This year’s Bafta (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) film awards will be the first to take place since the organisation introduced a new set of eligibility rules, designed to increase diversity in the films it honours.
In 2016, Bafta announced that, in order to qualify in two of its award categories – outstanding British film, and outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer – films must conform to the BFI’s Diversity Standards. These were established in 2014 to increase the participation and representation of minorities and socially disadvantaged people in British film, and involve a “three tick” system covering content and personnel, intended to ensure that only qualifying films can access lottery funding.
Time - Bafta - Changes - Membership - Process
At the same time, Bafta announced changes in its membership process designed to increase the percentage of women and ethnic minorities, after an anonymous membership survey in January 2016 found that 41% were female, 13% minority ethnic, and that the median age was 52. In 2017, Bafta said these figures had changed to 43% and 18% respectively, with a median age of 44. More recent figures are not yet available, but the newest intake, in December 2018 – including actors such as Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Warwick Davis and Hayley Squires – appeared to continue the trend.
Anna Smith, chair of the London film critics circle and host of the Girls on Film podcast, is encouraged by the changes but dismayed by the Bafta voters’ failure to nominate a single woman in the best director category. “I think – and hope – that the general climate now is encouraging all Bafta members, new and old, to be more open to stories that don’t centre around a white male lead. But the lack of female directors nominated in the directing category is very disappointing.”
Smith - Voting - Pool
Smith adds: “The voting pool is...
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A pox on both their houses!