Features / Film

EE BAFTAs | For the Love of Film: The nation’s local film heroes revealed!

UPDATE: Back in November, we shared the post below which was BAFTA calling out for those local film heroes… near you or I! I’m pleased to share the news that the winners are…. *drum roll*

Janet Dunn and Martin Fol of Plaza Cinema, Liverpool, and Lizzie Banks of Oska Bright Film Festival, Brighton, have today been named the winners of BAFTA and EE’s second annual‘For the Love of Film’ competition!

These amazing winners were selected by an expert industry panel in recognition of their inspiring support and contribution to film in their local areas – Congratulations!!

Janet Dunn and Martin Fol (Liverpool) fund and operate Liverpool’s Plaza Cinema, run predominantly by volunteers. The community cinema offers dynamic film-based educational programmes to schools, the volunteer sector and the general public. The Plaza has been an integral part of its local community since its opening in 1939.  When the cinema was threatened with closure in 1995, Dunn stepped forward to secure a 10,000-signature petition to save it. The Plaza Community Cinema re-opened on July 18th 1997, building a team that included Martin initially as a duty manager in 1999 and then as cinema manager in 2011.  The Plaza’s programme includes organising various film courses for young people aged 13-19, helping to train them in film production and giving them the opportunity to experience the magic of showcasing their films on the big screen of the Plaza itself. The cinema also hosts autism and disability-friendly and dementia-friendly screenings. In the decades since its reopening in 1997, the Plaza has provided a safe, welcoming and affordable hub for its local residents and is a totally inclusive space for all.  

Lizzie Banks (Brighton) is the producer of Oska Bright Film Festival, the world’s biggest festival of short films made by and for people with learning disabilities, autism and Asperger’s. Lizzie has overseen the development of the festival from a one-day event to an international four-day celebration of films that show a different outlook on life. Oska Bright is planned, managed and delivered by a learning-disabled team supported by Lizzie. Oska Bright is now funded by the BFI and has BAFTA qualifying status. She secures screenings for films around the country with partners such as London Short Film Festival, Encounters and Aesthetica and lobbies TV and film execs to make the industry fully inclusive. Oska Bright 2019 screened 99 films from 17 countries. Lizzie has just joined the ICO’s Women in Leadership programme and is ambitious for the festival and its film makers.

Somehow, it’s already been a year since BAFTA’s hugely successful inaugural year on For the Love of Film, which drew hundreds of applications from across the country, and now they’re on the hunt again across the nation to look for inspiring individuals and local heroes who help their communities’ access and engage with film. One of the finest things in life!

So, here’s where we all need you! Do you know someone who fought to save your local cinema? Set up a film festival in your town? Or runs a film club for their local care home? BAFTA are looking for those wonderful individuals and are asking us all to submit applications on behalf of someone who they feel should be recognised for their amazing contribution.

Entries for this year’s competition are now open at bafta.org/for-the-love-of-film-competition-2019

Olivia Colman, Leading Actress winner 2019, has lent her support to this year’s campaign, and highlights London’s Peckhamplex as a great example of that community spirit.

“It’s really exciting to see BAFTA honour and recognise people who work tirelessly to share the joy of film with their local communities. The ‘For the Love of Film’ competition is an excellent platform to showcase the unsung heroes of the UK’s film industry. A brilliant example of an organisation playing a vital role in making movies accessible to their community is local cinema, Peckhamplex – they provide all films all day at one affordable price, amazing Q&As and special interest weeks. They are really community minded and helpful; I couldn’t praise them enough.”

The entrants will be considered by a panel of industry experts including BAFTA Award winning director Amma Asante, broadcaster Edith Bowman, four-time BAFTA Award winning writer/director Paul Greengrass, filmmaker and content creator Jack Howard, and Andrew Orr from the BAFTA film committee.

The two winners will then get a once in a lifetime opportunity to join BAFTA and EE in celebrating the country’s biggest night in film at the EE British Academy Film Awards on the 2nd February 2020!

The inaugural ‘For the Love of Film’ competition honoured Dan Ellis – Founder and Managing Director of Jam Jar Cinema and Iain MacColl – Senior Operator, Screen Machine. Find out more about last year’s winners, watch and share their short documentaries below:


The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 2 February.




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