Feature-length documentaries For Sama and Maiden are among the 10 non-scripted and scripted feature films shortlisted by BAFTA for the category of outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.
Established to encourage British filmmaking, the award recognizes individuals in selected disciplines whose first film distinguishes them as “a talent with a distinct vision and potential.” It was previously presented as the Carl Foreman Award for special achievement by a British writer, director or producer in their first feature film.
Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, For Sama (ITN Productions) chronicles the female experience of war by documenting the five-year journey of co-director al-Kateab as she navigates through love, marriage and motherhood during the revolution in Aleppo, Syria. The 95-minute film recently won the Audience Award at the 2019 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and was named the best British Independent Film at the 22nd British Independent Film Awards earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Maiden (pictured) from director Alex Holmes documents the story of 24-year-old Tracy Edwards who became the skipper of the first all-women sailing crew in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989 and became the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy. The 93-minute nautical-themed film recently took home the Best Sports Documentary award at the fourth annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.
Also nominated is Steve Sullivan’s Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story, which held its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. The 105-minute documentary provides an intimate look at Chris Sievey, the man who created the legendary Manchester papier-mâché headed comedian Frank Sidebottom.
“New talent is the lifeblood of the British film industry. This shortlist of ten films shines a light on a diverse group of talented debut British filmmakers who demonstrate that the future of British film is in good hands,” said Marc Samuelson, chair of BAFTA’s film committee, in a statement.
The shortlist for BAFTA jury categories British short film and British short animation will be announced on Tuesday (Dec. 10).
Nominations for all categories will be announced on Jan. 7, 2020, with the EE Rising Star nominations unveiled on Jan. 6.
The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Feb. 2, 2020, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with host Graham Norton.
For the full list of nominees, click here.