Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE became a Trustee and the first chairman of BAFTA from 1973-1976. In 1986 he received the Academy’s Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award followed by a BAFTA Fellowship, the Academy’s highest accolade, in 1993. He remains active in supporting the moving image industries and committed to nurturing new talent.
His work in film was acknowledged with a CBE in 1978, followed by a Knighthood in 1995. Other honours include a British Film Institute Fellowship and the Guild of Production Executives Award for Merit. Over the course of his long career he has made an invaluable contribution to numerous societies and guilds including the British Society of Cinematographers, The Guild of British Camera Technicians and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.
In the mid 1950s, following a successful career as a cinematographer, he started Samuelson’s Film Service providing camera hire services to the industry. The company was to become one of the leading film and television equipment suppliers in UK.
In 1991 he was appointed the first British Film Commissioner. In this role he successfully promoted the UK as an attractive destination for international film and television productions and encouraged the UK government to introduce tax incentives for international productions.