Top Image: Moonlight (2016) dir. Barry Jenkins
A new post, Head of Diversity, has been created and filled at the British Film Institute (BFI).
Jennifer Smith has been appointed to the role and is responsible for working on diversity and inclusion across all BFI activity. This is the latest step in a continuous effort to boost diversity within the industry. It’s part of a five-year plan, BFI2022, aiming to implement measures that place diversity and inclusion at the forefront. This includes a major new strategy that aims to create new opportunities for thousands of individuals, from all backgrounds, to join and progress within UK film.
Long-term criticism of the lack of diversity within the film industry reached fever pitch during the 2016 Oscars, where no actors of colour were nominated, for the second year running, resulting in #OscarsSoWhite going viral. At last year’s awards, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight winning Best Picture marked an important moment.
This step from the BFI is positive action and acts as part of a forward-thinking and long-term plan. Smith says that the new position is timely: “Lack of diversity and representation remain burning issues for the film and wider screen industries and I’m thrilled to be joining the BFI at a pivotal moment where we have a real opportunity to drive meaningful and lasting change. This is a fantastic opportunity to work in an inspiring and creative sector and I take my responsibility in this role very seriously. I’m looking forward to working closely with colleagues across the industry to forge new partnerships to effect change and prioritise the diversification of our workforce, both on and off screen.”