Amanda Nevill • CEO, British Film Institute
“It's critical that we get diversity back behind the camera and on screen”
by Ernesto Leotta
- CANNES NEXT: A Directors UK-commissioned study revealed new insights into the true scale of gender inequality facing female film directors
Cineuropa sat down with British Film Institute (BFI) CEO Amanda Nevill, who shared her views about the current lack of gender equality in the industry (read about the Directors UK study here) and the way the BFI is acting in order to contain the phenomenon.
Cineuropa: What does the European film industry look like for female directors?
Amanda Nevill: We have a fantastic film culture in Europe, across all of the different countries, and the secret is simply having a diversified array of stories. I think there's a rising awareness that the industry is too male-dominated and too white. I'm afraid that the creativity and the art of our industry will suffer in the long term, and we'll no longer be producing some sorts of films that audiences really want to watch.
What kind of measures is the BFI taking in order to fight back?
There are a number of really strong commitments going on across Europe at the moment, and in the UK, the BFI is leading with a scheme called Three Ticks. It's simple: if we give you Lottery funding for any of your projects, you have to deliver opportunities for everybody within your project at every level – both in front of and behind the camera – and if you don't sign up to that, we're not going to give you any of that funding.
What's interesting is that there has been no resistance to this at all, because the industry knows that creativity comes from difference and from different stories, and I think the industry was looking at a way to inject this level of creativity into itself. We've revisited this sort of pilot, and we've amended and tightened up some areas, so this new initiative is constantly evolving.
I see a lot of real commitment and understanding, but as an industry delivering cultural and creative things for very broad audiences, we need to make sure that the broadness of the audience is reflected in the people that actually make the films themselves.
How would you judge the success of the initiative?
Success looks like a world where we are not having this conversation any more, where opportunities are open for everybody, where we don't have to have diversity standards, nor sessions about gender equality, because it's already there.
How do you see the landscape changing in the near future?
Will we get there by 2020? Maybe not, but things might be a lot better. Will we get there by 2030? I really hope so. If we don't, the consequences are quite stark for the economic performance of film. I think it's critically important that we get diversity back behind the camera and on screen if we really want films and television to be enjoyed by people across the world.
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