The BFI has opened a £1m Diversity Fund to support individuals and organisations and launched the “Three Ticks”, a groundbreaking diversity “standard” which all projects receiving lottery funding will had to adhere to.
The £1m BFI Diversity Fund and the introduction of BFI Diversity Standards across all Film Fund Lottery funding schemes including film development, production, distribution and audience development was enthusiastically welcomed by BFI funded partners who will be adopting them over the next 12 months. Underpinning the BFI Diversity Standards is a new BFI definition of diversity, applicable across all BFI Lottery funded projects: to recognise and acknowledge the quality and value of difference.
Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey said: “We need to make sure that our fantastic film industry reflects the wonderfully diverse nature of UK society today. The BFI is a tremendous champion of diversity, and this new fund will be instrumental in helping the industry as a whole continue to build on all that has been achieved so far.”
The BFI’s £1m BFI Diversity Fund opens November 2. The fund is to help inspire and provoke positive changes across UK film by providing opportunities for individuals working across the industry to benefit from professional development to help support their careers, and supporting companies and organisations to show leadership in diversity and the many opportunities that it holds for UK filmmakers, audiences and industry.
“Art itself is borne of diversity, of celebrating the different,” said BFI CEO, Amanda Nevill. “As our most accessible and powerful art form, film must reflect the society in which it is made and tell stories that speak to the many different people who exist within that society. That isn’t an optional extra or a nice to have – it’s a moral and social imperative and, by ensuring audiences are served with films they want to see, it also makes good business sense.”
The BFI Diversity Fund complements the BFI’s work to bring diverse new talent into the film industry. The BFI Film Academy, supported by the Department for Education and the National Lottery, helps around 1,000 young people per year and is working successfully to bring through a diverse range of talented 16-19 year olds from across the UK, of the 47 BFI Film Academy network courses, 40 are outside London.
In the UK-wide courses, 27% of the participants were from BAME communities, 11% were in receipt of free school meals and 6% worked with a disability. In specialist BFI Film Academy residential courses, 28% of participants were from BAME communities and for the craft skills course at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) it was 24%.
The “Three Ticks” was introduced as a 12-month pilot last year and will now be formally known as the BFI Diversity Standards. So far, 15 productions have received support from the BFI since Three Ticks was launched, including Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s Notes on Blindness, Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, Michael Lennox’s A Patch of Fog, Andrew Steggall’s Departure, Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, and Colm McCarthy’s She Who Brings Gifts.
Developed by the BFI and designed to address diversity in relation to race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation and socio-economic status, Three Ticks encourages diverse representation across the workforces and in the portrayal of under-represented stories and groups on screen in BFI Film Fund supported productions.
Since commencing her role in June 2015, BFI Diversity Manager, Deborah Williams, has undertaken an audit of the Three Ticks pilot. Informed by this work, the guidelines have been further developed to include a new category for BFI Audience funds (including the Distribution Fund, Programme Development Fund and Festival Fund), and to ensure the guidelines engage with and challenge the industry in a constructive manner, to make a strong and long-lasting impact to diversifying the UK film industry in the round.