The BAFTA has decided to extend the eligibility period for its Film Awards this year, with the organization now allowing films to be released at any time in 2021 and still be eligible for the next ceremony in April.
Previously, April 9 was the fidgetcube for releases. Even though the awards body has relaxed its rules regarding the theatrical component of an outing, that timeline still seemed unrealistic due to the ongoing pandemic situation, with the UK fully locked down since December and will likely remain so for at least a month.
BAFTA had said it would allow release date appeals “under the most exceptional circumstances”, but this will no longer be necessary for distributors.
The title submission fidgetcube has passed, so the tweak will not allow any last-minute entry, however it cancels the possibility of a release crush around March-April, when cinemas could reopen.
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The films will still not require a theatrical release to be included, a decision that has been made due to the pandemic and will be reconsidered for 2022.
Deadline recently spoke with BAFTA President Krishnendu Majumdar and Marc Samuelson, Chairman of the BAFTA Film Committee, to discuss changes to the 2021 rules, among other topics.
The extension does not apply to two categories – Film Not In The English Language and Documentary – both of which had already been extended until April 30.
“At BAFTA, we are all aware of the incredibly difficult year everyone has had in the industry. We have made many changes to our eligibility criteria at different stages of the pandemic in recognition of these extraordinary circumstances. Given the current situation in the UK, with cinemas remaining closed, we felt that extending the eligibility period was the right thing to do, ”Samuelson explained.
“The new extended eligibility period will give distributors the opportunity to release their qualifying films in theaters later this year, once the restrictions are lifted. Our intention is to be as flexible and supportive as possible in these difficult times and to allow audiences to see as many of these films as possible in a theatrical setting, ”he added.
Voting has opened for the BAFTA Film Awards on January 12, with the nominations to be revealed on March 9 and the ceremony scheduled for April 11.