A landmark deal between the US and China in 2012 increased the number of Hollywood films screened in China from 20 to 34, opening up the huge Chinese market even further to foreign films. With established BAFTA branches in the UK and US, the prospect of fostering cross-cultural exchange in China was now too good to ignore, and in December 2013 BAFTA officially expanded its activity into Asia via Hong Kong and China.
With an advisory board in place to help steer our activity, the launch included two events with Eddie Redmayne, (an Academy Circle interview and a masterclass at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts), a Special Award presentation in honour of cinema legend Sir Run Run Shaw, and an expansion of the BAFTA Scholarships programme to include Chinese nationals wishing to study a post-graduate course in film, television or games in the UK.
The next five years would see 12 scholarships awarded, masterclasses with make-up artist Naomi Donne, costume designer Lindy Hemming, actor Hugh Bonneville, action choreographer and director Tony Ching and director Johnnie To, and a presentation by HRH The Duke of Cambridge of a replica BAFTA mask to the Shanghai Film Museum.
Main image: Eddie Redmayne conducts a masterclass with our partners at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA), hosted by Vivienne Chow of the South China Morning Post. (BAFTA Archive/James Guan Yue)