Bafta has confirmed it is taking a flexible approach to 2022 Film Awards release date eligibility in the face of potential disruption to the schedule in the first quarter of 2022 and beyond due to a Covid-19 surge in the UK.
Last week Warner Bros moved John Madden Ground Meat Operation from January 7, 2022 to April 2022. This took it out of the previously stated Bafta eligibility period which requires all films to be released to the public by March 11, 2022. (This is March 31, 2022 for films and foreign language documentaries. )
However, as part of a change to these rules sent to all Bafta entrants to the 2022 Film Awards, the organization has confirmed that distributors can appeal to allow a delayed release until June 30, 2022.
“Bafta has very strict rules regarding eligibility periods. Given these unprecedented times, Bafta recognizes that distributors may face insurmountable challenges in the first quarter of 2022,” the new rule now reads. “In light of this, and in the most exceptional circumstances, the Film Committee will accept calls to allow a delayed release of a listed title confirmed until June 30, 2022, outside of the published eligibility period.
The film awards will take place on March 13, 2022.
Period of uncertainty
Since December 20, 2021, cinemas have been open in the UK at full capacity with no vaccination passports required, but the public must all wear masks. The planned release of films including the winner of the Palme d’or d’Altitude Titanium December 26 are still in place.
However, the industry is watching nervously to see if further restrictions will be introduced by the UK government, including proof of vaccination or a negative test to be required for the public. The worst case scenario is a temporary closure of cinemas as has been introduced in the Netherlands where they are now closed until January 14, 2022 and in Denmark where they are closed until January 17. Ireland now requires cinemas to close at 8 p.m.
So far, Warner Bros is the only distributor to have made a preventive gesture with the postponement of Ground Meat Operation, with Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald and Matthew Macfadyen.
Based on a true story of personal heroism that helped change the course of history, the British film is a thriller set during World War II, a genre that traditionally appeals to an older cinematic demographic.