26 November 07
On Sunday 25 November 2007 the Academy honoured outstanding achievement in children’s TV, film, video games and interactive media at the newly named British Academy Children’s Awards in association with Electronic Arts. Head of Awards, Anne-Marie Flynn, reports.
Despite the current crisis in children's television, the industry was determined to celebrate. Whilst much of the funding of original productions has diminished, there is still tremendous programming being created and new delivery platforms are showcasing truly inspirational work aimed at today's younger audiences. As the Academy has embraced these new changes under a broader umbrella, what has remianed constant is the standard of excellence shown within the children's sector.
The evening was brilliantly hosted by Keith Chegwin and presenters spanned the world of television, film and sports, including Strictly Come Dancing's Matt Di Angelo, footballer Shaun Wright-Philips, environmentalist Zach Goldsmith, Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, Sir Sterling Moss and film star Daniel Craig (pictured).
Two exciting new categories were introduced for this year's awards: Break-through Talent and Children's Video Game. As seen by this year's Video Games Awards , the appetite for more family-orientated, social gaming is now voracious and this new category attracted many titles of an extremely high standard. Similarly, the range of skills demonstrated in the new Breakthrough Talent Award shows that the introduction of this new multi-disciplinary category was well overdue. Our Learning categories now better reflect the rapid changes in teaching methods and the impact of the digital curriculum. The Awards truly represent excellence in all forms of children’s entertainment.
While the annual Awards are voted for by BAFTA members (including film-makers, programme-makers and games developers), the Academy also gives children a voice. The BAFTA Kids' Vote in association with Electronic Arts enabled children to vote for their favourite film of the past 12 months. The 10 nominated films were selected from the year's top box office family-oriented pictures and voted for on the websites of CBBC, Cartoon Network, CiTV, Disney Channel UK, Nickelodeon and Paramount. In the end, The Simpson's Movie came out on top as the favourite film of the past year.
In addition, BAFTA partnered with CBBC to launch a new children's film-making initiative to inspire and enable children to make their own films and tell their own stories. CBBC Me and My Movie, in association with BAFTA was launched on Blue Peter in April. On the CBBC website children accessed an original 3D interactive space filled with film-making tips. The competition was also supported by film-making events at CBBC Summer Roadshows and at BBC Open Learning Centres across the country.
A BAFTA jury decided the final four nominations and the winner was The Unwelcome Stranger (click link to view) by 14-year-old Rosalind Peters. Attending the night with her fellow nominees, on receiving her award on stage she announced that this was her chosen career, and she hoped this award was the first of many future BAFTA Awards!
The Special Award of the evening was received by multi-award-winning producer and ex-presenter of Magpie, Mick Robertson who said “There is no more important audience than children. All my programmes have been in the Factual Entertainment genre which is fast disappearing from children’s screens because of its minority appeal. I hope ways will be found to support factual television for children in the future. They should always enjoy a rich and varied viewing choice”.
With new UK programmes now accounting for just 1% of all children's TV in the UK, the Academy alerted Award attendees of the steps they could take as individuals to address this issue. Postcards were placed at every table setting containing the PACT website address (putting in your postcard automatically generates a letter to your MP) and the web address containing a petition to be sent to the Prime Minister. Within a week of the Awards more than 900 letters had been sent to local MPs and more than 300 new signatures had been added to the petition.
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