CEO of British distributor Vue Vue claims BAFTA for "Roma" Win

The VUE CEO, based in London, said that by honoring the Netflix title, the British Film Academy "has not met the usual high standards this year by choosing to approve and promote a film "made for television" "

J. Timothy Richards, founder and CEO of VUE, exhibitor in the UK, wrote a letter to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to pay tribute to Alfonso Cuaron's Netflix title Roma with four awards, including the best film and the best director.

Richards is the latest retail executive in Europe to worry that Netflix is ​​hurting the film industry by not fully respecting the movie windows that reserve the titles on its streaming service. At the Berlin Film Festival, which wrapped up Saturday, the International Confederation of Cinemas of Art and Testing (CICAE), which represents art cinemas and art galleries, is one of the most important events in the world. test across Europe, criticized the festival for including a film from Netflix – Isabel Coixet Elisa and Marcela – in its competition range. Similar complaints were made at the Venice Film Festival, where Italian distributors were particularly enraged that the film Cuaron Roma won the Golden Lion of the Best Film Festival.

"As a long-time member and former board member of BAFTA, I write to express my concern over the decision-making process that presided over this year's EE British Film Film Awards," writes Richards.

"We believe that BAFTA did not meet the usual high standards in choosing to support and promote a film" made for television "that the public could not see on the big screen," he said. -he adds.

Richards' letter is significant considering the presence of OUV in the European theatrical space. The company is the largest exhibitor outside the United States.

A spokesman for BAFTA responded to Richards' letter with the following statement: "The Film Committee is convinced that all the films running for this year's Film Awards met the inscription criteria, which includes a significant British theatrical release. BAFTA encourages the public to go to the cinema and aims to be inclusive and to support the UK film industry as a whole. We review our criteria each year in close consultation with the industry to ensure that our eligibility criteria are consistent with our objectives. "

Richards adds that, although Netflix has released Roma in theaters in the UK, its release may not have been significant enough to allow the film to qualify for the BAFTA film. "It is clear that Netflix has at best made a symbolic effort to filter out Roma, which covered less than 1% of the UK market solely because it wanted a reward.How could BAFTA let this happen?"

At the end of the letter, Richards said that VUE would withdraw support for BAFTAs unless Netflix issues are resolved: "I regret that I can not support BAFTA prices in the future as we usually do. , unless the board qualifies. "

Here is the letter from Richards in its entirety below.

As a long-time member and former board member of BAFTA, I am writing to express my concern over the decision-making process that guided this year's EA British Academy Film Awards.

As one of the largest cinema operators in Europe, Vue is passionate about the role of cinema in the industry, its unique ability to bring communities together in a shared entertainment experience and the role it plays. for the public and filmmakers by providing the best possible experience. We believe that BAFTA did not meet the usual high standards in choosing to approve and promote a "made for television" movie that the public could not see on the big screen.

It's personally difficult because Alfonso Cuarón is an incredible filmmaker for whom

I have a lot of respect. However, the four prizes awarded to Roma – Best Film, Director, Cinematography and Film not in English, do not respect the BAFTA rules requiring that "the British public have had the opportunity to see films inscribed and that the films have been viewed ". and sold to a paying British public ".

The BAFTA rules also stipulate that "films must not be screened solely to qualify them for these awards, and the film committee can not accept participation if it does not consider the theatrical release as significant" . It is clear that Netflix at best made a symbolic effort to filter out Roma, analyzing it on less than 1% of the UK market solely because it wanted to get a reward. How could BAFTA let this happen?

Netflix is ​​well known for its tactics and secrecy, and its release strategy for Roma in the UK was no exception. It is still unclear whether Roma was screened on more than 13 Curzon Cinema screens representing less than 0.5% of the cinema market and for a week at the Filmhouse Edinburgh. Not knowing how many people have seen Roma, where they have been screened or what their level of income is is another example of how Netflix is ​​acting outside the sector while aspiring for acceptance.

All major UK film producers respect the "Theatrical Window", which allows viewers to enjoy the launch and projection of feature films before being broadcast on small formats such as streaming and subscription services on iPad and TVs. This practice has successfully served all facets of our industry for many decades and is one of the key differentiators that make cinema unique.

The Roma could very well have attracted a much larger audience, without touching Netflix's subscription base, had they been distributed as the first film. Unfortunately, we will never know.

Steven Spielberg even said: "Once you engage in a television format, you are a TV movie. You certainly deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar, if it's a good show. I do not believe that films that receive only symbolic qualifications in some theaters for less than a week may qualify for the Oscar nomination. "

Appealing to industry awards committees and film festival organizers is an essential part of Netflix 's business plan to attract talent and credibility. Imagine the message that could have been sent by BAFTA if Netflix were forced to respect the rules underlining the principle that a film must have a full release in cinemas, otherwise it is only a "made for television" production.

On behalf of Vue International, it saddens me that the Academy has chosen to ignore the opportunity to defend this principle. I regret that in the future, we can not support the BAFTA awards as we usually do, unless the Academy Council revises its eligibility criteria.

BAFTA, the Academy of Theater Arts and Sciences of the United States and the major film festivals should continue to make the difference between a movie "made for television" and a feature-length feature film with an output in complete rooms, as they have done for 100 years.


J. Timothy Richards Founder and CEO

11:10: Updated to include the BAFTA statement.

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