If you are applying for BFI funding, the standards application is part of the main funding application. For all other projects applying for the Standards, please email diversitystandards@bfi.org.uk for an application form.

All applicants need to meet the criteria of at least two of the four standards detailed below, with the exception of BFI development funding applicants who should meet at least one of the four standards.

Standard C is compulsory for all applicants, with the exception of applicants for BFI development funding. Concessions may also be made for projects with very small teams

Standard D is compulsory for exhibitors, film festivals, distributors and other organisations applying for the standards with activities that benefit audiences. It is also an additional category for productions that have a distributor or broadcaster attached.

Applicants for the BFI Vision Awards or any type of BFI NETWORK short film funding are not required to complete the full standards form, but need to answer a question on how their projects will achieve the aims of the standards and work to address under-representation in the industry.

Standard A: onscreen representation, themes and narratives

Detail how the project, film or programme will address under-representation in the lead and secondary characters, talent or contributors, casting choices, the main and secondary storylines, themes and narratives and where the project is set.

Identify where there are unfamiliar characters or themes and narratives that are not frequently portrayed on screen or are shown from a new perspective. Describe where there are complex and non-stereotypical representations of characters, talent or contributors who are normally relegated to two-dimensional roles. Detail the perspective of the narrative or theme of the project and how this affects the way in which characters, talent or contributors are portrayed.

To achieve Standard A you will need to meet three of the following criteria

A1 Lead characters / contributors / presenters / voice artists

At least one of the lead characters / contributors / presenters / voice artists are from an under-represented group(s).

A2 Other characters / contributors / presenters / voice artists / competitors

The total of your secondary or more minor on-screen individuals meet one, or more, of the following targets:

  • a 50-50 gender balance
  • 20% belonging to an under-represented ethnic group
  • 10% LGBTQ+
  • 7% D/deaf and disabled
  • significant amount of contributors or competitors resident in the UK outside of London and the South East of England
  • significant amount of contributors or competitors are from a lower socioeconomic background

In addition, for scripted films and programmes, you should indicate these characters’ roles in the story and where applicable explain where there are characters that are not frequently portrayed on-screen or are offering non-stereotypical representation.

A3 Main storyline / subject matter

The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film or programme is about under-represented group(s). Series or screening programmes should demonstrate diversity across the majority of programmes in order to meet A3, not just a single episode or element.

A4 Other storylines / subject matter

There are other elements of your storyline(s) or subject matter that are about under-represented group(s).

A5 Location

For scripted films and programmes: the setting is wholly, or partially, in an under-represented region or community. If your project is an animation that offers relevant representation, please detail how the world or place will be represented.

For factual and entertainment programmes: filming should be wholly, or partially, on location or inside a studio outside of London and the South East of England.

A6 Casting decisions

Casting choices that address under-representation and challenge tropes and stereotypes.

Standard B: Creative leadership and project team

Detail how the project, film or programme will address under-representation in its creative leadership, project team or crew. Identify the roles filled by people from an under-represented group, and the underrepresented group they are from.

Where shortlisted or approached people are from under-represented groups, you can also detail these. If there is more than one person in any role, you may describe how multiple under-represented individuals are being employed in this role.

Where it is too early in the process to confirm who you are hiring for roles, or you are in the process of recruiting, we would expect to see clarity of intention in regards to searching for staff from under-represented groups. Where possible your application should also demonstrate how you are changing your recruitment practices: how, when and where are you recruiting? Are interview venues and workplaces accessible? Do you offer additional support for specific access requirements, including travel? Are specific interventions being made for primary caregivers such as job-share opportunities, on-set childcare, flexible working arrangements?

You will not be asked to identify individuals by name.

Please note that, where the total crew or project team size is less than 25 (such as documentaries, micro-budget features, smaller festivals and screening programme projects), allowances will be made in terms of number of people required to meet a criteria.

To achieve Standard B you will need to meet three of the following criteria

B1 Department heads

At least three of the following heads of department or creative leadership are from under-represented groups:

For film: composer; costume designer; director; director of photography; editor; producer; production designer; writer

For TV: animation director; art director; composer; costume designer; creator; director; director of photography; editor; executive producer; head of production; post production supervisor; producer; production designer; production executive; senior animator; series director; series editor; series producer; show runner; storyboard supervisor; technical director; writer; vfx supervisor

If you are applying for a project that is not a film or a television production, you can detail any other department heads not listed above.

B2 Other key roles

At least 6 other key roles (mid-level crew/team and technical positions) are filled by someone from an under-represented group.

B3 Other project staff

At least one or more of the following targets are met for the overall crew or project staff:

• a 50-50 gender balance

• 20% target for those identifying as belonging to an under-represented ethnic group

• 10% target for those identifying as LGBTQ+

• 7% target for those identifying as D/deaf and disabled

• significant amount of crew / staff resident in the UK outside London and South East England

of England

• significant amount of crew / staff from a lower socioeconomic background

B4 Regional employment

The film, programme or project offers substantial local employment in the UK outside London and South East England.

Standard C: Industry access and opportunities

Detail how your project, film or programme addresses under-representation in relation to paid roles such as internships, apprenticeships and specialist adviser roles, trainee roles, work experience opportunities, promotions and ‘first job’ roles and mentoring — in all cases these need to be filled by people from under-represented groups. Detail any specific interventions being made for primary caregivers e.g. job-share opportunities, on-set childcare, flexible working arrangements.

You will not be asked to identify individuals by name.

Standard C is compulsory for all applicants, except projects at development stage.

Concessions may also be made for programmes and projects with small teams (25 people or less). 

To achieve Standard C you will need to achieve two of the following criteria

C1 Paid employment opportunities

Your project is offering paid employment opportunities (such as apprenticeships, internships, expert advisers and similar) to people from under-represented groups.

C2 Training opportunities and skills development (craft, creative and business) including one-off, bespoke and student work-experience opportunities

Your project is offering training opportunities (including work experience and other opportunities such as skills/craft development for crew and staff coming from outside of the industry, on-set and one-off training) to people from under-represented groups.

C3 Promotion to a role that constitutes career progression

Crew/team members from under-represented groups are given a role that constitutes career progression.

C4 First job in a role that constitutes career progression from prior training

Crew/team members from an under-represented group are given their first professional (non-trainee) role on the project.

C5 Meaningful, structured mentoring programmes

Mentorship programmes for people from under-represented groups are being run as part of the project, either as part of a structured mentorship over the course of the project; as part of a wider mentorship programme run by the company; or where a HOD or creative from the project acts as a mentor within a wider programme and their mentee(s) has some involvement with the project.

Standard D: Audience development

Detail the promotional and marketing strategies that will enable your film, project or programme to access under-served audiences, including those in regions outside of London. Highlight access interventions that go beyond statutory requirements or the obligations of UK broadcasters (BSL, subtitles, audio description). The application should demonstrate a real commitment to making a venue, festival, event, film release or programme broadcast accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Standard D is compulsory for exhibitors, film festivals, distributors and other organisations delivering activities that benefit audiences. It is also an additional category for productions that have a distributor or broadcaster attached.

To achieve Standard D you will need to meet two of the following criteria

D1 Disability access and materials

Access interventions are provided that go beyond statutory requirements or the obligations of UK broadcasters (BSL, subtitles, audio description). A real commitment to making a venue, festival, event, film release or programme broadcast accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

D2 Under-served audiences

The target audience(s) of a project is an under-served audience group, with a clear strategy to reach them.

D3 UK regional or national audiences outside central London

There is a clear strategy to add value and to engage audiences from outside of central London.

D4 Promotional and marketing strategies

There is a clear strategy to engage the under-served audience(s) you have referenced in D2 including marketing; events; outreach; online strategies; educational content; App, game or VR content; or targeted pricing strategies.

D5 Partnerships utilising specialist and/or expert knowledge

The project utilises specialist and/or expert knowledge in order to engage the under-served audience(s) you have referenced in D2.

Supporting documents

To assist us in assessing your application, we will review supporting documents provided as part of your main BFI funding application or, if you have not applied for funding, we may request further documentation from you.

If you are applying for funding purposes, elements of your diversity standards application will be shared with the relevant BFI team.

Contact us for questions, further resources and access assistance

If you would like to contact us, require assistance filling in our form or need directions to further resources please email diversitystandards@bfi.org.uk or call Julia Brown (Diversity Standards Manager) on 020 7173 3273.