In a bold move, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has raised its standards to be considered for two of its top prizes: Outstanding British Film and Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director, or Producer. To qualify, films will have to meet specific criteria set by the British Film Institute that show that films are diverse either in front of or behind the camera. This progressive action comes in stark contrast to the Academy Awards, which were harshly criticized for nominating only white actors for best and best supporting categories for the second year in a row. The #OscarsSoWhite media storm may have helped fuel this change by BAFTA, and we here at the 3As could not be more supportive.
This prioritization of diversity by BAFTA shows filmmakers around the world that it is no longer enough to continue the status quo. We believe policies such as this are a necessary step toward ensuring marginalized voices get heard. It’s important not to overlook the fact that films that require an all white cast (for a historical film, for example) can still qualify by opening up opportunities to women and filmmakers of color. Ensuring production crews are inclusive creates space for emerging storytellers to gain valuable experience and industry connections.