Spielberg's Munich mired in Bafta awards muddle

DRM killed the video star

Steven Spielberg's Munich has effectively been knocked out of the running for next month's Bafta awards after a batch of DVDs sent to voters eligible to judge the UK award were coded incorrectly for European viewing. Copies of the film were earlier held up for a month in UK Customs.

When they finally made it out of cold storage British Academy of Film and Television Arts voters found they were encoded as Region 1 DVDs. That meant they would only be playable on multi-region DVD players. But the DVDs was encrypted so that they'd only play on proprietary DVD players supplied by Dolby-subsidiary Cinea so even that approach was doomed. A spokeswoman for Munich's distributors blamed a "lab error" for the SNAFU. She said UK screenings of the film would be arranged to make sure voters saw the film but it's unlikely there's enough time to arrange this properly before the second round of voting, which ends on Thursday.

Munich, which went into theatrical release in the US last month but is yet to air in the UK, is in running for Bafta's Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. The critically acclaimed thriller tells the story of Israel's campaign to assassinate Palestinian terrorist leaders suspected of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes after taking them hostage during the 1972 Munich Olympics. ®

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