BAFTA Sets 2017 Film Awards Dates, Tweaks Rules

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The BAFTA Awards

The biggest film awards outside of the U.S. is gearing up for the 2017 race.

BAFTA fans, get your calendars ready.

The biggest film awards outside of the U.S. has unveiled its key dates, with the main ceremony in 2017 set to take place Feb. 12 (as always, two weeks before the Oscars and in the middle of the Berlin Film Festival).

Announced Friday, other dates include Oct. 21 as the deadline for Stage One submissions and Dec. 15 as the deadline for when films released in the U.K. after Jan. 1, 2017, must have been screened to voters. The nominations will be unveiled Jan. 10, and will be live-screened.

Alongside the dates, organizers have revealed a few adjustments to the rules.

In the animated film section, previously limited to three nominations, the committee will have the option of extending the number to five.

"Sometimes entrants don't submit their films because they know there's only three nominations, so we want to make sure there's as wider number of entrants as possible," BAFTA's head of awards Emma Baehr tells THR.

As for the documentary section, while BAFTA has seen five nominations each year dating back to 2012, this was at the discretion of the committee. For 2017, it has been set at five.

The rise of SVOD and the growing struggle for international art house films to be given theatrical releases have also forced a response from BAFTA, whose qualifying rules require a film to have had a theatrical release on 10 screens for a least a week (with a lower threshold for documentaries and foreign language titles).

"For a non-British independent film coming into the U.K., digital distribution is becoming more and more common and prevalent," says Jim Bradshaw, BAFTA head of film. "So we're going to add a line to our rules that we're open to considering films that have been released on other methods and platforms. The committee will have the discretion, on an exceptional basis, to accept things that don't meet the criteria."

Elsewhere, BAFTA has formalized its ties with the Producers Guild of America and will accept all producers the organization recognizes on a particular film. For those not submitted to the PGA, BAFTA's previous rule of a maximum of three producers will apply.

BAFTA is also set to unveil a new venue, having revealed to THR that it is set to move out of the Royal Opera House after 10 years.