Broadcast and sister publication Screen International, in collaboration with Creative Skillset and FilmLondon, are to host a one-day forum aimed at improving diversity in the UK film and TV industries.
Diversify, a free one-day event at BAFTA on November 13, will be chaired by C4 diversity executive and BFI board member Baroness Oona King.
It will bring together leading film and TV industry professionals, government policy makers, screen talent and pressure groups to tackle a range of topics including on-screen portrayal, women in film and TV, the extent to which the industries are a closed shop, and the loss of black talent to the US (in a panel co-hosted with the RTS).
In addition, there will be panels addressing practical ways to improve diversity both in front of and behind the camera and an ask the experts session.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Aaqil Ahmed, BBC commissioning editor religion and head of religion and ethics
- Amma Asante, director
- Gurinder Chadha, director
- Danny Cohen, director, BBC Television
- Dylan Duffus, actor,
- Sally El Hossaini, director
- Justin Edgar, co-founder 104 Films
- Rioch Edwards Brown, founder, So You Wanna Be In TV?
- Lorraine Heggessey, chair, Boom Pictures
- Lenny Henry, actor
- Anna Higgs, commissioning executive, Film4.0
- Bettany Hughes, historian and broadcaster
- Damian Jones, producer
- Elizabeth Karlsen, producer and chair Women and Film and TV
- Kwame Kwei-Armah, actor
- Derren Lawford, commissioning executive, London Live
- Kate O’Connor, deputy CEO, Skillset
- Femi Oguns, CEO, Identity Drama School and Identity Agency Group
- Simone Pennant, The TV Collective
- Ben Roberts, director, BFI Film Fund
- Debora Sathe, Film London head of talent development and production
- Donna Taberer, head of public services partnerships, BBC Academy
- Penny Woolcock, director
- Pat Younge, chief creative officer, BBC
Additional panelists will be confirmed in coming days.
Geography, age, sex, sexuality, class and race all still have a disproportionate bearing on influence and employment in the film and TV industries, both in front of and behind the camera.
“This event will be one of the most significant of its type and is a must-attend for anyone concerned with equality in the workplace,” said Baroness Oona King.
In July, Creative Skillset’s eighth Employment Census revealed a troubling decline in the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds working in the creative industries.
Creative Skillset’s latest Employment Census shows representation among black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME) within the TV, film and creative sector fell more than 15% between 2009 and 2012, from 12,250 in 2009 to 10,300 in 2012.
The report highlighted an increase in the number of women in the creative industries in recent years but revealed that women still only account for 36% of the permanent workforce.
The picture for women directors was bleaker, with men accounting for 92.2% of directors on UK films in 2012, an increase of more than 7% year-on-year. This translates to 165 male directors in 2012 compared to 14 women directors.
Broadcast editor Lisa Campbell said: “Following the success of Broadcast’s ongoing Expert Women campaign, which has helped raise awareness of the gender imbalance and seen new training initiatives, we wanted to expand its remit to other under-represented groups.
We want to work with the industry to give more people a chance to succeed and to broaden the talent base and range of ideas, benefiting both businesses and viewers alike.”
Screen International editor Wendy Mitchell commented: “Diversity in the UK film industry is a topic Screen has tackled in stories and roundtable discussions in previous years, but now seems like the perfect time to delve deeper into the deficit both on screen and behind the camera.
“We were saddened to read the recent Skillset data that diversity is slipping in some areas in the UK, and that’s what spurred us to take action with our sister publication Broadcast to bring the experts together to talk about the current issues and how we can create a brighter future with more equality for all people from all backgrounds to work in the booming British film industry.”
The announcement of the forum comes one week after a number of high profile developments in the diversity debate, with Homeland star David Harewood warning that the UK is losing black actors to the US because of a lack of strong roles and the French film industry and government signing a sex equality charter aimed at ensuring equal pay for women, an end to gender stereotypes and 50:50 female to male ratios on festival and funding commissions.
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