The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which is best known for its BAFTA Awards in the UK but also honors filmmakers in Los Angeles via its Britannia Awards ceremony (last head in 2019), has announced an expansion of its awards-giving activity in North America.
Henceforth, the organization will present BAFTA Special Awards — “honorary awards presented to those who have made a significant, inspiring and outstanding contribution to film, games and television through a particular project(s) and/or their work” — throughout the year.
Special Awards candidates can be put forward by members, the sector committees and the BAFTA North America board. Presentations will take place at bespoke events throughout the year and recipients will receive the iconic BAFTA mask. The first recipient is expected to be named soon.
BAFTA has had a presence in the US since the formation of BAFTA Los Angeles in 1987, followed by BAFTA New York in 1996. The organization now has almost 2,000 members in North America, who have access to its extensive screenings and Q&A program, tea parties , BAFTA Breakthrough USA, the Yugo BAFTA Student Awards, the US newcomers program, scholarships and the Vance Byrd Mentorship program.
Kathryn Busby, chair of the BAFTA North America board said in a statement, “This is an incredibly exciting moment for BAFTA, as we evolve and expand our award presentations and activities. Creating the opportunity to present awards year-round and celebrate excellence at more locations was a priority for our board this year as we expand BAFTA’s mission and activity across North America, so we are delighted to be able to now announce this new direction.”
Matthew Wiseman, executive director and head of North America for BAFTA, added, “To be able to capture the same spirit and warmth of the Britannia Awards event, and now present honorary awards throughout the year and in different cities, is an exciting prospect that will enable BAFTA to celebrate those who have made exceptional contributions to our industry in even more impactful and unique ways. We will also be able to use these moments to further inspire future generations of talent across our industry, many of whom will in turn be supported by BAFTA’s many learning, inclusion and talent programs globally.”
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