BAFTA has expanded its North American operations by forming a solitary North American board, under which its Los Angeles and New York branches will sit.
Kathryn Busby, president of original programming at Starz, has been appointed chair of the new board, with actor Elliot Knight and Karl Stewart, CEO of Thunder Child and president of 1TwentyFour, both named deputy chairs.
“I am truly honored to have been elected Chair of the inaugural BAFTA North America Board,” said Busby. “I could not be more excited to work alongside our New York, Los Angeles and London-based board members. BAFTA is a vibrant and diverse global organization, and I am proud to be involved in championing creativity, social change and opportunity for all.”
Following the changes, which were approved by BAFTA’s U.S. members last year, current L.A. CEO Matthew Wiseman is promoted to executive director and head of North America, while former BAFTA New York director, Lisa Harrison, becomes director of operations, North America.
Meanwhile, Betsy Rodgers, senior vp business & legal affairs at IFC Entertainment and RLJE Films, will serve as secretary, and Josephine Coyle, Walt Disney Studios’ director of postproduction finance, becomes treasurer. BAFTA’s 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.
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, Busby and Knight will now join BAFTA’s Board of Trustees. The members of BAFTA’s Board of Trustees are Majumdar (chair), Sara Putt (deputy chair), Busby, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CBE, Anna Higgs, Patrick Keegan, Andrew Miller MBE, Ade Rawcliffe, Siobhan Reddy, Bal Samra, Paul Taiano OBE and Dr. Jo Twist.
“With the election of Kathryn Busby as chair of our new North American board, we can truly say that BAFTA is a global arts organization with a shared set of values and ambitions,” said BAFTA chair Majumdar. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years’ groundwork in bringing our U.K. 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.”
BAFTA has had a presence in the U.S. since the formation of BAFTA Los Angeles in 1987, followed by BAFTA New York in 1996. BAFTA’s North American members now number almost 2,000, while its activities include the recently launched BAFTA Breakthrough USA, the GSA BAFTA Student Awards, the US Newcomers Program, scholarships, and local mentorship schemes, as well as events such as the BAFTA Tea Parties and the British Academy Britannia Awards.