British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award (BAFTA)
Awarded to Media
Film and Television
Award Presented by
British Academy of Film and Television Arts
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About this Award
BAFTA was founded on 16 April 1947 as The British Film Academy, in a hotel room at the Hyde Park Hotel, by David Lean, Alexander Korda, Carol Reed, Charles Laughton, Roger Manvell and others. In 1958, the Academy merged with The Guild of Television Producers and Directors to form The Society of Film and Television, which eventually became The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976. BAFTA's stated charitable remit is to support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to high profile awards ceremonies BAFTA runs a year-round programme of educational events including film screenings and tribute evenings. BAFTA is supported by a membership of around 6000 people from the film, television and video game industries. Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, has been President of the Academy since February 2010.
BAFTA's main office is on Piccadilly in London, but it also has branches in Scotland (BAFTA Scotland), Wales (BAFTA Cymru), New York City (BAFTA East Coast) and Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA). The Academy's awards are in the form of a theatrical mask designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe, which was commissioned by the Guild of Television Producers in 1955 and has become an internationally recognised symbol of excellence in the art forms of the moving image.
From 1968 until 1997, the BAFTA Film and Television awards were presented in one joint ceremony known simply as the BAFTA Awards, but in order to streamline the ceremonies from 1998 onwards they were split in two. The Television Awards are usually presented in April, with a separate ceremony for the Television Craft Awards on a different date. The Craft Awards are presented for more technical areas of the industry, such as special effects, production design, or costumes.
BAFTA's main film awards ceremony is known as the British Academy Film Awards, having taken place since 2000 in the flagship Odeon cinema on Leicester Square. The ceremony used to take place in April or May, but from 2002 onwards it takes place in February in order to precede the Oscars. The awards are mostly open to all nationalities, though there is an award for Best British Film and Best Newcomer. Since 1989, the Los Angeles branch, BAFTA/LA, holds its own awards ceremony each year, called the Britannia Awards. In November 2007 a special tribute programme was shown on ITV in the UK celebrating 60 years of the organisation called Happy Birthday BAFTA.
The British Academy Television Awards usually take place in April or May, with craft awards having a separate ceremony slightly later in the year. The Awards are also often referred to simply as the BAFTAs or, to differentiate them from the film awards, sometimes as the BAFTA Television Awards. They have been awarded annually since 1954. The first ever Awards consisted of six categories. Until 1958, they were awarded by the Guild of Television Producers and Directors. From 1958 onwards, after the Guild had merged with the British Film Academy, the organisation was known as the Society of Film and Television Arts. In 1976, this became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the name the organisation goes under still as of 2007.