nullThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will celebrate BAFTA-winning director Amma Asante at the first of this year’s USA-based “Brits to Watch: The Screenings,” which will begin on in April 1, in New York City, when Asante’s second feature, the period drama Belle, will screen, and again on April 3 in Los Angeles ahead of its May 2 US release. 

Fox Searchlight will release the movie in USA theaters.

Belle, the period drama about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race girl, in the 1700s, stars Gugu Mbatha-RawMiranda RichardsonTom Wilkinson, Sarah GadonSam Claflin, and Matthew Goode

The story takes place in the 1780s, and is based on a true story – specifically, the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman raised as an aristocrat in 18th-century England. It follows Belle, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices. As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar’s son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.

Zeba saw and positively reviewed the film last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Read her thoughts HERE.

Belle is Amma Asante’s second feature; her feature debut was a 2004 gritty and compelling South Wales-set racism drama titled A Way Of Life, which she also wrote. And for her work on that film, she was blessed with the BAFTA’s (the british equivalent of the OscarsCarl Foreman Award for best debut by a British filmmaker, as well as being named The Times Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.

That film won’t be screened as part of this series unfortunately.

At each ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ event, a British actor, director, writer or producer who shows great promise presents a sample of recent work to an audience of film industry professionals. BAFTA also arranges a number of follow-up meetings for the individuals to meet with key industry figures in both cities.

Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said, “I am delighted that we are continuing our ‘Brits to Watch’ activity in 2014. Three years ago, with the support of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, we launched our very first ‘Brits to Watch’ event in Los Angeles. Since then, we’ve introduced a range of activity to support up-and-coming British talent and, now in its second year, ‘Brits to Watch: The Screenings’ – a strand that BAFTA is uniquely placed to deliver – introduces British rising stars to the US film industry. I am thrilled that Amma Asante – a very talented film maker, and a BAFTA winner – is our next ‘Brit to Watch’.

Asante already has her next project lined up, making her USA debut with directing a thriller titled Unforgettable for Warner Bros studios. 

The project follows a man whose new wife is terrorized by his ex-wife. That’s all we know at the moment.

Christina Hodson is writing the script, with Denise DiNovi and partner Alison Greenspan producing.

Lynn Harris is overseeing the project for Warner Bros.