The Standards are a flexible framework which can be used for feature films, online and broadcast television content and a range of audience-facing activities such as film festivals, distribution releases and ambitious film programmes. They are a contractual requirement for all BFI funding, including fiction and documentary films funded via the BFI’s partners.
The under-represented groups we look at primarily relate to the protected characteristics as defined in the UK Equality Act 2010. In addition we seek to address under-representation in relation to regional participation, socioeconomic background and caring responsibilities. This isn’t a definitive list and we welcome applications from projects which address under-representation in ways not mentioned above.
Criteria and guidance
To achieve the Standards, projects must demonstrate commitment to inclusion and meet the criteria in at least two of the following four areas: A) on-screen representation, themes and narratives B) creative leadership & project team C) industry access & opportunities and D) audience development.
Achieving Standard C, which focuses on new entrants and development opportunities, is compulsory for all projects, apart from BFI development funding, some documentary films and factual or entertainment programmes with smaller crews, and BAFTA and BIFA applications. Applicants for short film funding are not required to complete the full Standards form, but need to answer a question on how their projects will deliver the aims of the Standards and work to address under-representation in the industry.
You can read the full Diversity Standards criteria on our dedicated webpage or by downloading the PDF below.
By challenging projects to meet the criteria, the Standards aim to encourage behavioural change and inspire project leaders to use more inclusive practices – both in creative content and recruitment.
If you are required to address the Standards as part of an application to an organisation other than the BFI, please use the application form below.
BFI fund applicants will find the Standards application form incorporated into the BFI application process, and so should not use this link. BIFA Short Film submissions do not need to complete this full application form.
The Diversity Standards have been adopted by Film4 and BBC Films, so are a requirement for the majority of public funding for film in the UK. Achieving the Standards is also an eligibility requirement for the BAFTA Film Awards categories for Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) has expanded their pilot of the Standards to all British feature film categories and the Best British Short Film award in 2019.
We are committed to working with the UK screen industries to voluntarily adopt the Standards by 2022, to ensure the sector is representative of the UK, both in terms of its workforce and the content it produces.
Advice and more information
Read about Recruitment and the Equality Act.
Explore practical resources — listing organisations and tools – which can assist projects in being more inclusive and achieve the Diversity Standards.
To find out more about the Standards or to discuss approaches to meeting the criteria, contact Julia Brown, Diversity Standards Manager in the BFI Certification Unit on +44 (0)20 7173 3273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.