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BFI’s diversity ‘tick box’ test to win funding

MORE OF THIS ON THE MENU: The BFI hopes its new targets will ensure greater diversity in films such as Belle by Amma Asante (right) with the lead actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw

FILM COMPANIES have been told they must meet a new test to ensure ethnic minorities are better represented in order to be eligible for public money from the British Film Institute (BFI).

The BFI Film Fund – the largest in the UK – announced the ‘Three Ticks’ scheme on Monday (July 7) following criticism over diversity within the industry. It applies to disability, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

Under the new system, which starts in September, filmmakers must ‘tick’ at least two of three criteria: on-screen diversity, off-screen diversity and “creating opportunities and social mobility”. It will then be rolled out across all BFI lottery funding for film by 2015.

It will also recruit a diversity expert to support funded productions and provide guidance.

Director of the BFI Film Fund, Ben Roberts, said: “Diversity is and will continue to be one of the most challenging and persistent issues to address.

“The ‘three ticks' approach incentivises good practice and helps to embed diversity across every area of a film’s production, whilst being flexible enough to allow productions to make positive choices. Ideally we want to see the industry embracing the three ticks approach to ensure that the most talented are able to progress and succeed, whatever their background.”

Lobby group Creative Access welcomed the announcement. Founder Michael Foster said: “People from all parts of society contribute towards public funding that benefits the UK film industry, which is itself such a great representative of British society and its values.

“So it is right that on screen and behind the scenes, UK film companies become more representative of British society as a whole. Creative Access looks forward to introducing film companies to many talented BME young people, whom the sector desperately needs to stay relevant and succeed."

The BFI invests over £27million annually into film development, production, international sales and distribution, and supports around 30 new film productions each year.

Recent BFI Film Fund-backed productions include BAFTA winner Amma Asante’s Belle, currently on general release and, Gone Too Far from director Destiny Ekaragha and writer Bola Agbaje.

Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey added: “I want to continue to see the TV, film and the performing arts industries actively discussing how they can drive change and improve diversity right across these sectors. I hope others will follow the BFI in developing and implementing possible solutions.”

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THE THREE TICKS

1. On-screen diversity: diverse subject matter, at least one lead character positively reflecting diversity, at least 30 per cent of supporting and background characters positively reflecting diversity

2. Off-screen diversity: diverse key creatives (director, screenwriter, composer, cinematographer), at least two Heads of Department from diverse backgrounds, production crew and production company staff (both with a range of targets across different diverse groups)

3. Creating opportunities and promoting social mobility: paid internships and employment opportunities for new entrants from diverse backgrounds, training placements for people from diverse backgrounds, demonstrable opportunities for former trainees or interns to progress within their careers.

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