Diversity Standards criteria

Applicants will be asked to demonstrate how their project contributes to reducing underrepresentation in the film industry in four distinct areas: A) on-screen, B) creative leadership, C) industry access and training opportunities and D) distribution and exhibition strategies.

The BFI Diversity Standards focus on the protected characteristics in the Equality Act, as well as socioeconomic background and regional participation outside London and the South East. However, this isn’t a definitive list and we welcome applications from projects which address underrepresentation in ways not mentioned above.

To achieve the Standards, applicants need to meet the criteria of at least two of the following four areas, and Standard C is compulsory for all projects, apart from BFI Development Funding, and BAFTA and BIFA applications.

Standard A: on screen representation, themes and narratives

This section considers the representation and recognition of specific groups on screen. For example, does the project present unfamiliar characters or themes that are not frequently portrayed on screen? Or does it offer a familiar story, character or theme from a new perspective? Are there complex representations of characters who are normally relegated to two-dimensional roles? What is the perspective of the narrative, and how does this affect how characters are portrayed?

There are six options in this section:

  • A1 Meaningful representations of diversity in main protagonists and/or antagonists
  • A2 Meaningful representations of diversity in primary or overall themes and narratives
  • A3 Meaningful or unfamiliar representations of diversity in secondary themes and narratives
  • A4 Meaningful representation of place (e.g. nations, regions or communities that are under-represented on screen)
  • A5 Meaningful representations of diversity in background and sundry characters who are pertinent to the narrative and themes
  • A6 Non-specific representation (e.g. casting not intrinsically based on or related to specific under-represented groups)

At least three of the six areas need to be addressed to meet Standard A.

Standard B: project leadership and creative practitioners

This section looks at where artistic leadership is delivered by individuals from one or more of the under-represented groups. Is this likely to have a positive outcome on the project? Does it introduce a new voice, or carry the potential to open doors that have historically been closed?

Where it is too early in the process to confirm roles, or you are in the process of recruiting, we would expect to see clarity of intention in regards to searching for diverse staff. 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?

Allowances will be made for projects with smaller teams (e.g. documentaries, smaller festivals and programme projects).

There are four options in this section:

  • B1 At least three of Director, Scriptwriter, Principal Producer, Composer, DoP, Editor, Costume Designer and Production Designer
    For Programmes and Festivals: where the artistic leadership is delivered by individuals from one or more of the under-represented groups
  • B2 At least six other key roles (which could be mid-level crew and technical positions, or other roles where there is existing under-representation)
    For Programmes and Festivals: at least six other key project staff
  • B3 At least half of all crew or project staff are a mix of under-represented groups, in a variety of departments and varying levels of seniority
  • B4 Productions located in the UK outside Greater London that demonstrate an intention to offer substantial local employment

At least two of the four areas need to be addressed to meet Standard B.

Standard C: industry access and opportunities

Achieving Standard C is compulsory for all projects, apart from BFI Development Funding, and BAFTA and BIFA applications. It considers the value of the work experience and development opportunities offered through the project and if possible, you should name the roles you would be looking to offer to trainees / apprentices, or name the individual who is going to progress to a more senior role.

For projects run by volunteers, please state how you will engage volunteers from one or more of the identified under-represented groups.

There are five options in this section:

  • C1 Paid employment opportunities (such as apprenticeships, internships, expert advisers)
  • C2 Training opportunities and skills development (craft, creative and business) including one-off, bespoke and student work-experience opportunities
  • C3 Promotion in a role that constitutes career progression for at least one crew/team member
  • C4 ‘First job’ in a role that constitutes career progression from prior training
  • C5 Meaningful, structured mentoring programmes

At least two of the five areas need to be addressed to meet Standard C.

Standard D: opportunities for diversity in audience development

This is a required section for exhibitors, film festivals, distribution awards and other funded activities that benefit audiences. It is also an additional category for film productions that have a distributor attached. Considerations will include the nature of the programme or film, the audience it is aimed at and any intended long-term impact.

There are five options in this section:

  • D1 Provision of disability materials and access above and beyond statutory requirements which demonstrate a real commitment to making a venue, festival, event, release etc. accessible to
  • as wide an audience as possible
  • D2 A strategic focus on one or more under-served audience groups
  • D3 Added value for audiences in a specific UK region or nation, or outside central London
  • D4 Reaching new audiences through alternative distribution and marketing strategies (e.g. VOD, special events, targeted pricing strategies)
  • D5 Partnership opportunities to reach under-served audiences, utilising specialist or expert knowledge

At least three of the five areas need to be addressed to meet Standard D.

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