ and performed in ‘Gone’ at the Camden Fringe Festival. In September 2018 James made his West End debut in ‘Function’.

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Jamie Carter

Actor


Jamie’s creativity was first ignited in the rural community of a town in Wiltshire. Jamie’s passion for acting stems from the feeling of being able to capture an audience by telling stories, empathising with characters and recreating new moments. His first acting experience was in a youth drama club at 13 and throughout school & college Jamie studied choreography, contemporary and classical theatre, voice and singing which he still uses within his work today.

Following school Jamie went on to complete the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course and train at New York Film Academy. These experiences propelled jamie’s love for film and he has since written and acted in short film. Most recently Jamie has toured as Ratty in the UK tour of Wind In The Willows.

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Jason Morley

Actor


Jason, originally from Worthing, West Sussex, discovered his love for acting whilst living in Nova Scotia, Canada when he was 16. It was here where Jason signed with his first agent a took a number of screen acting classes. Through this agency Jason was given a supporting role on short film, ‘V.E. DAY Riots’ and the part of a ‘computer nerd’ on ACTRA feature film, ‘Halloween Party’ which recently premiered at FIN; the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, NS. Jason is a member of ACTRA & Equity.

Jason moved back to the UK in 2016 and is currently in his 2nd year of training at ALRA (Academy of Live & Recorded Arts). He completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course in 2018 and iis currently working with fellow National Youth Film Academy Members to create short films.

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Joseph Archer

Producer and Director


Joseph is a director and producer of drama and comedy films. 

As a science student at The University of Nottingham he produced his first film, a ninety-minute feature called House Party Raiders (2017). The drama saw moderate success with it being shown in local cinemas. 

Joseph left his science degree after being offered a job as a journalist at News UK (The Sun and The Times newspapers), then in 2018 he went on to work for The Daily Telegraph. 

During this time he kept working on his films, and secured funding from the NYFA to shoot his second film: Jobit (2018).   

This led to creating two more films #Goals (2019) and Newborn (2019) and securing more funding from the NYFA to make On In 15 (2019) and Solvi (2019), currently in post-production. 

Joseph also partnered with London-based charity Thrive LDN to create his seventh film, Workshop (2019), which explored four men dealing with different mental health conditions.

Currently, Joseph is overseeing post-production and promotion of his most recent films and planning ahead for next year with a number of projects in development.  

Joseph is also the co-founder of Window Zebra Productions.

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John Powell

Director


John started making films with a Panasonic MiniDV camera that his Dad bought him when he was 12 and hasn’t stopped filming since. John’s passion in film making comes from the ability to make people laugh, cry and hide in terror, all from something he created.

In 2012 John completed his first short film, the ‘Colouring Box’, which was placed second in a nationwide BBC competition. John went on to create a number of short films and music videos before completing the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course in 2016. John in currently studying for a masters degree at the London Film School, whilst continuing to work on films outside school.

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Jordan Gifford

Writer


Jordan has always had a love for film and TV and first began writing and creating to films when he 4 years old. After completing a psychology degree at University Jordan decided his real passion was with filmmaking.

Since then Jordan has written and created short films, beginning with a 22 minute short film called ‘Somewhere between the liquid fields’. Jordan recently worked on set of Guy Richie’s new film, ‘Toff Guys’. These experiences taught him the process of creating a film, how to handle the different pressures associated with this and he has never looked back.

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Kai Hara

Editor


Kai began work in the film industry in August 2016 when he began his apprenticeship with GetFilm, a leading video production company in the North East, and has since edited corporate videos for the likes of Hilton, NHS and Lloyds Banking Group. Kai was quickly promoted to Production Manager and with a keen eye for creating exciting films, colour correction and audio he has received high praise from leading UK companies and plaudits from top industry professionals.

Throughout his role at GetFilm Kai’s love of creating films grew stronger and he knew he wanted to put his editing skills to something more creative. Kai completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course in 2018, giving him the opportunity to use his previous knowledge of editing, to create a professional, enthralling and fun to watch film.

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Lara Cooper-Chadwick

Actor


Lara first got into acting in her hometown of Portsmouth where she worked on numerous award winning short films with Director Riyadh Haque, including ‘4×4’, ‘The Proposition’ and ‘Last Night’. Since then lara has acted in two music videos, ‘Wildfire’ by MUTO and ‘Worry About Me’ by Joel Baker, and most recently played the role of Coco in ‘Function’ with The National Youth Theatre.

Following completion of the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course, Lara met fellow Emerging Brit Tom Nejad and together they wrote a short film called ‘Belongings’ which went on to win the first National Youth Film Academy 1k Challenge. As a result of winning, Lara and Tom, together with producer John Powell, have the funding to turn their script into a reality and create their short film.

Lara is currently studying on the BA (Hons) Acting course at Rose Bruford College alongside her training is writing her first full-length play which will lead to a workshop performance later in the year.

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Lewis Cox

Actor


Lewis is a skilled actor who has studied with companies such as The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland which has allowed Lewis to build on his technical acting abilities. Lewis has acted on stage in venues such as the Lyceum in Edinburgh and has had parts in a few short films, including ‘Optimal’ where he portrayed the leering and ego driven boss ‘Nigel.

Lewis’s passion for acting stems from a love of exploring the psyche of characters he portrays and following completion of the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course in 2018 he is striving for opportunities and roles in order to gain more experience and exposure in the industry.

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Lissi Simpson-Watt

Producer


Lissi originally trained as an all-round designer, and taught herself both filming and editing to showcase design projects. While working as a graphic designer Lissi gained her first insight into the production of an advert which opened her eyes to the possibilities being a Producer creates. As a result Lissi successfully applied to take part in the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course and produced her first short film, ‘Tea and Sympathy’.

Since this experience Lissi hasn’t looked back, she is currently working on two more short films and has been active in South London filmmaker’s community. Being an emerging Brit is a huge achievement for Lissi and given the recent #MeToo movement she is extremely proud to be a young, biracial, female producer, creating new opportunities for herself and the wider filmmaking community.

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Lois-Amber Toole

Actor


Born and bred in the north of England, Lois-Amber began performing at SA Performing Arts Centre where she developed a love for acting at a young age. Lois-Amber landed her first supporting role in Robin Sheppard’s feature film, ‘Apples’, at the age of sixteen, followed by underground cult-indie flick ‘Drunken Butterflies’. Lois’s first television appearance was DC Kenny Lockhart’s daughter on ITV British drama series, “Vera”.

In 2013 Lois-Amber studied with the National Youth Theatre and National Youth Film Academy before moving to New York to pursue full-time training at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Lois-Amber graduated in May 2015 and went on to landing a role in feature film, ‘Bianca’.

Lois-Amber won the Always #LikeAGirl UN Women Leadership Experience, for the discussion surrounding her one-woman show, Skeleton Key which she wrote and performed with Walk a Mile Productions in Los Angeles. The show is currently being adapted to a screenplay. Since moving back to London, Lois-Amber has had two leading roles in Garry Sykes’ ‘Low Rise’ and ‘Roots’, the latter screened at the Newcastle International Film Festival.
Most recently, Lois-Amber booked a commercial with global publishing house Macmillan Publishers and wrapped her supporting role as a gang leader in ‘Killers Anonymous’, starring Gary Oldman and Jessica Alba set for theatrical release in 2019. She  has just booked a lead part as Autumn in ‘If You Go’, a short film by Florence Winter Hill

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Luke Aquilina

Actor


Luke has always loved performing and currently works intermittently as a circus and parkour performer. Luke’s first acting role was the lead in a small modern day gangster film in Edinburgh, he was originally supposed to be assisting with some stunt work, however, ended up being given a script to read and got the role of the lead on the spot. Since then Luke found a passion he never knew he had. He has gone on to play role after role, always excited and ready for the next.

Luke successfully applied for the National Youth Film Academy and completed the Set Ready Course in 2018. As a result Luke has gained knowledge and developed skills he has been able to apply to his career.

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Mark Jarvis

Actor


Alongside being a member of the National Youth Film Academy Mark has trained at the BAFTA Award Winning Television Workshop and National Youth Theatre and is currently a student at drama school, ALRA.
Through the National Youth Film Academy Mark landed a lead role in OMNI Productions upcoming film ‘Last Date’ alongside fellow Emerging Brit, Ellie Ekers.

Mark’s professional on-screen credits include: Louis Zamperini in ‘The Real Story Of Unbroken’ (ITV/World Media Rights), Fake Best Man in ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’ (E4), Referee in ‘Jamie Johnson’ (CBBC) and Recruit Soldier in ’71 (Protagonist Pictures/Warp Films). Mark also played Nathan Smith in multi-award winning short film ‘Stereotype’ (McGibney Productions).

Alongside acting Mark has been pursuing presenting and won Best Male Presenter 2018 across the U.K. for community radio. Throughout presenting Mark has hosted Race For Life across the Midlands, landed roles as an on-screen Presenter for videoblogg and Radio Presenter for Erewash Sound and Wandsworth Radio. Interviews include: Tom Grennan, Douglas Booth, Nina Nesbitt and the Director Of Photography for James Bond, Phil Meheux amongst many others.

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Matthew Sharpe

Actor


Matthew has been interested in acting since a very young age and performed throughout his school years. When he was 16 Matthew was chosen from his performing arts class to be part of National Theatre Connections. As a result, Matthew, got to perform in the National Theatre in London.

Since the age of 16 Matthew has played extras and worked on various TV shows and movies including BBC comedy shows, Chinese films, and feature films. Most recently Matthew landed a role, through the National Youth Film Academy, in feature film ‘Normal People’ starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.

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Mina Cuffwright

Actor


Mina’s background stems from dance and theatre and growing up she took advantage of all opportunities that came her way, from taking part in the touring production of Gangsta Granny, to performing at open air venues around Cornwall and debuting new writing at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Mina has completed screen acting courses with National Youth Theatre and Talent INC UK and completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course in 2018. As a result of these course Mina has been involved in a lot of student projects and short films. She has also gained experience as an extra on the Netflix show, ‘Sex Education’ and in a music video  which was made for and premiered at a mental health awareness event. Mina is currently in her first year of BA acting at Drama Studio London.

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Olivia Pinkney

Actor


Olivia has always thoroughly enjoyed acting and performing from a young age. She went to a very creative school and has always performed plays and music throughout her education. Olivia went on to study literature at the University of Kent, which has developed her ability to interrogate text and understand the way characters use language and what that can reveal. The majority of Olivia’s experience so far has been within theatre and over the last few years she have gained more knowledge and experience within film through working on short films at university and working as an extra.

In Summer 2018 Olivia starred as ‘Nina’ in a modernised production of ‘The Seagull’ with theatre company, The Barebones Project, in East Sussex. Olivia completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course in 2018.

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Nicholas Hulbert

Director


Nicholas first experience as a Director was Directing amateur theatre at school and university – most prominently, the Cambridge University European Theatre Group’s five-week touring 2014-2015 production of ‘Macbeth’, which visited theatres in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK.

Nicholas spent the following year working on showreel material for applications for master’s programmes at film schools in the USA. Nicholas was awarded places at the prestigious University of Southern California (alma mater of Kevin Feige and George Lucas) and a scholarship to attend the California Institute of the Arts (of John Lasseter and Pixar fame), however, due to a pre-existing health condition, made the decision to stay in the UK at this stage of his career. Instead, Nicholas spun out the organisation he had made to produce showreel material, into ‘Raunkiaer Films’, a small short film producing organisation.Since this move the company have produced two short films,’The Spy by the Sea’ and ‘A Night in the Winter of the Revolution’, which have both had successful short film festival runs.

Nicholas has gone on to discover that the area of filmmaking he is most passionate about is directing and he is currently developing a Viking-era set short film with fellow National Youth Film Academy members.

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Orlando O'Mahoney Morris

Director of Photography


Orlando is an emerging Director of Photography based in London, currently focusing on music promos, short film and branded content. His rise to the DOP role over the past half decade through clapper loading and focus pulling bestows him with a comprehensive technical knowledge, which he combines with an eye for aesthetics and a tireless work ethic, pleasing both the directors and clients he works with.

Orlando’s time at the University of Leeds studying a Cinema & Photography BA has provided him with a strong theoretical and historical background in film, enabling him to contextualise his own work. Equally confident on indie feature and tv commercial sets as he is on low budget arthouse projects, he is a versatile and valued member of the camera department, and available for hire now.

Olivia has always thoroughly enjoyed acting and performing from a young age. She went to a very creative school and has always performed plays and music throughout her education. Olivia went on to study literature at the University of Kent, which has developed her ability to interrogate text and understand the way characters use language and what that can reveal. The majority of Olivia’s experience so far has been within theatre and over the last few years she have gained more knowledge and experience within film through working on short films at university and working as an extra.

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Rebecca Blasdale-Smith

Actor


Rebecca is a 20 year old Drama student at the University of East Anglia. Fairly new to the acting scene, she has taken the lead in numerous stage productions including King Lear, Guys and Dolls and the Caucasian Chalk Circle. Rebecca has gained a lot of experience in movement direction and costume design, recently creating costumes for a cast of 30.

At university Rebecca found a love for creating short films, and was fortunate to learn all aspects of filmmaking including acting. Rebecca completed the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready course in 2018 and has been developing her career as a film actress ever since. Rebecca’s next project will explore femininity and identity in today’s society.

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Reece Taylor-Long

Editor


Reece discovered his love for editing and creating video content whilst making YouTube videos in 2015. Reece is currently in his third and final year of a Media Production degree at the University of Lincoln. As part of this degree, Reece has been able to work on projects in multiple areas of media, leading to his current specialisation in film production. Through his education Reece wrote and directed a short fiction film called ‘Trauma’ and he has been commissioned by the City of Lincoln Council to create a sequel to the short documentary he made in the second year of his degree, ‘The Bank’.

Alongside pursuing his career in the film industry, Reece is working as a freelancer in the corporate video world and has had the pleasure of working with some brilliant clients. He is currently in the process of creating a film production company alongside some of the filmmakers he has been able to collaborate with on recent projects.

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Saahir Ghani

Actor


Acting is something Saahir has been fascinated with since childhood. In the beginning he struggled to decide whether he would go for a career in acting, it was not common career choice in his culture and he has not seen many South Asians in Film or TV. When Saahir did make the decision to pursue acting he joining a local stage theatre school; Stageworks.

Saahir when on to successfully apply to take part in the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready Course and as a result became a member of the organisation. Through the National Youth Film Academy Saahir has attended auditions for different casting directors including Nina Gold.

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Sarah Agha

Actor


Sarah graduated from Trinity College Dublin in Theology and Middle Eastern Studies and developed her acting training by completing summer intensive courses with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, New York Film Academy, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Youth Theatre and the National Youth Film Academy.

While studying in Dublin, Sarah was awarded ‘Most Promising Actor’ by Larry Lamb at the Cinemagic Film and Television Awards and is currently on the BAFTA Crew scheme, designed to connect emerging talent to BAFTA-winners and nominees.

After graduating, Sarah made her professional theatre debut as the lead in ‘Operation Magic Carpet’ at The Polka Theatre and was cast as Shatha Khalil in ‘Homeland’, Series 5. More recently Sarah performed in Quilliam International’s run of ‘Deadly Dialogues’ (Edinburgh and New York) and as Lady Kay/Toto in the double bill of King Arthur/Wizard of Oz at the Scoop Amphitheatre, London Sarah can currently be seen as Ilya, in Series 3 of AMC’s ‘Into The Badlands’.

When not chasing theatre/screen opportunities Sarah regularly works as a voiceover artist and is proud to be involved with Equity. Sarah also runs her own editing company, Killer Reels.

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Sarah Lott

Actor


Sarah is a British and Australian stage and screen actress. She trained for 3 years at East 15 acting school, and since graduated having played lead and supporting roles in feature films ‘Love is not enough’ and ‘Three dots and a dash’. Sarah has also had parts in a number of short films including ‘Last Night’ and ‘Tribe’.

Sarah has also had a number of theatre roles including a three month tour with theatre exchange and roles with London fringe theatre and in productions for theatre festivals.

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Sonera Angel

Actor


Sonera has travelled all over the world, trying a few different careers along the way, however, nothing stuck until she started acting. In 2017, Sonera made the decision to pursue acting as her full-time career and applied for the National Youth Film Academy. She completed the Academy’s Set Ready course in 2018 and since then has worked in independent film, striving to develop her skills.

Sonera has since starred in several feature and short films including ‘Zara and Haider’, ‘The Haunting of Borley Rectory’, and ‘Red Velvet Revolution’.

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Shayan Ali

Assistant Director


Film has always been a part of Shayan’s family, his Grandfather was a notable film producer back in the golden age of Pakistani cinema and this passion for the craft was passed onto Shayan.

Shayan has worked on music videos and short films in the past but it wasn’t until he completed the National Youth Film Academy Set ready Course that Shay saw a career in the film industry as a realistic possibility for himself. Following completion of the course Shayan became a member of the National Youth Film Academy and recently gained the opportunity to work on set of the latest ‘Men in Black’ film and  Guy Ritchie’s ‘Toff Guys’.

Shayan is looking forward to taking the skills he has gained, alongside his Pakistani cultural influences, to make some amazing films and collaborate with fellow Emerging Brits.

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Tanya Bittar Massally

Actor


Tanya has always been mesmerised by film and it’s aesthetic, she translated this passion into an interest for cinematography and a love for acting. Since studying Drama at school Tanya has gone on to engage in screen acting classes at Pinewood Studios and work alongside the likes of the BFI and the London Film Academy.

Tanya successfully applied for the National Youth Film Academy and went on to complete the Set Ready Course, creating a short film with fellow members.

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Thomas Nejad

Producer


Thomas is currently a Production Co-ordinator for one of the largest independent production companies in the UK, Spectrecom Films. In the past Thomas has worked on a global television show ‘IOT: Powering the Digital Economy’ for CNBC. He organised numerous UK and international shoots for this show, including filming in Europe, America, Australia and Singapore.

Previous to this, Thomas was employed as a Production Assistant and Camera assistant for Spectrecom Films and during this six/seven month period he worked on projects for a large number of high end clients, including Cos, Barclay’s, Qatar Airways, Macmillan Cancer Research, Dog’s Trust and BBC Bitesize.

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Tom Hendry

Actor


Tom grew up in Ipswich in North Suffolk. Though he has always been very energetic and creative he was not a stage child. With no one in his family in the film industry, Tom only started acting seriously at around 16 after a teacher saw him in a drama class and suggested he used it as a vent for his extra energy and emotion. Since then Tom has dived head first into the craft and has enjoyed working on all manner of projects. Tom became a member of the National Youth Film Academy after hearing from a friend that they were holding auditions and hasn’t looked back since. Through the Academy Tom has secured a number of high-class auditions and a network of talented filmmakers and actors.

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Zak Russell-Jones

Actor


Zak has always had a creative streak from being a young child and at the age of 12 became involved with numerous different theatre companies (Stars Drama Academy, Chads Theatre, Stage Productions) whilst undertaking LAMDA up to Bronze level. Zak has parts in productions such as Bugsy Malone, Romeo & Juliet, Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Chrysalids.. In early 2014, Zak landed a role in Channel 5’s Fred & Rosemary West as John West.

In 2014 Zak successfully auditioned for the National Youth Film Academy’s Set Ready Course and upon completing the Course was offered the opportunity to move up to Newcastle Upon Tyne to work for the National Youth Film Academy.

Since completing the course Zak has been signed by agent Shane Collins and has played roles in internet series ‘Corpse’, TV Series Wolfblood and feature film,  ‘Unhinged’, playing the part of Tim. Zak has recently made the transition into modelling, signing with London based agent Shine Model Management to broaden his horizon.

Join the National Youth Film Academy

Aged 16-25? Want to get into film?

We’re on the search for exceptionally gifted young filmmakers and actors. Apply to become a member of the National Youth Film Academy.

  • Access to inspirational role models
  • Build soft skills, improve your ‘set readiness’
  • Collaborate and produce films
  • Unique access to industry networking events
  • Career and placement opportunities
  • Representation (Agency)