BAFTA BREAKTHROUGH Recipients: Composers Stephanie Economou And Orlando Perez Rosso (Interview)

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Interview by Paul Salfen

BAFTA has unveiled the newest UK and US Breakthrough cohort. The 36 participants were selected by a cross-industry global jury composed of leading industry professionals, including Afua Hirsch, Niamh Algar and Tim Renkow alongside Breakthrough Jury Chairs Ade Rawcliffe, Maria Ishak and Karl Stewart. Netflix supports BAFTA Breakthrough in the UK, US and India, providing integral support in the global expansion.

Orlando may be the only participant of this program whose Breakthrough project is over 100 years old. His original score for the newly restored Universal silent film ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ (Stuart Paton, 1916), was a feat of brilliance that blew our selection Jury away.

Orlando hails from the small Colombian town of Ocaña, where he developed his love for music, learning the saxophone at 10 years old. Before attending UCLA to study Film Scoring he studied Composing and Sound Engineering in Bogota.

His first professional project as a sound editor was for Miguel Salazar’s ‘Martillo’. Since then, Orlando has worked on over 40 shorts, documentaries, television episodes and feature films that recently has included the main theme for ‘Sticks and Stones’ on NBCSN and HBO’s documentary series ‘Allen v. Farrow’ for which he composed some additional music. He is currently working on a ten episode TV series for Sony Pictures Television.

Being selected for Breakthrough, Orlando is excited to connect with other creatives in the BAFTA community – especially his fellow Breakthroughs. He is looking forward to the mentorship aspect of Breakthrough and is eager to work with other filmmakers and composers that may propel his career forward.

Composer and violinist Stephanie Economou has loved music for as long as she can remember, but film was also a huge influence growing up, and she became interested in how music can help shape stories. This became her focus in college where she began scoring movies for her filmmaker friends. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles to dive into the industry. Stephanie began working with composer Harry Gregson-Williams where she provided additional scoring to the live action ‘Mulan’, ‘The Meg’, and other projects.

Stephanie’s Breakthrough is her score for the series ‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ on Netflix. The series is based on the comic book series by Mark Miller. Stephanie scored, played strings and provided vocals for each episode of season one.

Stephanie wants to continue writing music for video games, television series, and film. As a BAFTA Breakthrough she looks forward to meeting all the Breakthrough talents and being in an environment of creatives and storytellers that helps her to grow as an artist.

BAFTA and Netflix share a joint vision to celebrate and provide opportunities for emerging talent across the world, bringing together international communities across global networks, in order to develop and support stories and voices from different cultures. BAFTA will work with local industry practitioners and cultural bodies in each territory to provide bespoke support within each region’s unique landscape. The 2021 cohort represents an incredibly talented and diverse group of future stars across film, television and games.

36 ‘must-watch’ creatives from film, games and television to receive professional development and global networking opportunities from BAFTA, with the support of Netflix

US (12): 

  • Anna Franqueso-Solano, Cinematographer – The Farewell 
  • Bao Nguyen, Director, Documentary – Be Water 
  • Cheyenne Ford, Production Designer – Shiva Baby 
  • Dominique Nieves – Writer/Director – Our Lady Lupe 
  • Ember Lab: Joshua Grier. Mike Grier, Hunter Schmidt, Games – Kena: Bridge of Spirits Hikari, Writer/Director – 37 Seconds 
  • Orlando Perez Rosso, Composer – Allen V, Farrow 
  • Sarah Lampert, Writer – Ginny & Georgia 
  • Siqi Song, Animator – All In A Day’s Work 
  • Stephanie Economou, Composer – Jupiter’s Legacy 

UK (24): 

  • Aaron Reid, Cinematographer – Stephen 
  • Aisha Bywaters, Casting Director – We Are Lady Parts 
  • Alex Kanaris-Sotiriou, Creative Director/Lead Developer – Röki 
  • Ana Naomi De Sousa, Director – Naseem, Fight with Grace
  • Ashley Francis-Roy, Director – Damilola: The Boy Next Door 
  • Chad Orororo, Sound Editor/Mixer – Pele 
  • David Proud, Director/Writer – Coronation Street 
  • Elle Osili-Wood, Presenter – Special Characters
  • Ellora Torchia, Performer – In the Earth 
  • Gemma Hurley, Writer – Host 
  • George Robinson, Performer – Sex Education 
  • Georgi Banks-Davies, Director – I Hate Suzie 
  • Heather Basten, Casting Director – The Origin 
  • Helen Jones, Producer – Censor 
  • Joanna Haslam, Design Director – Family Feud 
  • Jo Jackson, Sound Editor/Mixer – Radioactive 
  • Kirsty Gillmore, Production Voice Director – Destruction AllStars 
  • Laure De Mey, Programmer – Assemble With Care DLC 
  • Lydia West, Performer – It’s A Sin 
  • Lyttanya Shannon, Director/Producer- Subnormal: A British Scandal 
  • Mdhamiri Á Nkemi, Editor – Life in a Day 
  • PC Williams, Costume Designer – We Are Lady Parts 
  • Prano Bailey-Bond, Director/Writer – Censor 
  • Rajita Shah, Producer – Love Sarah 

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA said: “Congratulations to each and every one of our Breakthrough recipients, both in the US and UK. These 36 individuals, as chosen by our industry juries, have demonstrated extraordinary creativity in film, games, and television. As part of this initiative, I am absolutely delighted that they will benefit from support at a critical point in their careers, peer-to-peer networking opportunities and industry meetings. As a global arts charity, it was a key, and exciting, move for BAFTA in 2020 to bring US talent into the Breakthrough initiative. With the help of Netflix, we are delighted to be a part of these talented individuals’ next steps.” 

Matthew Wiseman, Executive Director and Head of BAFTA North America said: “We are especially proud of our US participants and are happy to welcome them to our BAFTA community here in America, as well as providing opportunities to connect them with Breakthrough participants in the UK and India. Throughout the program, we will endeavour to help participants identify and overcome barriers to progression as well as providing them with opportunities to network and be

coached by some of the best in the business. There is no doubt that this group consists of innovators eager to build on their current success.” 

Tendo Nagenda, Vice President, Netflix Film said: “At Netflix we recognize the importance of supporting the most innovative, and creative minds of the future and this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough cohort is exceptional. Many Congratulations to the 36 recipients – we are incredibly proud to play a part in the next phase of your career.” 

BAFTA Breakthrough, launched globally in May 2020, is BAFTA’s flagship new talent initiative that identifies and supports the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television. The initiative, previously known as Breakthrough Brits, has been running in the UK since 2013 and in the US and India since the global expansion last year. As the main supporting partner for the third year on BAFTA Breakthrough, Netflix continues to provide integral support in the global expansion. 

Since its launch in 2013, BAFTA Breakthrough has championed over 160 talented newcomers, including performers Bukky Bakray, Paapa Essiedu, Letitia Wright, Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Abubakar Salim and Lauren Ridloff, games creatives Chella Ramanan, Segun Akinola, Gemma Langford, and directors Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Rose Glass, Stella Corradi and Destiny Ekaragha, amongst many others. Previous Breakthrough alumni have gone on to flourish within their respective disciplines, many becoming BAFTA winners and nominees. 

Within the programme recipients will also receive: 

One-to-one industry meetings and group roundtable sessions 

Global networking opportunities with BAFTA membership, industry and peer to peer Breakthrough cohorts 

Access to Career Coaching sessions and support with professional skills development Access to BAFTA’s virtual programme of events and screenings for 12 months 

PR support and showcasing as part of Breakthrough 

Supporters of the initiative in recent years who have participated in one-to-one meetings to offer development and career advice to participants include actors Olivia Colman, Tilda Swinton, Zawe Ashton, Daniel Kaluuya, Jude Law, actor-producer Brad Pitt, directors Tom Harper, Barry Jenkins and Asif Kapadia, game designers and developers Brenda Romero, Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, actor-writers Sharon Horgan, Amy Schumer, producer and composer Nile Rodgers and writer-director Amma Asante. 

For more information about BAFTA Breakthrough, supported by Netflix, visit: 

www.bafta.org/supporting-talent/breakthrough

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