London. It's a city at once equally open to all and closed to the majority depending on where you are and what you're doing. Located just off Piccadilly Circus and along the same stretch of road as the delightfully old school Fortnum & Mason and the wonderfully creative Royal Academy, BAFTA definitely falls into the second of those camps so when an opportunity arises to take a peek inside the sleek & movie-centric interior, it's not to be missed.
'For The Love of Film' is a small but fascinating – and most pleasingly, free – exhibition by photographer Phil Fisk whose work take you into a world normally reserved for those on film sets. Commissioned especially to show the talent, skill & imagination that goes into making a movie, a series of photographs are laid out inside the building while short films about Phil and his work play in adjacent spaces. Actors David Oyelowo, directors Terry Gilliam and casting director Nina Gold are just three of the subjects of Fisk's portraits along with producers, editors and cinematographers whose body of work includes films as varied as 'Harry Potter', 'Interstellar' and 'Suffragette' which gives you some idea of both the scope of Fisk's work and connections and the respect and standing with which he is thought of.
It won't take you long to get round and arriving after 11am meant we could look around in relative peace though it was getting busier when we left just before noon; the coffee bar was especially crowded as fellow film fans queued patiently for their caffeine & pastry fixes. The gallery & theatre spaces themselves are beautiful and a glimpse of both Bafta and Oscar statuettes in a glass case added a frisson of glamour and excitement to an otherwise grey day in January.
This particular exhibit is only open until 5pm Sunday January 31st but it's well worth signing up to BAFTA's weekly emails so that you can take full advantage of any future shows, screenings & talks; the movie capital of the world may be the City of Angels but there's no denying when it comes to film history, class & advancement, London – and BAFTA – can more than hold their own.