Lobbying Practice

25th of May 2020

AMPAS, BAFTA & EFA react to COVID-19 Pandemic

The SFC reached out to representatives of AMPAS, BAFTA and the European Film Academy to ask if festivals moving online will affect a film’s eligibility for their respective awards, This is what they told us:

Statement from AMPAS

Film festivals that have been impacted by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic may provide films online through either a transactional pay wall or password-protected entry, which will not affect the films’ eligibility for future Academy qualification. The Academy will allow an exemption for those films that are released online through an impacted festival’s online platform, provided the films submit proof of inclusion in the festival. With these provisions, films will be expected to comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards.


Statement from BAFTA

We understand a number of the film festivals featured on the BAFTA Qualifying Festivals List are having to make significant changes to their plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, either moving activities and events online or postponing until further notice. BAFTA’s approach is one of understanding and support for the industry in these unprecedented and uncertain times:

BAFTA reviews the Qualifying Festivals List each year, but will not be looking to penalise or remove festivals from the list if for any reason their 2020 edition is postponed.

Similarly, BAFTA will not penalise any film festival – or filmmakers – whose festival screening has moved online or been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. While normally British short films that have been theatrically screened at a requisite number of qualifying festivals would be eligible for the British Short Film award, we will be relaxing this rule for the British Short Film award category for 2021 only, as we appreciate that many festivals which had confirmed their programmes have subsequently had to cancel or move the dates of their festival. Short films which have been programmed at BAFTA Qualifying Festivals will remain eligible for British Short Film award, even if the festival has been moved online or cancelled: entrants will be required to upload proof that the film had been programmed by the festival prior to the impact of COVID-19. We have contacted the qualifying festivals to let them know we will be making this change on a one-off basis in these unprecedented times.

Although we have no rule regarding geo-blocking or how shorts are made available by the qualifying festival (ie behind a pay-wall), BAFTA urges filmmakers to be aware of the possible impact on their qualifying status for other festivals, and Awards.

The present situation presents unprecedented challenges for our industries, and we are heartened to see the innovative response of many festivals so far. We will do all we can to make reasonable adjustments to ensure we support the industry and continue our mission to celebrate excellence and champion the next generation of talent.


Statement from European Film Academy

Those of the EFA’s partner festivals which have to postpone or move online this year’s edition due to the Coronavirus crisis will still select an EFA Short Film Candidate, provided they include a competitive international section from which their jury selects this candidate before 15 October.