The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has today opened applications for BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, in partnership with Burberry. This annual initiative celebrates and supports the UK's future stars of film, television and games.

To mark this year's launch, BAFTA and Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan spoke to previous Breakthrough Brits and other BAFTA-supported new talent at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. During the event Nolan discussed his own breakthrough moments, and gave insights into his creative process.

Applications are open at  until midday on Wednesday 27 May. A panel of film, television and games professionals will select up to 20 Breakthrough Brits for 2015, who will each receive a bespoke programme of career development support, including mentoring, guidance sessions and networking opportunities, as well as non-voting membership of BAFTA for a year. The selected Breakthrough Brits will be revealed at a reception at the Burberry global flagship, 121 Regent Street, later this year.

'Friends Of BAFTA Breakthrough Brits', supporters of the initiative, include director Paul Greengrass, actors Douglas Booth, Blake Harrison, Miranda Hart, Toby Jones, Simon Pegg, and Sheridan Smith, presenters Edith Bowman and Emma Freud, and games industry entrepreneurs Ian Livingstone CBE and Fiona Sperry.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “I am absolutely thrilled by the success of Breakthrough Brits and delighted that, for the third year running, we are partnering with Burberry who share our vision to celebrate emerging British talent. Our ambitions for Breakthrough Brits continue to grow and tonight's inspirational event with BAFTA-nominated director Christopher Nolan is a brilliant way to launch our search for the Breakthrough Brits of 2015. The calibre of the professionals the Breakthrough Brits meet through the development programme, and the generosity of their support, are what makes this initiative really special.”

Since the launch of the initiative in 2013, three Breakthrough Brits have become BAFTA winners: games producer Daniel Gray and game designer Rex Crowle (as part of the development teams for Monument Valley and Tearaway respectively), and writer Dominic Mitchell (In The Flesh). Two other 2014 honourees, writer Chris Lunt and producer Marc Williamson, are nominated in the Breakthrough Talent category at the British Academy Television Craft Awards, which takes place on Sunday 26 April.

Over the last year, BAFTA has arranged for past Breakthrough Brits to meet industry professionals who can help them develop their career.  Recently producer/directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison met director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson on the set of their latest film Steve Jobs. Describing their experience as Breakthrough Brits, Brett and Jamison said: “The word 'BAFTA' instantly changes people's perception of your [professional] pedigree, and also of your future ambitions. That seal of approval has not only allowed us to cement relationships with filmmakers we already knew, but also to forge new connections with people we might otherwise not have been able to meet. To be recognised for having taken that daunting and rewarding first step is one thing, but to be supported as you attempt your subsequent, more ambitious steps is absolutely invaluable.”