The British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) celebrated the successes of film industry last Sunday. And despite some of the financial challenges the film industry faced in 2012, it was obvious that British film has a growing base of dedicated film fans to support it.
Hundreds of people stood in the freezing sleet and rain to watch British actors on the BAFTA red carpet.
When we arrived at Covent Garden around 7:30am the line was already wrapped around the building twice. According to the website, 7:00am – 8:00am is when participants should arrive to receive wristbands for the red carpet.
But most people knew better. Fans in the front of the line had been sitting outside for two days. They brought blankets, tents and handwarmers. Their perserverance earned them a front row seat on the red carpet.
The wristbands were handed out in numerical order. They used the numbers to line up again once the red carpet was open. This allowed the people who waited the longest to stand wherever they wanted.
From 12:00pm until 5:30pm, we stood shoulder to shoulder in the freezing rain. We met with other people in the crowd and shared film stories. Many of the people had been coming for years and had large scrapbooks filled with autographs and pictures. They braced the wind and later snow for the chance to do it all again.
According to several film critics, including Mark Monahan at The Daily Telegraph, 2012 wasn’t a great year for British film. But a quick sampling of the crowd proved that several films stood out in the eyes of filmgoers, such as Les Miserables, Skyfall and The Woman in Black.
Additionally, even though The Hobbit isn’t technically a British film, all of the fans were supportive of their homegrown actors. The crowd cheered wildly when Martin Freeman came down the carpet, myself included.
The fans were excited that British film and film stars were becoming even more popular across the world. In this increasingly global village, it’s important to celebrate the success of the the industry outside of Britain.
It reminded me about the return of International House Hunters to British television, and how the show uses a simple, propelling formula to encapsulate an audience around the world.
While it may or may not have been the best year for British film, it’s films are certainly growing in importance to viewers across the world. It’s an exciting time for the industry and it was a wonderful experience to see it’s reception.
Angie Castillo is a graduate student at City University and an intern for Argonon.