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BAFTA Research Spurs Action on Diversity

Variety logo Variety 2/7/2017 Leo Barraclough
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts published research Tuesday that looks at factors that lead to successful careers in film, TV and games for folks from under-represented groups. BAFTA has used the results to inform several initiatives.

The research, commissioned with Creative Skillset and the British Film Institute, involved interviews with entertainment business professionals from under-represented groups, as well as interviews and focus groups with employers, heads of departments and talent agents. Among those contributing were “Moonlight” actress Naomie Harris and actor Riz Ahmed, who appears in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

The report, “Succeeding in the Film, Television and Games Industries: Career Progression and the Keys to Sustained Employment for Individuals From Under-Represented Groups,” is available at http://bit.ly/BAFTACareersReport2017.

The study found that a number of factors play a part in enabling professionals from under-represented groups to sustain their career. These include:

ongoing learning and skills development;

building relationships with potential champions and collaborators;

developing strategies to overcome negative experiences.

“The research confirmed that company structures, recruitment practices and mind-sets do create additional barriers, but the good news is that employers acknowledged the role that they and the wider industry can play in removing such obstacles,” according to a statement.

“Based on the findings, BAFTA is developing new initiatives, practices and policies, and enhancing existing ones, to address the points highlighted.”

In December, BAFTA announced that it is adding the BFI Diversity Standards to the eligibility criteria for the Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director of Producer categories of the Film Awards in 2019. The Standards can be applied to on-screen representation, project leadership and industry access, as well as audience development.

Other initiatives from BAFTA include:

BAFTA Elevate – A new bespoke program that aims to help elevate individuals from under-represented groups to the next stage of their career. This year, BAFTA Elevate will support a group of female directors seeking to progress in high-end television and feature films. The program will include networking, introductions, mentoring, and expert workshops focused on personal development. BAFTA Elevate is delivered in association with Pia Pressure, a production company that champions female filmmakers. Applications are open now until March 13 at http://www.bafta.org/supporting-talent/bafta-elevate.

BFI NETWORK X BAFTA Crew: BAFTA is working with the BFI to enhance the BAFTA Crew professional network and masterclass program by connecting emerging below-the-line talent with writers, directors and producers on the way to making their first feature films. BAFTA Crew involves live and online masterclasses and networking sessions with BAFTA winners and nominees, and actively encourages participation from individuals from under-represented groups. Applications for BFI NETWORK X BAFTA Crew, and for BAFTA Crew Games, open Wednesday and close on March 22 at http://guru.bafta.org/opportunities/baftacrew.

Guru Labs at Guru Live: Aspiring film, TV and games talent with up to one years’ professional experience will have the chance to receive a day of bespoke one-to-one meetings and small gatherings with top industry speakers at BAFTA’s Guru Live event for career starters in May. Guru Live, an extension of BAFTA Guru (www.bafta.org/guru), BAFTA’s online resource, will run from May 5-7 at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly in London, and will feature masterclasses, panels and keynote talks by professionals including many who are from a group under-represented in their field. Applications for Guru Lab tickets are open now until March 1 at http://bit.ly/GuruLabs.

BFI NETWORK@FLARE — Mentorships in partnership with BAFTA: For a second year, BAFTA will support delivery and provide mentors for BFI NETWORK@FLARE, the LGBT Mentorship Program, which aims to offer emerging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-identified filmmakers the opportunity to develop industry knowledge, professional connections, and a deeper understanding of the landscape for LGBT film.

The program is structured around a professional relationship with a senior figure from the industry and engagement in a year of BFI Flare and BFI London Film Festival screenings, and a wide range of filmmaker-focused and social events and talks. Applications are open now at http://bit.ly/FlareMentorships17 and close on Feb. 19.

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