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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 11:26 GMT
Bafta warns of 'awards catastrophe'
Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell with Bafta award
Award-winning Billy Elliot would have suffered from the ban, Bafta said
Britain's top film awards could be heading for catastrophe next year if Hollywood does not resolve a row over voting, says organiser Bafta.

No preview DVDs of new films can be sent to voters of any awards except the Oscars, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has ruled.

They say there is too much chance that the advance copies could be pirated.

But others say it will harm the award chances of small independent films, and Bafta wants the ban overturned.

Duncan Kenworthy, chairman of Bafta's film committee, said the decision was "an extraordinary act of injustice which singles out the British Academy and the British industry for damage".

British hits like Billy Elliot and The Full Monty would have suffered if film companies had been unable to send preview copies to voters, he said.

Piracy battle

He said Bafta preview tapes or DVDs, known as "screeners", had never been pirated.

The MPAA president Jack Valenti introduced the ban because, he said, half of the screeners sent to Oscars voters last year were copied.

Hundreds of leading stars and film-makers, including Sir Michael Caine and Francis Ford Coppola, said the ban would effectively kill independent movie making.

And the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has cancelled its awards ceremony in protest at the ban.

The Bafta Awards have enjoyed greater international status in recent years since moving to before the Oscars in the award calendar.

Next year's ceremony is due to take place on 15 February, two weeks before the Oscars.


SEE ALSO:
Academy Awards DVD ban lifted
24 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Polanski takes top Baftas
23 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Writers condemn screener ban
15 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
Indie moguls blast Oscars DVD ban
02 Oct 03  |  Entertainment
New rules for Oscar campaigns
02 May 03  |  Entertainment


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