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British Film Institute Enforcing Diversity Standards

What's British for "two thumbs way up?"


The British Film Industry announced today that projects wishing to receive funding must first meet industry guidelines designed to foster diversity both on-screen and behind the scenes. If money has to talk, at least it’s saying something useful for once.

The new diversity quotas will operate on a “three-tick” principle, and require participating productions to meet at least “two ticks” by showcasing a wider swath of socioeconomic backgrounds as well as disabled persons and individuals of different races and sexual orientations. In addition to qualifying productions for BFI funding, under the new measures producers who meet standards will have an opportunity to enter a lottery to fund greater diversity in their projects.

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey will host an industry meeting today explaining the criteria, and told Screen Daily that he hopes the BFI’s stance will encourage similar organizations to hold themselves accountable to a higher standard:

This initiative from the BFI should help raise the bar and ensure BFI lottery funded film productions reflect diversity both in front and behind the camera.

I want to continue to see the TV, film and the performing arts industries actively discussing how they can drive change and improve diversity right across these sectors.  I hope others will follow the BFI in developing and implementing possible solutions.

The new standards were implemented back in September. Screen Daily says qualifying UK productions released since then include Belle, Pride, Suffragette, The Selfish Giant, and Philomena. It’s sad that a financial incentive is needed to encourage greater representation in the industry, but judging from the integrity of the films that have met criteria so far, the message behind the BFI’s decision hasn’t been obscured by the monetary bottom-line.

Previously in the times are a changin’? Maybe? Hopefully?

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