CLASS OF 2020
Introducing our class of 2020
Emerging Brits is a programme created to showcase the best talent the UK Film Industry has to offer.
Nb. Due to Covid 19 we have been unable to run our last Emerging showcase events.
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EMERGING BRITS CLASS OF 2020
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 the internet series ‘Corpse’, TV Series Wolfblood, and feature film, ‘Unhinged’, playing the part of Tim. Zak has recently made the transition into modeling, signing with London based agent Shine Model Management to broaden his horizon.
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.
Tanya Bittar Massally - Actor
Tanya has always been mesmerised by film and it’s aesthetic, she translated this passion into an interest in 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.
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 the completion of the course, Shayan became a member of the National Youth Film Academy and recently gained the opportunity to work on the 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.
Sonera Angel - Actor
Sonera has traveled 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 features and short films including ‘Zara and Haider’, ‘The Haunting of Borley Rectory’, and ‘Red Velvet Revolution’.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
Orlando O'Mahoney Morris - Director of Photography
Orlando is an emerging Director of Photography based in London, currently focusing on music promos, short films, 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 has gained more knowledge and experience within film through working on short films at university and working as an extra.
Nicholas Hulbert - Director
Nicholas's 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 programs 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 has 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.
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 has 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 the theatre company, The Barebones Project, in East Sussex. Olivia completed the National Youth Film Academy Set Ready course in 2018.
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 courses, 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 that 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.
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 the feature film ‘Normal People’ starring Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville.
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 videoblog 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.
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.
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 land a role in the 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
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 the 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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.
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 is currently studying for a master's degree at the London Film School, whilst continuing to work on films outside school.
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.
Jamie Joe 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.
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 with 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’.
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 for 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.
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 the feature film, “The Department of Applied Chemistry”.