The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image – film, television and games. In addition to its annual awards ceremonies, BAFTA has an international, year-round programme of learning events and initiatives offering access to talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK and the USA.
BAFTA started out as the British Film Academy, founded in 1947 by directors David Lean, Alexander Korda, Roger Manvell, Laurence Olivier, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Michael Balcon, Carol Reed, and other major figures of the British film industry.
David Lean was the founding Chairman of the Academy. The first Film Awards ceremony took place in May 1949 and honoured The Best Years of Our Lives, Odd Man Out and The World Is Rich.
The Guild of Television Producers and Directors was set up in 1953 with the first awards ceremony in October 1954, and in 1958 merged with the British Film Academy to form the Society of Film and Television Arts, whose inaugural meeting was held at Buckingham Palace and presided over by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
In 1976, HM The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Princess Royal and The Earl Mountbatten of Burma officially opened the organisation's headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London, and in March the Society officially became known as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).