1947

Open For Membership: First wave of members inducted
In his role as chair of the new Academy, David Lean made clear it would only succeed as a democracy.

“The Council needs the assistance and advice of each member,” he wrote in the Academy Journal of 1948, “for only with this co-operation can we hope to build a British Film Academy worthy of all that the name implies.”

The structure was straightforward. Membership would be open to all filmmakers working on productions in British studios. Not only did this offer every British filmmaker a stake, it gave integrity to the organisation as an Academy and laid the foundations for the annual awards, in which each member would have a vote. In every aspect of its work, the credibility of the Academy was bound up with the credibility of its membership, its status a reflection of their talent. In its first year, 168 filmmakers were inducted into the organisation, among them eight honorary members.

Today, BAFTA has around 7500 members around the world. 

Image: Sir David Lean on the set of Lawrence of Arabia (1962) directing Peter O'Toole.



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Columbia Pictures/BFI National Archive