The British Cinema and Television Veterans will celebrate the work of the former British film commissioner at a special central London event.
The British Cinema and Television Veterans (BCTV) is to pay tribute to former British film commissioner Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE at a special event due to take place at a central London location on September 22.
Samuelson was appointed as the first British Film Commissioner in 1991, going on to promote the UK as a leading destination for international film productions and encouraging the UK government to introduce a tax incentive for overseas productions.
But he first entered the business aged 14 as a rewind boy in the projection box of the Luxor Cinema in West Sussex, thanks to his father G B Samuelson who was a pioneer producer of silent films. He went on to train as a film editor with Gaumont British Newsreel in London, before becoming a cameraman.
In 1954 with the purchase of a clockwork film camera, he formed Samuelson Film Service, later joined by his brothers. The company became the leading film and television equipment supplier in the UK and Europe working on all of David Lean’s films.
One of his many achievements was being instrumental in the development of BAFTA. He was Academy Chairman from 1973-1976 as well as receiving both the Academy’s Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Film and the Academy Fellowship.
In 1978, his work in film was acknowledged with a CBE, followed by a Knighthood in 1995. Other honours include a British Film Institute Fellowship and the Guild of Production Executives Award for Merit. He officially retired in 1997.
The tribute event is being supported by 12 industry organisations including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, British Film Commission, British Film Institute and The British Society of Cinematographers.
Lord Puttnam said he “had the pleasure of working very closely with Sydney at BAFTA over many years and I know what a fantastic job he did for that organisation. His contribution to our industry over many, many years has been remarkable and it’s entirely right that the sector is honouring him in this way.”