One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the shutting down of theatres leading to the postponing of many movies that were looking to release theatrically. While some are still aiming to screen their movie in 2020, many have pushed theirs back to 2021. This had also put them in the danger of becoming ineligible of prestigious award ceremonies like Oscars and BAFTA. But it looks like the award ceremonies have made some sensible adjustments.
We are announcing temporary changes to our film eligibility rules for the 2021 #EEBAFTAs in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic which resulted in UK cinemas closing on 20 March. Next year’s Film Awards will now be held on Sunday 11 April. https://t.co/oOKkyf9b5e
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) June 16, 2020
After the Academy postponed the Oscars to April 25, 2021, the BAFTAs followed and announced today that they’re postponing the EE British Academy Film Awards 2021 to April 11, 2021. In addition to that they’re making some changes to the eligibility rules for the movies that want a swipe at the trophy. The statement read,
“The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced temporary changes to its film eligibility rules for the EE British Academy Film Awards for 2021. These changes are in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which resulted in UK cinemas closing on 20 March, and are the result of extensive industry consultation. BAFTA has also confirmed that next year’s Film Awards will be held on Sunday 11 April 2021. This change from the previously announced date of 14 February acknowledges the impact of the global pandemic and accommodates an extended eligibility period.”
The changes are as follows:
- Movies that were in theatres when they closed due to the pandemic will be eligible regardless of the number of screenings.
- Movies that were going to release theatrically on a confirmed date but couldn’t do so due to the lockdown will be eligible if they release on an approved commercial VOD platform during the 2020-21 eligibility period.
- Movies that didn’t have a confirmed release date will be eligible if they release on an approved commercial VOD platform. After lockdown, if theatres re-open, these movies will only be eligible if they are given a theatrical release.
- On a date that is yet to be determined by BAFTA and once cinemas re-open all movies, except those outlined in points 2 and 3, must release theatrically within the eligibility period.
- Any theatrically released movie for the rest of the eligibility period will have a lower qualifying threshold i.e. a minimum of one screening per day for seven days.
- Movies that will release on VOD should be available to UK audiences for at least 30 days.
- All movies should be made available to BAFTA voting members on BAFTA view (BAFTA’s online viewing site).
- All movies, theatrical or VOD, must be released with the Film 2020-21 eligibility period which BTW will be announced in autumn 2020.
Well, here’s to hoping that these rejigged rules allow filmmakers from all over the world to heave a sigh of relief. I also wish that the authorities don’t have to postpone any further because it messes up a lot of logistics and is harmful financially as well.
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Cover artwork by Bhavya Poonia/Mashable India