Pathe UK has become the first major UK independent to say that it will send out screener tapes to BAFTA members this year.

Pathe UK is distributing two highly fancied awards contenders: The Girl With A Pearl Earring and In The Cut. The company will send out screener tapes for both films.

Meanwhile, Momentum Pictures - which handles Sofia Coppola's acclaimed Lost In Translation - said that it would make a decision on whether to send out tapes to BAFTA members next week.

The move comes as the US studios look set to make an definitive announcement this week on whether or not they will send out screener tapes. Despite announcing a ban on screener tapes last month, the US studios have indicated that - following an outcry from many quarters of the film industry - they may now compromise and send tapes to US Academy members.

Pathe UK managing director Francois Ivernel said that, in particular, the chances for The Girl With A Pearl Earring to do well at the BAFTAs would be hit if tapes were not sent out - even though the company has provided extra screenings for the film.

The film is set for a wide release in the UK in mid-January - after the BAFTA nominations process has closed.

"We agree that films should seen be on the big screen, but if you are a DoP working in a foreign country on film, you're not going to have the same opportunity to see every film," said Ivernel.