The British Independent Film Awards is making some changes for its 25th anniversary, going gender-neutral with its acting categories as it also adds new performance awards, a new debut director category for feature documentaries, and two new music prizes.
In doing away with “actress” and “actor” honors, BIFA joins other orgs that have recently made the change including the Berlin Film Festival, the MTV Movie Awards and the BRITs.
BIFA says it will now present five acting awards: Best Lead Performance, Best Supporting Performance, Best Joint Lead Performance — for two (or exceptionally three) performances that are the joint focus of a film — and Best Ensemble. BIFA’s established Breakthrough Performance award (which was already non-gender specific) remains unchanged.
The Lead and Supporting Performance categories will have up to 10 nominees each while the Joint Lead Performance and Ensemble races will include up to five.
In addition, BIFA is adding a Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary category, to sit alongside the Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director. The latter will now be for fiction features only. The prize for Best Music, which previously recognized both original composition and music supervision, will be separated into Best Original Music and Best Music Supervision.
BIFA Directors Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace commented, “We’re very excited to be able to launch BIFA’s new expanded awards categories which will more fully capture the range of exceptional performances and acting talent in British independent film and allow us to celebrate even more talent than ever before.”
The 2022 nominations will be announced on November 3 and the ceremony will take place on December 4.
BIFA has also welcomed new members to its Board of Directors including award winning producer and head of Home Team, Dominic Buchanan; Carmen Thompson, cultural curator for We Are Parable and producer at Aya Films; and Tim Platt, Head of Marketing and Audience Growth at the British Film Institute.
New dates for BIFA’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training, running from July until January 2023 are confirmed. The program of training includes Anti-Bullying and Harassment, Fair Recruitment in the Workplace and Unconscious Bias courses. It is supported by ScreenSkills’ Film Skills Fund with contributions from UK film production. Also new for 2022 is Budgeting & Scheduling for Virtual Production in partnership with Treehouse Digital supported by ScreenSkills as part of the BFI Future Film Skills program using funds from the National Lottery.