The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced its Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award winner.
Sunday February 10, 2019 marks the 72nd EE British Film Academy Awards Ceremony with the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award going to producing partnership Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, founders of Number 9 films.
The prestigious award is presented annually in honour of Michael Balcon, the British film producer known for his work with Ealing Studios.
“Elizabeth and Stephen are two of the UK’s leading producers whose contribution to the British film industry over the last four decades is outstanding,” said Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee, Marc Samuelson. “Their commitment to producing independent films in the UK which breaks down barriers and connects with audiences internationally is an inspiration to us all.”
Samuelson says the success they have enjoyed is “testament to their passion and excellence in filmmaking” and BAFTA is “delighted to award them the Outstanding British contribution to Cinema award.”
Previous recipients include Mike Leigh, Ridley and Tony Scott, Lewis Gilbert, the Harry Potter series of films, John Hurt, Peter Greenaway, Kenneth Branagh, Tessa Ross, Derek Jarman, Mary Selway, Working Title Films, BBC Films, Angels Costumes and Curzon.
Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, on hearing of the award, noted their pride at being given such a prestigious award. “Just to be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Balcon is special,” they agreed. “We would like to thank BAFTA for recognising the importance of independent producers in the UK and thank everyone involved.”
Woolley and Karlsen are two of the most prolific independent film producers of modern times. The partnership was cemented in 2002, with the formation of leading UK independent production company Number 9 Films.
The company has witnessed extreme success in the film industry across the past four decades, its films receiving a total of 52 BAFTAs so far.