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Published on February 13th, 2017 | by Padraic Coffey

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BAFTA winner warns of post-Brexit cuts in speech

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), were held at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 12th February 2017. Among the winners were Damien Chazelle, who won Best Director for La La Land, which also scooped the award for Best Picture, and Kenneth Lonergan, writer and director of Manchester by the Sea, which took home the prize for Best Original Screenplay.

The award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema was given to Curzon, a chain of cinemas specialising in art house and world cinema, based in thirteen different locations across the UK, which first opened in 1934. Curzon are also behind the video streaming site Curzon Home Cinema.

Accepting the award, Curzon’s CEO Philip Knatchbull spoke of his gratitude, but also struck a serious note when he hinted that companies such as Curzon, and others which rely on European Union funding, may not be able to survive in a post-Brexit environment.

Knatchbull said the following:

“We celebrate our common humanity through the power of storytelling. I believe many of our films have contributed to that, but all of us at Curzon are concerned about the future. Change in life is inevitable, but if, after Brexit, the essential EU support we receive either stops or is not replaced then the risks we are able to take with films that exist outside of the mainstream will become much harder, and all our lives will be the poorer for it.”

It was one of several moments throughout the evening which touched on politics. Accepting the award for Outstanding British Film for I, Daniel Blake, the outspoken director Ken Loach slammed the Conservative government in the UK, saying “…the most vulnerable and the poorest people are treated by this government with a callous brutality that is disgraceful, and it’s a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children.”

Likewise, presenter Stephen Fry none-too-subtly referenced U.S. President Donald Trump, who referred to Meryl Streep as ‘overrated’ on the social media website Twitter in January. Speaking of Streep, who was in attendance at the ceremony, Fry described her as “…unquestionably one of the greatest actresses of all time – only a blithering idiot would think otherwise.”


About the Author

Padraic Coffey is a freelance writer and film critic who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. He has written for the Sunday Independent, Ireland's largest circulation newspaper, and Trinity College, Dublin, ranked 71st best university in the world by the QS World University Rankings in 2014. Additionally, his film criticism has appeared on Volta - Ireland's first VOD website - as well as sites such as Taste of Cinema, Film Jam and Head Stuff.



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