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Curzon - Winners' acceptance speech, Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, EE British Academy Film Awards in 2017

12 February 2017

Winners' acceptance speech by Philip Knatchbull, CEO of Curzon World in the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema category

PHILIP KNATCHBULL:  Wow. Well, I will try to keep this short, unlike some of the films we show. What an amazing privilege to be standing here, following in the footsteps of so many giants of the film world. This award is for every single person who works at Curzon; from those who sell the cinema tickets to the wonderful team that buy our films. All 280 of us are winners tonight. We are immensely proud and grateful to have a BAFTA now of our own. It means more to us than you will ever know. We love what we do, but it is the directors that  make us who we are, and you just saw a few of their films now.

From Charlie Chaplin to Michael Haneke and everyone in between. Our goal is to get their incredible films seen. I want to thank all the filmmakers who have entrusted us with their work. They are the reason why we are so passionate about what we do. I would briefly mention three people, without whom we wouldn't be here. Roger Wingate, who has been chairman of Curzon for 50 of its 80-year history; Louisa Dent, who ensures the quality of our films never waivers; and Tony Tabatznik, who has been an incredible supporter of Curzon's recent expansion. We celebrate our common humanity through the power of storytelling. I believe many of our films have contributed to that. All of us at Curzon are concerned  about the future. Change in life is inevitable. But if, after Brexit, the essential EU support we receive either stops or is not replaced, then the risks we are able to take with films that exist outside of the mainstream will become much harder and all our lives will be the poorer for it.            

But whatever the outcome of Brexit, you can rest assured that we will continue to seek out challenging new films with bold, diverse and authentic voices, striving to find new ways of engaging with audiences and screening unforgettable films in great new cinemas and on brilliant new digital devices.

And finally -- and I know she is going to kill me for this -- I want to thank my wife, Wendy.  You have been my rock and it is only your love and patience that has allowed me somewhat obsessively to indulge my passion for Curzon. So thank you, darling. From all of us at Curzon, thank you, BAFTA. Thank you