Examining career success factors for under-represented groups

Research conducted by BAFTA and Creative Skillset with the BFI highlights key areas for supporting a diverse workforce.

Research conducted by BAFTA and Creative Skillset with the BFI highlights key areas for supporting a diverse workforce and career progression.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today published a research report, commissioned in partnership with Creative Skillset and the BFI, that examines the career success factors of film, television and games practitioners from under-represented groups. BAFTA is using the findings to inform several initiatives, which are now open for applications.

The research, which is the first of its kind, involved interviews with 50 professionals from under-represented groups, as well as interviews and focus groups with employers, heads of departments and talent agents. The resultant report, entitled Succeeding in the film, television and games industries: Career progression and the keys to sustained employment for individuals from under-represented groups can be downloaded here.

The study found that a number of factors play a part in enabling professionals from under-represented groups to sustain their career, regardless of their role. 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 mindsets 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. The report concludes by setting out current and planned activity from BAFTA, Creative Skillset and the BFI to support a more diverse workforce over the long term.

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 programme that aims to help elevate individuals from under-represented groups to the next stage of their career. In 2017 BAFTA Elevate will support a group of female directors seeking to progress in high end-television and feature films. The programme will include networking, introductions, mentoring, and expert workshops focussed on personal development. BAFTA Elevate is delivered in association with Pia Pressure, a production company that champions female filmmakers. Applications are open now until Monday 13 March.

  • BFI NETWORK X BAFTA Crew – BAFTA is working with the BFI to enhance the BAFTA Crew professional network and masterclass programme by connecting emerging ‘below-the-line’ talent from around the UK 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 tomorrow (Wednesday 8 February) and close on Wednesday 22 March.

  • 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, BAFTA’s online resource, will run from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 May 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, at a subsidised price of £40, are open now until Wednesday 1 Marc. Bursaries are available to support travel expenses for applicants in financial hardship.  

  • 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 Programme, 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 programme 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-focussed and social events and talks. Applications are open now and close on Sunday 19 February. Find out more on the BFI website.

Tim Hunter, Director of Learning and Events at BAFTA, said: "We welcome the findings of this research which, in examining the factors that help individuals from under-represented groups succeed, also puts into sharp focus some of the issues that can create a barrier to success. Alongside our partners, we are working to reduce and remove those barriers. Our events and initiatives offer support for progression through all stages of an individual’s career. We encourage anyone with a talent and passion for film, television or games to apply to take part.” 

Notes to editors

The main research involved anonymous in-depth interviews with 50 professionals, all from one or more groups under-represented in their field – women, those from a BAME group, disabled people, or individuals from a lower socio-economic background – who have successfully maintained their careers in film, television or games.

Named case study participants:

  • Riz Ahmed, actor (Four Lions, Nightcrawler, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)
  • Ron Bailey, sound mixer (The Mummy Returns, M.I. High, Silent Witness)
  • Amanda Foster, stunt artist (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Edge of Tomorrow)
  • Des Gayle, independent game developer and producer (FIFA franchise, Life Is Strange, Quarterback Club)
  • Jinx Godfrey, editor (Man on Wire, Project Nim, The Theory of Everything)
  • Naomie Harris, actor (28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Skyfall, Spectre, Moonlight, Collateral Beauty)
  • Jordan Hogg, drama director (Coronation Street, Casualty, The Evermoor Chronicles)
  • Jet Omoshebi, senior colourist (The Night Manager, Da Vinci’s Demons, Great Expectations)
  • Caroline O’Reilly, script supervisor and producer (Band of Brothers, An Education, In the Heart of the Sea, Foyle’s War, Doc Martin)
  • Helana Santos, games programmer (LA Cops, Epic Mickey 2, Ace of Spades, The Cat that Got the Milk, The Button Affair)

For further information, please contact:

Charlotte Inett, freuds
T: +44 (0)20 3003 6350
E: charlotte.inett@freuds.com

Soleil Zuanich at freuds
T: +44 (0)203 003 6489
E: Soleil.Zuanich@freuds.com

For images, logos, accreditation, transcripts and more, visit the BAFTA press page.

About BAFTA: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – featuring workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes – in the UK, USA and Asia; it offers unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent and connects with a global audience of all ages and backgrounds. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. To access the best creative minds in film, television and games production, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.

About Creative Skillset: Creative Skillset works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom. We support high quality professional development across TV, film and related sectors – identifying skills needs, targeting skills investment, developing key skills and growing diverse talent networks. Through our industry partnerships Creative Skillset helps to improve productivity, creativity and employability across the UK’s screen-based creative media industries.

About the BFI: The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK – investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world 
  • Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of National Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK.  It delivers this role:

  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.

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