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The U.K. Gains a Documentary Category, Loses Britain's Film Commissioner

Indiewire By Indiewire Staff | Indiewire June 14, 2011 at 8:25AM

It's been a schizophrenic day for the U.K. film industry. While grassroots activists could celebrate the return of BAFTA's documentary category, today also saw the exit of British Film Commissioner Colin Brown.
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It's been a schizophrenic day for the U.K. film industry. While grassroots activists could celebrate the return of BAFTA's documentary category, today also saw the exit of British Film Commissioner Colin Brown.

Brown's departure wasn't a surprise; his salary came out of the U.K. Film Council, which closed last year to reduce costs. However, since he took the job four years ago he's served as one of the U.K.'s primary ambassadors to Hollywood. In fact, Brown made the announcement Monday night at a private farewell event in Los Angeles that was hosted by Dame Barbara Hay, the British Consul-General.

Meanwhile, BAFTA announced it will reinstate its documentary category. BAFTA hasn't presented a theatrical documentary award since 1990. According to BAFTA's announcement:

BAFTA's Film Committee has chosen to re-introduce this category now in recognition of the number of high-quality theatrical documentaries released in cinemas in the UK each year.

Channel 4's Britdoc Foundation backed a campaign to bring back the category, which included a Facebook campaign.

To be eligible, documentaries must have a UK theatrical release and the award will only be presented if 15 or more films are entered. The winner will be decided by three rounds of voting by a specialist Documentary Chapter of BAFTA Film Voting Members and the Awards are now open for entry. Complete rules are available here.