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British Independent Film Awards Launches ‘Unconscious Bias’ Training Program

With awards nominee lists under increasing scrutiny, the British Independent Film Awards is launching a first-of-its-kind “unconscious bias” training program. All BIFA voting members, including juries, committees and the board, will complete the training ahead of this year’s awards.

The program is designed to educate hundreds of industry professionals to recognize how unconscious bias may affect their voting decisions. It will address assumptions made about female directors and stories focused on women, and whether greater weight is accorded to senior industry figures.

The training, which is backed by the British Film Institute, will also cover the ways that comedy writing is considered less favorably than drama, how critical and commercial success affect voting, and whether people give greater weight to stories that reflect their own experiences.

BIFA said the program will help voters reflect on their subliminal assumptions. By end-2018, 400 filmmakers, actors, industry executives, and critics will have received the training. The program will sit alongside BIFA initiatives to encourage a wider voting pool and to ensure its eligibility criteria provide opportunities for filmmakers and professionals from a variety of backgrounds.

“God’s Own Country,” “Lady Macbeth” (Florence Pugh, pictured), and “The Death of Stalin” were among the winners at last years BIFAs. This year’s event takes place on December 2, in London.

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