What do the rising stars of 2021 have in common? With talent and perseverance, they’ve navigated one of the most difficult years the film industry has ever faced, but in doing so, have also identified what could change for the better.

In the wake of a global pandemic, the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests, political uncertainty and an ongoing climate emergency, these actors are outspoken and determined to push the movie business towards a more diverse, engaged, and accountable future.Over the next 12 months, you’ll see their faces on screens big and small, as they book more major blockbusters, collaborate with Oscar-winning filmmakers and take awards season by storm.

But, they’re not content to simply remain in front of the camera, either — some have penned scripts while others are carving out roles as directors and producers, eager to tell stories about their own communities and create the safe spaces they may not have had when they first started working.