BIFA Most Promising Newcomer 2016 Long List

Friday, October 14, 2016

We are excited to announce the Long List for the BIFA Most Promising Newcomer award, which is generously sponsored by The London EDITION.

This award highlights promising new British acting talent, recognising their future potential as well as celebrating their outstanding breakthrough performances.

Actors and actresses taking their first significant role in a British independent feature film this year are eligible.

16 actors from 12 different films have been selected for the Long List out of over 60 entries after the first round of viewing, discussions and voting. Andrew Braidford, founder of The BWH Agency and chair of the BIFA Most Promising Newcomer voter subgroup, comments: ‘Our category was filled with a selection of fierce, eclectic and fascinating performances in a number of genres, which made our job extremely difficult. We feel the list is packed with a diverse and hugely talented group of actors who, having been given the opportunity, all shone within thought-provoking and high-quality British films.’

The five nominees in this category will be announced on Tuesday 1 November and the winner will be announced at the BIFA ceremony on Sunday 4 December.


Ziad Abaza
Salah in K-Shop

After his father is killed in an altercation with drunken thugs, Salah’s world is plunged into darkness. Forced into running the family kebab shop alone, Salah struggles to manage the increasingly rowdy night life and when a fight with an angry customer goes fatally wrong, he finds himself with a dead body on his hands. With no faith in the authorities Salah disposes of the body in the one place he knows best… the kebabs. As the shop’s gullible customers devour the new recipe, Salah develops a taste for the kill and seizes the opportunity to turn vigilante and seek revenge on the abusive drunkards plaguing the streets.

Watch the trailer here

Ako Ali
The Interpreter in Undocument

Undocument bears witness to four journeys of longing and love, immigration and identity, as one cinematic vision. As the film weaves its way north from the Middle East to the UK, the ‘narrative baton’ is passed from one woman and child to another in a human race against economic, social, political and legal forces. Ako’s character, The Interpreter, maintains the required distance from his Arab brothers and sisters in his role as courtroom interpreter. When he witnesses a young boy reaching out to touch his mother – a face on the courtroom monitor – he is confronted by his own complicity in the institutional processes and procedures that determine the outcome of so many complex human stories.

Watch the trailer here

Steve Brandon
Luke in My Feral Heart

Luke, an independent young man with Down’s syndrome, is forced to live in a care home after his elderly mother dies. He struggles to settle there, frustrated at having his wings clipped by its rules, and totally unimpressed by his new housemates. His disappointment with his new home soon turns to wonder when Luke discovers a way out and begins to explore the surrounding countryside. When he is caught sneaking out by Pete, a troubled youth who tends the gardens at the home, the two strike up an unlikely rapport: Pete covers for Luke when he sneaks out and in return Luke helps Pete clear the garden. It’s on one such illicit excursion to the adjoining field that Luke discovers a young injured girl in desperate need of his help…

Watch the trailer here

Lucian Collier
Luke in Spaceship

Spaceship tells the story of Lucidia, a British cyber-goth teenager who fakes her own alien abduction, forcing her father Gabriel to search for her in a surreal world of black holes and unicorns where everyone is looking for a way out. 

Watch the trailer here

Rachael Deering
Fiona in Adult Life Skills

Anna is stuck: she’s approaching 30 and having an early-mid life crisis – one that’s seen her regressing to a teenager, living like a hermit in her mum’s garden and wondering why the suffragettes even bothered. She spends her days making videos using her thumbs as actors – thumbs that bicker about things like whether Yogi Bear is a moral or existential nihilist. But Anna doesn’t show anyone these videos and no one knows what they are for. Fiona is Anna’s hyperactive childhood best-friend. Back in the UK after a year away travelling, she’s come home for a few days to get her sister to do her washing and show off her tan. When she finds Anna living in her shed she embarks on a mission to rescue her from her hermitage – attempting to ‘make Anna laugh again’ by slagging herself off and persuading her on an ill-conceived ‘teenage night out’.  

Watch the trailer here

Annes Elwy
Sara in Yr Ymadawiad (The Passing)

When two young lovers, Iwan and Sara, crash their car into a ravine in the remote mountains of Wales, they are plunged into a lost world. Dragged from the river by a mysterious figure, they are taken to a ramshackle farm, a place untouched by time. As events unfold we learn the explosive truth about the young couple’s past. More unsettling still, we discover the truth about their host Stanley, and the tragedy of the valley he once called home.

Watch the trailer here

Dave Johns
Daniel Blake in I, Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake (59) has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the state. He crosses paths with single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern-day Britain.

Watch the trailer here

Ellie Kendrick
Clover in The Levelling

The Levelling is a British drama set in the beautiful landscapes of Somerset, England. Trainee veterinarian Clover Catto returns home one day to the farm where she grew up after hearing news that her brother Harry has passed away. Finding the family home in ruins following recent floods that devastated the area, Clover is forced to confront her father Aubrey and the dark cloud that hangs over the farm. As time passes, Clover’s discoveries send her on a journey of reckoning – with the land, her family and herself. 

Isabella Laughland
Leanne Dixon in Urban Hymn

Set against the backdrop of the 2011 British summer riots, Urban Hymn is a redemptive coming-of-age story set in South-West London. The film follows wayward teen Jamie (Letitia Wright), whose loyalty to her possessive and volatile best friend Leanne (Isabella Laughland) is tested when an inspiring and unconventional care worker uses singing to help release her from her troubled life.

Watch the trailer here

Ozzy Myers
Clint in Adult Life Skills

Ozzy plays eight-year-old cowboy-obsessive Clint in Adult Life Skills. He has never acted before and was street-cast from a school in Leeds by Des Hamilton and Lara Manwaring (who also first cast Thomas Turgoose in This Is England).

Watch the trailer here

Sennia Nanua
Melanie in The Girl With All the Gifts

The near future: humanity has been all but destroyed by a fungal disease that eradicates free will and turns its victims into flesh eating ‘hungries’. Only a small group of children seem immune to its effects. At an army base in rural England, this group of unique children are being studied, subjected to cruel experiments by scientist Dr. Caldwell.  Despite having been infected with the zombie pathogen that has decimated the world, these children retain normal thoughts and emotions.  And while still being subject to the craving for human flesh that marks the disease, these second-generation ‘hungries’ are able to think and feel, making them a vital resource in the search for a cure. One little girl, Melanie, stands out from the rest.  Melanie is special.  She excels in the classroom, is inquisitive, imaginative and loves her favourite teacher Miss Justineau. When the base falls, Melanie escapes along with Miss Justineau and a group of others.  Against the backdrop of a blighted Britain, Melanie must discover what she is and ultimately decide both her own future and that of the human race. 

Watch the trailer here

Will Rastall
Pete in My Feral Heart

Pete is a troubled youth who tends the gardens at the care home where Luke, a young man with Down’s syndrome, has been sent to live following the death of his mother. The pair strike up an unlikely rapport: Pete covers for Luke when he sneaks out and in return Luke helps Pete clear the garden. It’s on one such illicit excursion to the adjoining field that Luke discovers a young injured girl in desperate need of his help…

Watch the trailer here

Will Sharpe
Zac in The Darkest Universe

Zac is a lonely, highly strung city trader on the edge of a psychological breakdown. He has lost his job, his girlfriend and, most devastatingly, his weird and wayward younger sister Alice, the only family he had left. Alice is now a missing person, having disappeared on a narrow boat trip along with her boyfriend Toby, a kindred drifter and misfit. Zac becomes increasingly frustrated with the futile attempts of the police to find them and decides to take matters into his own inexpert hands. Struggling for information and fast losing hope, Zac reflects on his past and the difficult relationship he had with Alice. Wracked with guilt and regret, his sanity starts to unravel as he fights with memories of her. As he remembers her sweetly burgeoning relationship with the mysterious Toby, however, he begins to wonder if there may in fact be a grander, wilder, much stranger explanation for their disappearance…

Watch the trailer here

David Sillars
Albert in Seat in Shadow

Albert is an eccentric, aging painter doubling as an unconventional, Jung-inspired psychotherapist. When Albert’s friend asks him to counsel his lethargic grandson Ben, whose ongoing boyfriend problems are rapidly fuelling an already deep depression, their subsequent therapy sessions reveal as much about Albert as they do about the troubled young man. Seat in Shadow is a witty, perceptive study of social mores, sexual excess and the bizarre, symbiotic relationship between doctor and patient; teacher and pupil; artist and muse.

Watch the trailer here

Hayley Squires
Katie in I, Daniel Blake

Katie is a 27-year-old woman from South London who has a daughter of ten and a son of seven. A victim of a revenge eviction in London, she lived in a homeless shelter for two years before being offered a council flat in Newcastle – a place where she has no family and has never been before. She meets Daniel Blake at the Jobcentre there and the pair form a bond as they face down poverty and welfare bureaucracy.

Watch the trailer here

Letitia Wright
Jamie Harrison in Urban Hymn

Jamie is encouraged by her friends, especially her best friend Leanne (Isabella Laughland), into waywardness and trouble. However, when unconventional care worker Kate (Shirley Henderson) tries to get Jamie to use singing as a release from her troubled life, she discovers a talent and passion she never knew about – a talent and passion that could offer her a future, but also tear down her closest relationships. 

Watch the trailer here

Latest News

Monday, January 20, 2020


Read more

Monday, January 13, 2020


Read more

Monday, December 2, 2019

Winners 2019

Read more