BAFTA Awards change eligibility requirements to encourage diversity

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is doing its part to ensure diversity in film.

Starting in 2019, the BAFTA Awards will be changing its criteria so that in order to be eligible for the awards for "Outstanding British Film" and "Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer," the films will need to make an effort to exhibit diversity.

According to NBC, the productions will have to show that they have made an effort to include underrepresented groups including minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, women and people of lower socioeconomic status. These groups must be shown in two or more of the following categories: on-screen representation, theme and narratives, project leadership/creative practitioners, industry access and opportunities and opportunities for diversity in audience development.

The British film industry has made numerous strides towards inclusivity in recent years. Back in 2014, the British Film Institute implemented diversity standards for filmmakers seeking funds from The National Lottery.

Slate reports that this new development has already started drawing comparisons between BAFTA and its American Equivalent, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which garnered the ire of the general public when it presented yet another all-white list of nominees in early 2016. The Academy did make some less radical changes such as shortening the voting members term to 10 years and adding three governors' seats, which are intended to be filled by members of underrepresented groups. Only time will tell if the Academy plans to follow the lead of its peers across the pond.


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