BAFTA Significantly Expands Operations in North America

(Image credit: BAFTA)

LONDON—BAFTA has announced a significant expansion of its North America operations with the formation of its inaugural North America Board and appointments of new board members and officers. 

As part of the expansion, Kathryn Busby, president of original programming at Starz has been named chair of the North America Board, and actor Elliot Knight and Karl Stewart, CEO, Thunder Child and president, of 1TwentyFour were named deputy chairs. 

The new structure unifies BAFTA’s New York and Los Angeles entities and strengthens the British arts charity’s overall global mission, the organization said. 

BAFTA has had a presence in the US since the formation of BAFTA Los Angeles in 1987, followed by BAFTA New York in 1996. Currently, with almost 2,000 members in North America, BAFTA’s activities in North America include BAFTA Breakthrough USA, the GSA BAFTA Student Awards, the U.S. Newcomers Program, scholarships, and local mentorship schemes, as well as events like the BAFTA Tea Parties and the British Academy Britannia Awards.

Following the changes approved by BAFTA’s U.S. members last year, Matthew Wiseman is promoted to executive director and head of North America, having previously served as CEO of BAFTA Los Angeles. Former BAFTA New York director, Lisa Harrison, becomes director of operations, North America.

In addition, Betsy Rodgers, senior vice president  business and legal affairs, IFC Entertainment and RLJE Films, will serve as secretary of the North America Board and Josephine Coyle, director, post production finance, Walt Disney Studios, was named treasurer. 

The North America Board is completed by BAFTA members Alexis Alexanian, Tara Grace, Pippa Harris, Nyasha Hatendi, Alexa Jago, Jonathan Katz, Joyce Pierpoline, Marc Samuelson and Jonathan Sehring.

Krishnendu Majumdar, chair of BAFTA, said that “with the election of Kathryn Busby as chair of our new North America board, we can truly say that BAFTA is a global arts organization with a shared set of values and ambitions. Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years’ groundwork in bringing our UK and U.S. operations together and promises closer collaboration and the continued expansion of our not-for-profit activities in the USA and beyond, such as BAFTA Breakthrough and the GSA BAFTA Student Awards. My thanks to all the staff, our members and our committees who have worked towards today's announcement and I look forward to a new era of collaboration with our colleagues in North America.”

The announcement follows the appointments of Bal Samra, Andrew Miller, Siobhan Reddy and Patrick Keegan to the overarching BAFTA Board of Trustees, chaired by Krishnendu Majumdar, last year. As chair and deputy chair of the North America board, Kathryn Busby and Elliot Knight will now join BAFTA’s Board of Trustees. 

The members of BAFTA’s Board of Trustees are Krishnendu Majumdar (chair), Sara Putt (deputy chair), Kathryn Busby, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Elliot Knight, Anna Higgs, Patrick Keegan, Andrew Miller MBE, Ade Rawcliffe, Siobhan Reddy, Bal Samra, Paul Taiano OBE and Dr Jo Twist.

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.