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 BAFTA and BIFA applications. Concessions may also be made for programmes and projects with very small teams including BFI development funding applicants.

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.

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.