Screen’s UK Stars of Tomorrow issue is always a major event in our year. It’s the moment when we receive a fresh injection of confidence in the future of the industry because of the depth and breadth of talent coming out of the UK film business.
Our researcher Patricia Dobson, who oversees the work on the annual report, has an enviable record in spotting young talent in the film industry; the best and the brightest who will make a major impact on the industry in the coming years.
“What is striking about the achievements of the young talents identified in this issue, and in previous years, is the truly international approach to their careers and the business”
In recent years the Stars of Tomorrow alumni have included actors such as Rupert Friend, Emily Blunt, Andrea Riseborough, Robert Pattinson, Jaime Winstone and Gemma Arterton. Among last year’s featured names were actor Carey Mulligan, who starred in An Education at Sundance, and Dev Patel, who scored international recognition in Slumdog Millionaire.
On the other side of the camera, Andrea Arnold won the best short film Oscar for Wasp after we spotted her as a talent to watch in 2004, and went on to take the Cannes jury prize for her feature debut, Red Road.
Other emerging directors who have appeared include Gabriel Range (Death Of A President), Chris Waitt (A Complete History Of My Sexual Failures), Tom Harper (now directing The Scouting Book For Boys) and Jamie Jay Johnson (Sounds Like Teen Spirit) who writes this week about his experience as a Star of Tomorrow.
What is striking about the achievements of the young talents identified in this issue, and in previous years, is the truly international approach to their careers and the business.
Dev Patel is probably the most striking example. He has gone from being featured in Screen’s pages and being best known for his role in Channel 4’s Skins to international recognition in less than a year. He is now working with M Night Shyamalan on The Last Airbender. Also featured in last year’s line-up was Tom Hiddleston, now shooting a lead role in Marvel/Paramount’s Thor.
The speed at which these young faces can rise to international stardom is phenomenal, but it’s clear they all share some common attributes - a passion for their work, a hunger to do more, and a great commitment to their craft.
All of the young talents featured in this issue richly deserve the success they’ve enjoyed so far and we expect to see much more of them in the future.
The Bevan challenge
Tim Bevan’s appointment as chairman of the UK Film Council was pretty much known to everyone before it was announced. However, the fact it was a poorly kept secret should not detract from the fact that getting a high-profile figure - with fantastic access to the top levels of the industry - should be a major boost for British film. But Bevan will have some tough issues to address in his role.
There is a strong sense among many British film-makers that the UK Film Council has become too big and bureaucratic, and that questions need to be asked about how it functions, how its money is spent and whether it’s really working as efficiently as it could. The pressure of around $36m (£22m) in budget cuts over the next five years will bring those questions into sharp focus.
Bevan will have two key challenges: to promote and support a strong British film industry and to make sure the UKFC is organised in the right way to deliver that.