BAFTA ignores films for Oscars
Despite Britain having viable entries to the foreign film category in the Oscars, BAFTA have apparently refused to nominate any Gaelic or Welsh language films for next year's awards ceremony.
According to reports they have decided that none of the films are good enough and so they aren't going to enter any.
This has prompted the resignation of one of the BAFTA members in protest, and he has also lodged official complaints with senior members of the organisation.
According to the Guardian Chris Young has resigned from BAFTA because of the affair, something he feels particularly strongly about especially as he is a producer on the recent Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle (Filmstalker review).
"I have put my neck on the line because I think it's a disgraceful decision… I don't want to be associated with the decision because I think it's parochial. All Bafta is showing itself interested in is narrowing the possibilities of people seeing a wide range of films."
Richard Staniforth is the producer of a Welsh film that was rejected, Calon Gaeth (Small Country) is a former Chairman of BAFTA in Wales, and he told the Guardian he's also unhappy about the situation and it's a reflection of a wider problem:
"The relationship between Celtic language film-makers and London is quite poor, and I think that the M25 enclave is quite dismissive of films which are made in the nations."
BAFTA have come back and said that it would only submit a film that was "outstanding" - something I would like applied to all the categories of films submitted by BAFTA, indeed it would be interesting to see what they really consider outstanding, I'm sure that doesn't apply to films that they have submitted in the past.
However the return from Young is exactly where I stand:
"The only reason for not putting a film forward is there was no film."
Right now the category from Britain is empty and the UK is apparently the only country in Europe not to submit a film to the category.
Not only are they denying any of these films the chance to be considered by the Oscar academy, but they're also denying the films the associated world wide publicity associated with just being nominated.
Although I know nothing about the Welsh language film, Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle is a superb film and the first all Gaelic language film for twenty-five years. It looks at a father and son relationship set against the amazing mountains of Skye, the Cuillins.
Despite BAFTA not approving, the film was nominated for a critic's award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year and has been selected for festivals in Rome, Vancouver and Finland and is getting a general release next month in the UK…but hey, BAFTA say it's not good enough to be even considered at the Oscars.
So now Britain has no foreign film category entry for the Oscars, despite having multiple films that qualify. A very poor and short sighted choice indeed.