NFTS Producing MA alumna, Fodhla Cronin-O’Reilly, Directing Fiction MA alumnus, Michael Pearce and Cinematography MA alumna, Vanessa Whyte have all been named as 2018 Breakthrough Brits by BAFTA. Breakthrough Brits showcases and supports the next generation of creative talent in film, games and television in the UK. Each year, up to 20 talented newcomers are selected by a stellar industry jury to take part in a year-long mentoring and guidance programme

Fodhla Cronin-O’Reilly’s NFTS graduation film, Head Over Heels was nominated for an Oscar and won the Cartoon D’Or and an RTS award in 2013. She went on to produce BAFTA nominated Lady Macbeth on a micro budget, despite being told a period film couldn’t be made for such a small amount, and followed it with My Generation, a documentary film about the 1960s starring Sir Michael Caine. Fodhla was also nominated for the Outstanding Debut by a British Director, Writer or Producer BAFTA in 2018 for her work on Lady Macbeth.

Michael Pearce graduated from the NFTS in 2008 after which his short film, Keeping Up With The Joneses was nominated for a BAFTA in 2014. Michael’s childhood home of Jersey inspired his first feature, Beast for which he has been nominated for three BIFA awards (Best Director, Best British Independent Film, Best Screenplay). Growing up in the 1980s, he had nightmares about the Beast of Jersey, a serial rapist who terrorised the island during the ‘60s; Beast explores the idea of horrific crimes set against a fairytale backdrop and was shot on the island.

Vanessa Whyte graduated from the NFTS in 2009. She became interested in cinematography after her dad gave her a camera as a child, and Vanessa became hooked on photography. Using a cupboard in the family home as her darkroom, she developed her skills before getting her first job as a camera trainee on TV show NCS: Manhunt with a young Michael Fassbender. Vanessa gained experience on commercials and music videos, and worked as the second unit DoP on TV shows including Broadchurch and Strangers. She then had the opportunity to help create BAFTA-winning BBC drama Murdered for Being Different.