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Northern Irish director Stephen Fingleton and actor Martin McCann selected as BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2015
12 Nov 2015 : Seán Brosnan
Martin McCann in Stephen Fingleton's 'The Survivalist'
First time feature director Stephen Fingleton and actor Martin McCann were among the 18 selected as BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2015.

Breakthrough Brits is the UK’s leading initiative that identifies, supports and celebrates the most promising newcomers across film, television and games.

This year's 18 talented newcomers were selected by a panel of leading figures in film, television and games including actors Natalie Dormer and James Norton, game writer and narrative designer Rhianna Pratchett, producer Simon Chinn and production designer Eve Stewart.

Earlier this year Stephen Fingleton filmed his first feature ‘The Survivalist’, starring fellow Breakthrough Brit Martin McCann, which had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and also received acclaim at screenings in Belfast and The Galway Film Fleadh.

IFTN interviewed Stephen Fingleton and Martin McCann at the Galway Film Fleadh, those interviews can be read here and here.

‘The Survivalist’ is an independent production, produced by The Fyzz with support from the BFI and Northern Ireland Screen.

Speaking about this recognition, Stephen Fingleton said: “It’s a low budget independent movie and doesn’t have the ‘machine’ behind it. It was made with a tremendously talented cast and crew, and it would be great to bring some extra attention to them too. I’m looking forward to having conversations with people who might be able to help me make the stories I want to tell. When you want to make stories that are at the margins of what is commercially viable, finding the right people to speak to is really important. I’d like to speak to people who are more experienced than me, who are a few curves ahead on the road and have seen those curves that are coming. Taking some of that knowledge and experience and trying to make better decisions earlier myself would be helpful. The thing about filmmaking is you are always making something with your heart, so when things go wrong it costs a piece of you. I’d like to be able to get through that process with as much heart left as possible.”

Actor Martin McCann is not an unfamiliar face in the world of film and television, having previously worked with the likes of Richard Attenborough (‘Closing the Ring’), Steven Spielberg (‘The Pacific’), James Marsh (‘Shadow Dancer’), Morgan Matthews (‘X+Y’) and Yann Demange (’71’). However 2015 was the year McCann took centre stage as he played the main protagonist in Fingleton’s ‘The Survivalist’ and also starred in the BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated short, ‘Boogaloo and Graham’.

“I’m really looking forward to the experiences Breakthrough Brits can give me over the next year”, said McCann. “I want to get better as an actor and to learn from people who have more experience than me. At the end of the year, I’d like to go, ‘If it hadn’t have been for that, I wouldn’t have known all these things that I now know,’ and hopefully that will make me a better actor. Every job I do I always think, ‘I wish I’d known that on my previous gig.’ Every single job you come away with knowing so much more. It is a craft. It’s a learning curve and the more people I meet and the more work I do the better I get at it."

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