BAFTA Awards introduce new diversity criteria

  • Words: Spindle

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has got serious about diversity in the film industry, announcing last week that from 2019, films that do not reflect inclusivity in their production will not be eligible for two of the main BAFTA Awards. In order to be considered for Outstanding British Film or Outstanding Debut by a British writer, director or producer, films must prove they have worked to increase diversity in two of the four areas: on-screen characters and themes, senior roles and crew, industry training and career progression, and audience access and appeal to under-represented audiences.

The changes comply with the diversity standards that the British Film Institute (BFI) introduced in 2014 as a guide for the projects they fund in an effort to diversify filmmaking. BAFTA have also changed the rules for new members joining its awards judging panel, so that those working in the industry no longer have to be recommended by two existing members in order to join. “This widens the pool of potential members and ensures that it’s only talent, and not also who you know, that enables BAFTA membership,” said a statement.

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This change in eligibility from BAFTA will help more ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, women, and those from lower socio-economic groups succeed in the industry. The aim is also to improve representation on screen by making it more diverse, inclusive, varied, and reflective of Britain’s multicultural population, as well as to improve audience appeal. After this year’s backlash against the Academy Awards, with #OscarsSoWhite going viral, it’s great to see BAFTA taking real steps towards achieving diversity and inclusivity in film. It’s just a shame they haven’t applied the criteria across all their awards, and that we have to wait until 2019, seeing that a lack of diversity is a pressing issue in the industry.