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BAFTA: Over 60 years of Excellence

Kate Winslet clutches her Best Actress BAFTA in the Royal Opera House, Sunday 8 February, 2009..Greg Williams / Art+Commerce

In 2007 the Academy celebrated 60 years of the best in British moving images. We continue to embrace the ever-changing worlds of Film, TV and Games.

When David Lean and his esteemed colleagues founded the Academy in 1947 their aim was "to recognise those who had contributed outstanding creative work towards the advancement of British film". The Academy is now 60 years old and has achieved much more than its founders ever dreamed of.

The Academy has witnessed huge changes in the art forms of the moving image since these early days. We have followed new directions in cinema. When Television became a mass medium, we embraced it. Today, the immense creativity of the best video games is enjoyed by millions and demands our recognition.

As these art forms continue to evolve and reach new audiences, so does the Academy. Our programme of events is growing in size and scope. Webcasting is bringing the best of our activities to an audience of thousands, sometimes millions. Our awards continue to recognise the best talent in moving images and be recognised throughout the world as mark of excellence.

The future of British films depends on how they are made. If the standard is high then the future is rosy...

The way ahead

In order to maintain these high standards and an expanding range of activities, the Academy undertook a strategic review in 2006. As a result, the Academy’s remit was crystallised into a clear, unambiguous statement that we could all sign up to:

To support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.

A strategic plan was also delivered to concentrate our efforts on five key strands of activity: Learning and Events; Membership; Archive and Publishing; Relationships with Broadcasters; and Financial Stability.

Learning is at the heart of our remit and we are developing exciting strands of industry and public events. Our aim is to make our website the first port-of-call for anyone interested in learning more about the best films, television and games.

The Academy’s membership embodies a unique wealth of talent and experience and we want to encourage our members to bring this knowledge to our educational events. Our expanding educational programme will offer opportunities for practitioners to not only pass on what they know but to learn new things in the process.

Our unique historical archive is now under the care of Doreen Dean and the Archive Committee. We’re adding to it all the time but our legacy includes everything we do today as well as in the past. Week in, week out, we are capturing the highlights of our events programme for posterity and making many of them available for download on this website.

The recent creation of BAFTA Productions will give the Academy greater involvement in the broadcast of future awards, allow us to generate a range of other programmes across all major channels and provide exciting video content online.

All of this is possible due to our policy of sustained, prudent financial management. We can now deliver our remit from a position of financial health and stability.

Looking forward together

Carol Reed, winner of the first Academy best film award for his manhunt thriller Odd Man Out, affirmed in the late 1940s that “the future of British films depends on how they are made. If the standard is high then the future is rosy”. The strategic review has rejuvenated the Academy and renewed our mission. We are equipped for the future – to continue promoting and rewarding excellence for another 60 years and beyond.

Whether part of the Academy or simply a fan of film, television or games we can look forward together to celebrating ever more moving images that inspire, inform and entertain.