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British Academy of Film and Television Arts

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Title: British Academy of Film and Television Arts  
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Subject: Cinema of the United Kingdom, Richard Attenborough, BAFTA Fellowship, Jo Jo in the Stars, British Academy Children's Awards
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British Academy of Film and Television Arts

British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Abbreviation BAFTA
Formation 1947
Type Film, television and games organisation
Purpose "supports, promotes and develops the art forms of the moving image – film, television and video games – by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public."
Headquarters London
Region served
United Kingdom, Los Angeles and New York
Approximately 6500
Official language
HRH The Duke of Cambridge
Anne Morrison
Chief executive
Amanda Berry

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image – film, television and games. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international, year-round programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK and the USA.

Origins of the Academy

BAFTA started out as the British Film Academy, founded in 1947 by directors David Lean, Alexander Korda, Roger Manvell, Laurence Olivier, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Michael Balcon, Carol Reed, and other major figures of the British film industry.[1]

David Lean was the founding Chairman of the Academy. The first Film Awards ceremony took place in May 1949 and honoured The Best Years of Our Lives, Odd Man Out and The World Is Rich.

The Guild of Television Producers and Directors was set up in 1953 with the first awards ceremony in October 1954, and in 1958 merged with the British Film Academy to form the Society of Film and Television Arts, whose inaugural meeting was held at Buckingham Palace and presided over by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

In 1976, HM Piccadilly, London, and in March the Society officially became known as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Charitable mission

BAFTA is an independent charity with a mission to "support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public".

It is a membership organisation comprising approximately 6,500 individuals in the UK and the US who are creatives and professionals working in the film, television and games industries.[2]

BAFTA does not receive any funding from the government, so instead relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work.[3]

BAFTA has offices in Scotland and Wales, as well as Los Angeles and New York in the United States.

Amanda Berry OBE has been chief executive of the organisation since December 2000.

Learning events and initiatives

In addition to its high-profile awards ceremonies, BAFTA manages a year-round programme of educational events and initiatives including film screenings and Q&As, tribute evenings, interviews, lectures, and debates with major industry figures. With over 250 events a year, BAFTA's stated aim is to inspire and inform the next generation of talent by providing a platform for some of the world's most talented practitioners to pass on their knowledge and experience.[4]

Many of these events are free to watch online at BAFTA Guru and via its official channel on YouTube.[5]

Royal connections

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has been President of the Academy since February 2010.

The Duke's appointment follows a long tradition of royal involvement with the academy.[6] Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the first President of the Society of Film and Television Arts (SFTA) in 1959 to 1965, followed by Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the Princess Royal, who was its President from 1972 to 2001. It was the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's generous donation of their share of profits from the film Royal Family that enabled the academy to move to its headquarters at 195 Piccadilly. The Duke of Cambridge succeeded Lord (Richard) Attenborough to become the academy's fifth president in its history.


BAFTA presents awards for film, television and games, including children's entertainment, at a number of annual ceremonies across the UK and in Los Angeles, USA.

The BAFTA trophy / award

In the UK, its most recognisable trophies – the famous bronze masks – are today presented at its annual ceremonies for Film, Television, Television Craft, Games and Children's.

The BAFTA award, designed by Mitzi Cunliffe

The iconic BAFTA award, or mask, was designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe and has become an internationally recognised symbol of excellence in the art forms of the moving image.[7]

In 1955, a design was commissioned by Andrew Miller-Jones of the (then) Guild of Television Producers. Cunliffe originally modelled the mask in Plasticine, from which the casting moulds were made, and though based on the traditional concept of the theatrical tragicomic mask, it is more complex than its immediate front facial appearance suggests. The hollow reverse of the mask bears an electronic symbol around one eye and a screen symbol around the other, linking dramatic production and television technology, and the full intention of Cunliffe's original design included a revolving support to allow the mask to be turned and viewed easily from either side.

When the Guild merged with the British Film Academy to become the Society of Film and Television Arts, later the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the first 'BAFTA award' was presented to Sir Charles Chaplin on his Academy Fellowship that year.

Today's BAFTA award – including the bronze mask and marble base – weighs 3.7 kg and measures 27 cm (h) x 14 cm (w) x 8 cm (d); the mask itself measures 16 cm(h) x 14 cm (w).

Awards ceremonies

Film Awards

BAFTA's annual film awards ceremony is known as the British Academy Film Awards,[8] or "the BAFTAs", and reward the best work of any nationality seen on British cinema screens during the preceding year.[9] In 1949 the British Film Academy, as it was then known, presented the first awards for films made in 1947 and 1948. Since 2008 the ceremony has been held at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden, having previously been held in the Odeon cinema on Leicester Square since 2000. The ceremony previously was performed during April or May of each year, but from 2002 since it has been held in February to precede the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) Academy Awards, or Oscars.

In order for a film to be considered for a BAFTA nomination its first public exhibition must be displayed in a cinema and it must have a UK theatrical release for no fewer than seven days of the calendar year that corresponds to the upcoming awards. A movie must be of feature length and movies from all countries are eligible in all categories, with the exception of the Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut which are for British films or individuals only.

Television Awards and Television Craft Awards

The British Academy Television Awards ceremony usually takes place during April or May, with its sister ceremony, the British Academy Television Craft Awards, usually occurring within a few weeks of it.

The Television Awards, celebrating the best TV programmes and performances of the past year, are also often referred to simply as "the BAFTAs" or, to differentiate them from the movie awards, the "BAFTA Television Awards". They have been awarded annually since 1954. The first ever ceremony consisted of six categories. Until 1958, they were awarded by the Guild of Television Producers and Directors.

From 1968 until 1997, BAFTA's Film and Television Awards were presented together, but from 1998 onwards they were presented at two separate ceremonies.

The Television Craft Awards celebrate the talent behind the programmes, such as individuals working in visual effects, production, and costume design.

Only British programmes are eligible – with the potential exception of the publicly voted Audience Award – but any cable, satellite, terrestrial or digital television stations broadcasting in the UK are eligible to submit entries, as are independent production companies who have produced programming for the channels. Individual performances can either be entered by the performers themselves or by the broadcasters. The programmes being entered must have been broadcast on or between 1 January and 31 December of the year preceding the awards ceremony.

From 2014 the "BAFTA Television Awards" will be open to TV programmes which are only broadcast online.[10]

Games Awards

The British Academy Games Awards ceremony traditionally takes place in March, shortly after the Film Awards ceremony in February.

BAFTA first recognised video games and other interactive media at its inaugural BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards ceremony during 1998, the first major change of its rules since the admittance of television thirty years earlier. Among the first winning games were GoldenEye 007, Gran Turismo and interactive comedy MindGym, sharing the spotlight with the BBC News Online website which won the news category four years consecutively. These awards allowed the Academy to recognise new forms of entertainment that were engaging new audiences and challenging traditional expressions of creativity.

During 2003, the sheer ubiquity of interactive forms of entertainment and the breadth of genres and types of video games outgrew the combined ceremony, and the event was divided into the BAFTA Video Games Awards and the BAFTA Interactive Awards[11] Despite making headlines with high profile winners like Halo 2 and Half-Life 2 the interactive division was discontinued and disappeared from BAFTA's publicity material after only two ceremonies.

During 2006, BAFTA announced its decision "to give video games equal status with film and television", and the Academy now advertises video games as its third major topic in recognition of its importance as an art form of moving images. The same year the ceremony was performed at The Roundhouse by Chalk Farm Road in North London on 5 October and was televised for the first time on 17 October and was broadcast on the digital channel E4.

From 2009 onwards, the ceremonies were performed at the London Hilton Park Lane and were hosted by Dara Ó Briain. They were fully filmed and streamed live online at the official BAFTA website.

Children's Awards

The British Academy Children's Awards are presented annually during November to reward excellence in the art forms of the moving image intended for children.[12] They have been awarded annually since 1969.

The Academy has a long history of recognising and rewarding children's programming, presenting two awards at the 1969 ceremony – The Flame of Knowledge Award for Schools Programmes and the Harlequin Award for Children's Programmes.

As of 2010 the Awards ceremony includes 19 categories across movies, television, video games and online content.

Since 2007 the Children's Awards have included a Kids Vote Award voted by children younger than age 14 and a CBBC Me and My Movie award, a children's filmmaking initiative to inspire and enable children to make their own movies and tell their own stories.

BAFTA Los Angeles

BAFTA Los Angeles, founded in 1987, serves as the bridge between the Hollywood and British production and entertainment business communities.[13]

Maintaining a long tradition of recognising the finest filmmaking and television talent, BAFTA Los Angeles hosts a series of events, including the prestigious Britannia Awards, the Awards Season Film and Television Tea Parties in January and September and the annual Garden Party.

BAFTA Los Angeles provides exclusive access to screenings, Q&As with creative talent, produces seminars with leading UK film and television executives and the Heritage Archive, featuring broadcast-quality interviews with distinguished British members of the film and television industries, giving life to the preservation of the UK film industry for future generations.

A commitment to professional and community education is at the heart of the BAFTA's charitable remit. BAFTA Los Angeles hosts the Student Film Awards and has an active Scholarship Program offering financial support and mentorship to UK students studying in the US. It created The Inner City Cinema,[14] a screening program providing free screenings of theatrical films to inner city areas not served by theatres. The success of Inner City Cinema has led to further free screening programs extended to multiple inner city parks through the Academy's work with both the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks After Dark) and The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (Teen Summer Camps).

BAFTA Los Angeles celebrated its 25th year in 2012.

Britannia Awards

The Britannia Awards are BAFTA Los Angeles' highest accolade, a celebration of achievements honouring individuals and companies that have dedicated their careers to advancing the entertainment arts. The Awards began in 1989 and usually take place in October/November every year. There are no awards given to specific movies or TV programmes, only to individuals. During the first ten years, one award was given at each event, named the 'Britannia Award for Excellence in Film', but since 1999 the number of awards has increased. Proceeds from the gala ceremony support BAFTA Los Angeles' on-going education, scholarship, community outreach and archival projects.

Awards given include 'The Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film' (the original award was renamed during 2000 to honour director Stanley Kubrick), presented to a unique individual "upon whose work is stamped the indelible mark of authorship and commitment, and who has lifted the craft to new heights"; 'The John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing' (added during 2003 in honour of John Schlesinger); the 'Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year'; and the 'Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment'. In select years, the evening has included the 'BAFTA Los Angeles Humanitarian Award'.

The show has been broadcast on TV around the world, including the TV Guide Network and BBC America in the United States.

Board Members

The current BAFTA Los Angeles Board Members are:[15]

  • Nigel Daly, OBE
  • Phil Ashcroft
  • Kieran Breen
  • Gary Dartnall, OBE
  • Bryony Foster
  • Katherine Haber, MBE
  • Paul Heller
  • James Knight
  • Vivian Mayer
  • Kara Miller
  • Sandro Monetti
  • Rosalie Swedlin
  • Julia Verdin
  • Brian Walton
  • Bumble Ward

BAFTA Scotland

BAFTA Scotland is a branch of the Academy located in Glasgow, Scotland.

Since 1989, BAFTA has continued to specifically champion the film, television and game industries in Scotland by celebrating excellence, championing new Scottish talent and reaching out to the public.

Scotland Awards

The British Academy Scotland Awards are BAFTA Scotland's annual awards ceremony,[16] celebrating and rewarding the highest achievements in Scottish film, television and games.

New Talent Awards

BAFTA Scotland also produces the annual New Talent Awards ceremony, shining a spotlight on new and emerging Scottish talent in the art forms of moving image.[17] Since they began in 1996, the annual New Talent Awards highlight the creativity that exists in Scotland by recognising and rewarding talented individuals who have started to work in the film, television and games industries.


BAFTA Wales – also known as BAFTA Cymru – is a branch of the Academy formed in 1991.

Cymru Awards

For over 20 years BAFTA Wales has celebrated the very best Welsh talent in film, television and games with the British Academy Cymru Awards, its annual awards ceremony that recognises achievement by performers and production staff in movies and television programmes made in Wales.[18]

BAFTA New York

BAFTA New York is charged with carrying BAFTA's mission forward in the US.[19]

It represents a vibrant community of senior level professionals based in the city, with an annual calendar including a diverse line-up of programs and events with over 70 pre-release film screenings, interviews, and panels focusing on industry trends in television, film and multimedia.

BAFTA New York's educational outreach is aimed at under-served youth in New York City's schools, and includes the BAFTA New York Media Scholarship Program established to support undergraduate students pursuing media studies at public institutions located within the New York City area.

Presidents and Vice-Presidents


  1. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (1959–1965)
  2. The Rt Hon The Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1966–1972)
  3. HRH The Princess Royal (1973–2001)
  4. The Rt Hon The Lord Attenborough (2001–2010)
  5. HRH The Duke of Cambridge (2010–present)


  1. The Rt Hon The Lord Attenborough (1973–1995)
  2. The Rt Hon The Lord Puttnam (1995–2004)
  3. Michael Grade (2004–2009)
  4. Duncan Kenworthy (2009–present)
  5. Sophie Turner Laing (2010–present)[20]

See also


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External links

  • Official website
  • Official awards database
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