Award-winning Scottish producer Chris Young has resigned from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in protest at the academy's refusal to submit any British film in the foreign language category.
Young's Gaelic-language feature Seachd-The Inaccessible Pinnacle was thought to be a front runner for the British submission.
BAFTA confirmed to Screen last week that it would not be submitting any film for foreign-language Oscar consideration.'I just find it incredibly frustrating that a BAFTA committee made the decision not to submit any British films,' Young says. 'I have had films nominated for prizes before and realise that you win or lose but not to be allowed to even play seems an incredibly aggressive statement by BAFTA. I just no longer want to be part of an organisation that denies opportunities like that to British filmmakers when they should be doing everything to encourage our international aspirations.'
Seachd received its world premiere as the opening night of the Celtic Film And Television Festival in March and was subsequently acquired for UK theatrical distribution by Soda Pictures.
Initially released in the Outer Hebrides in the middle of September, it has subsequently played in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and is scheduled to expand into eight central Scotland venues this Friday, Oct 5. It has received generally positive reviews, was selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival and will play the Rome International Film Festival next month.
Funded by the Gaelic Media Service (GMS), BBC ALba, the Glasgow Film Office and Scottish Screen, the $1.3m (£655,000) feature shot in the island of Skye during the Summer of 2006. It tells of a young by sent to live with his grandparents after the tragic death of his parents. The grandfather's tall tales and magical stories become a vital part of the boy's coming to terms with his loss.
A BAFTA sub-committe made the original decision not to submit Seachd after reportedly considering it and one Welsh-language production as potential UK Oscar candidates.
The full film committee subsequently met and left that decision unchanged. The issue has stirred some political controversy in Scotland and provoked demands for BAFTA Scotland to have an independent means of submitting eligible Scottish features to the American Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The matter will now be raised on Thursday in the Scottish Parliament, where the Scottish National Party lead a minority government.
'I think there is a bigger issue at stake here,' Young claims. 'If BAFTA had seen the films and voted to choose something over Seachd I could have lived with that but not to give anything an opportunity of having that attention and profile beggars belief. There is no reason not to submit something.'
Chris Young's previous credits include the BAFTA-nominated Festival (2005), Gregory's Two Girls (1999) and Venus Peter (1989). He is currently producing the television comedy Baggy Pants.