BAFTA backs diversity

From 2019, only inclusive films will be eligible for awards.

by Jennie Kermode

BAFTA
BAFTA Photo: Rev Stan

In the aftermath of last year's #OscarsSoWhite protests and ongoing concern from organisations like GLAAD about the under-representation of some groups of people, BAFTA has announced that, from 2019, films that are not 'diverse' will not be eligible for its awards. The move, which has taken the industry by surprise, was foreshadowed by the BFI's 2014 decision to place similar restrictions on eligibility for National Lottery funding.

What does 'diverse' mean in this context? BAFTA wants films to be inclusive in at least two of four key areas: in their characters and themes; in the make-up of their cast and crew; in the industry training and career progression they contribute to; and in the audience they reach out to. Their inclusiveness can focus on people from any under-represented groups, which in some roles includes women or people from poor backgrounds.

BAFTA has been working to institute similar changes among its own membership. It has said that it hopes its new policy will change the balance of people and stories we see represented onscreen.

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