The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will merge its Los Angeles and New York branches to form a single BAFTA North America in 2021, Variety has confirmed.
The merger is in aid of a homogenous strategy designed to foster closer interactions with the U.K. body. The BAFTA U.S. headcount will remain intact.
A BAFTA North America board will be set up in 2021 and Matthew Wiseman, who has been the the BAFTA LA CEO since Nov. 2019, will take up the position of executive director.
BAFTA members voted for the merger.
“We were really pleased that members responded so positively re: the opportunity to vote and help create BAFTA North America as an entity,” said BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar.
“This recent vote is the latest step in our long talked-about and worked-for ambition to bring BAFTA closer together as one global organization. It’s a hugely important step as we continue to evolve as one global BAFTA, which will allow us to be more than the sum of our parts, laying the path forward for closer collaboration and expansion of our great program of activities in the U.S. delivered via our teams in NY and LA.
“Though we are still a little ways away from finishing the legal steps and ratifications necessary to bring this into effect, we hope to be able to make an official announcement with more developments in 2021,” Majumdar added.
Bringing together the LA and New York BAFTA membership has already led to the expansion of programs like the U.S. scholarships and student film awards, as well as the launch of Breakthrough U.S. this year, said Wiseman.
“Collaboration and a spirit of cultural exchange is at the heart of so many BAFTA programs, so bringing together the expertise of the BAFTA offices, and joining together to offer perspectives from North America when establishing our global visions and objectives, is an exciting proposition.”
In September, BAFTA unveiled results of a major diversity review. The BAFTA film awards will take place Apr. 11, 2021.
Deadline was first to report the news.