Bafta has revealed that leading UK exhibitor Cineworld has withdrawn its support, citing concerns over eligibility requirements following ROMA’s success at this year’s film awards.
In a letter to members, Bafta film committee chair Marc Samuelson described the move as a ”unilateral decision” communicated by the exhibitor to Bafta on Tuesday (Feb 26), noting that members would no longer be able to use their membership cards to watch films at Cineworld sites.
Cineworld’s withdrawal comes off the back of recent criticism from Vue CEO Tim Richards, who also cited concerns over ROMA’s eligibility for this year’s awards.
In his letter, Samuelson said that Vue had agreed to engage in discussions as part of Bafta’s annual review of its eligibility criteria in the coming months. ”I encourage all areas of the industry to be heard as part of this review,” Samuelson added.
Cineworld is the UK’s largest exhibitor by market share.
ROMA won four Baftas at this year’s film awards: best film, best foreign film, best director and best cinematography.
Screen has contacted Cineworld for comment.
Bafta’s letter in full:
Cineworld and BAFTA
BAFTA represents the whole of the film industry. Decisions concerning eligibility of its awards are made in a careful and considered way; they are reviewed regularly, and we take into account voices from across the industry.
As you may be aware, Vue, the cinema chain, has expressed its concern publicly over the eligibility of Roma in the Film Awards. I am pleased to say that Vue has agreed to engage in the discussion and the review of our eligibility criteria in the coming months and I encourage all areas of the industry to be heard as part of this review.
I regret to tell you that, on Tuesday, Cineworld informed us of its unilateral decision to withdraw its support of BAFTA, citing similar concerns regarding the eligibility requirements of the Film Awards. As a BAFTA member, the first thing you will notice is that you will no longer be able to use your BAFTA membership card to watch films at Cineworld sites from Monday to Thursday, for the time being.
We encourage all cinema exhibitors to have their voices heard as part of the ongoing process of review and we look forward to continuing that dialogue with all sectors of our industry in the coming months.
Chair, Film Committee