All Quiet On The Western Front writer frustrated Bafta speech cut from BBC edit

All Quiet On The Western Front screenwriter said it is “frustrating” her speech was cut during the BBC’s coverage of the EE Bafta film awards “especially” because she started the project 16 years ago.

The German language anti-war epic, directed by German filmmaker Edward Berger and based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque, triumphed on Sunday scooping seven prizes.

The movie, which took home the Bafta for best film and best director, broke Italian coming-of-age drama Cinema Paradiso’s record of five for the highest number of Baftas for a foreign language film.

Scottish-born athlete and filmmaker Lesley Paterson secured the rights to the novel All Quiet On The Western Front for screen adaptation 16 years ago alongside producer Ian Stokell.

On Sunday, the pair picked up the Bafta for best adapted screenplay, however, Paterson’s speech at London’s Royal Festival Hall did not make the final broadcast on BBC One, which aired slightly behind the ceremony until the final four awards.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, she said: “It’s definitely frustrating because it really does take a village to make a film and all of the team should be recognised, especially because we started this project so many years ago.

“But at the end of the day, I haven’t gotten this far by being negative about little things like that. I’m a positive positive person, I’m so, so happy with what’s happened, it is what it is and hopefully I’ll get to say a speech at the Oscars.”

BBC Breakfast presenter Jon Kay asked what she would like to be heard from her speech, later adding: “You’re live, unedited, speaking to the nation.”

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – London
All Quiet On The Western Front triumphed at the Baftas (Netflix/PA)

Paterson said: “I would say never give up on your dreams, fight for them all the way regardless of how big those dreams seem to other people.

“And, of course, I want to thank my family, my mum, my dad and my husband, Simon (Marshall), he played a massive role in this film and he’s my writing partner now and we have big projects ahead of us.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone. Please watch our film, pass it on to the younger generation. It’s such an important anti-war message and we could not be more honoured.”

Paterson said it had been a “tough journey” to get the novel made into a film, using her triathlon race winnings to renew the rights deal each year.

Speaking about a particular race in South America, she said: “I went into this race needing to win the money to pay for the novel and I actually broke my shoulder the day before the race.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – Press Room – London
Edward Berger poses with the award for film not in the English language for All Quiet On The Western Front (Ian West/PA)

“I needed the money but between my husband and I, we figured out can I actually get through the race with one arm?

“So I swam a mile with one arm and the other arm by my side and I propped my hands up on the handlebars for the bike and walked down any of the technical descents and then ran into the winds.

“So it was overly dramatic, a little bit like a movie itself to be honest.”

All Quiet On The Western Front was serialised in a newspaper in 1928 and published as a book the following year, with the Netflix film telling the story of a young German soldier on the Western Front in the First World War.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – Press Room – London
Ian Stokell and Lesley Paterson pose with their awards for adapted screenplay for All Quiet On The Western Front (Ian West/PA)

Paterson said: “This is beyond our wildest dreams to be honest. When we started this journey 16 years ago, it would have been very hard to have made a German-speaking language film and raise the finance for it.

“But with Netflix coming along, and the appetite for foreign film and regional film just going through the roof…

“Edward’s vision and the way that it was shot, it was so immersive. I think one of the biggest things that has been amazing for us is that the younger generation are loving this film.

“They are the ones that are telling their parents to watch it and with something that has such a strong message that needs to be heard, we could not be happier.”

Paterson said the film’s success was “unbelievable” for a foreign-speaking film adding: “What does that tell you about the sort of content that people are craving right now? Things that matter.”