Originally unveiled in 2016, new eligibility requirements for the BAFTA Film Awards are formally coming into effect. These concern the British film categories at the EE British Academy Film Awards in 2019 and going forward.
Following consultation with the BFI and a range of industry professionals, all entries into two British film categories — Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer — will be required to meet at least two of the four BFI Diversity Standards.
Those standards are a framework for measuring inclusion and representation. According to a statement, they “encourage everyone across the film value chain, particularly filmmakers, producers and distributors, to make meaningful changes to their projects to become more inclusive and as a result opening up more opportunities for people from all walks of life to watch and make films.”
The standards focus on under-represented groups across four areas: on-screen representation, themes & narratives; project leadership & creative practitioners; industry access & opportunities; and opportunities for diversity in audience development.
From 2019, entries for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer will be accepted if they can demonstrate their film has addressed and improved inclusion and representation in at least two of those areas.
The areas of under-representation the standards address are all the protected characteristics from the Equality Act 2010, as they pertain to the act. These are gender, gender identity, age, carers (including working parents), pregnancy/maternity, disability, race/ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation and marriage/civil partnerships. The standards also seek to address under-representation of people from lower socio-economic groups and ensure wide regional participation. For more, see here.
BAFTA encourages anyone with a UK film project at any stage of development and production to engage with the standards as soon as possible and consider what changes can be made to meet as many of the criteria as possible. In support, BAFTA and the BFI have set a number of roundtables and workshops to be held over the coming months.
Marc Samuelson, Chair of BAFTA’s Film Committee, says, “I am immensely proud of BAFTAs commitment to diversity across all its activities which support an open, accessible and inclusive industry. By embracing these standards for awards recognition we can build on the work already being done to improve representation, whilst maintaining BAFTAs standards of excellence for British film.”
Amanda Nevill, CEO of the BFI, adds, “Following a successful pilot we’re delighted BAFTA is formally incorporating this eligibility criteria – it demonstrates our shared commitment to creating a more representative UK industry. We want to encourage, educate and support the industry to embed the Diversity Standards across all decision making, which will bring real and lasting change needed to allow the UK’s screen industries to benefit from the cultural and commercial benefits that real inclusion brings.”
The rules and guidelines for the 2019 British Academy Film Awards are due to be published in August.