Last week’s TVCCovidTalks could not have been better timed, as the world celebrated Cultural Diversity Day on the 21st May, we enjoyed an exceptional panel of women, sharing their experiences during lockdown & offering expert advice to all those keen to enter or progress within the Film & Television Industry.
Channel 4’s Head of Creative Diversity; Babita Bahal, BFI’s Industry Inclusion Executive; Melanie Hoyes, BBC’s Head of Creative Diversity; Miranda Wayland & ITV’s Head of Diversity; Ade Rawcliffe shared their concerns regarding the impact of closing productions for BAME creatives and what their respective organisations are doing to retain & support creatives during this challenging time & beyond.
Babita acknowledged the devastating global impact on the industry and the loss of work, further highlighting the negative impact on diverse talent whom may not have the same level of financial security or lack contacts and thus, will be more likely to leave the industry as they are least likely to be selected when productions commence again. Plans and strategies will need to be implemented to address this to ensure this is addressed. Babita reflected on the endless stream of zoom and skype meetings which have created a level playing field to some degree in which everyone is the same size square, it doesn’t matter where you are in the country accessibility is possible, and it’s important to find ways of working together.
Although diversity is ingrained at CH4 Babita revealed that the CH4 Academy has something in development & wants to ensure that BAME colleagues are networked into broadcasters and are able to access commissioners.
- Funding has been ring-fenced to ensure the inclusion of diverse voices.
- When a project is greenlit Babita can connect the indie with a pool of diverse talent and will follow up on the outcome.
- In regards to initiatives, it’s important to connect talent to opportunities so people come out with jobs which are being monitored.
Ade advised that ITV has had a 42% cut in advertising revenue but was upbeat about the opportunities to fight for survival and create new ways of doing things, further asserting that this pandemic has highlighted the level of inequality on a global scale. As a Trustee to The National Trust, Ade has gained insight regarding accessibility to outdoor space and moving forward informs we must focus on doing things that make a difference & has an impact.
- ITV furloughed as many freelancers as possible to ensure they received some form of income, additionally, broadcasters recently announced a production protocol to ensure staff can return to production safely.
- A £500,000 development fund for indies has been launched to encourage people to develop ideas that can go on tv once back in production. ITV are seeking the broadest range of non-COVID ideas, the remit will not change.
- Ade has very clear expectations as to what producers should supply and welcomes receiving feedback.
Miranda asserted that lockdown has enabled people to become more connected & conscious regarding challenges BAME, disabled freelance talent, and the BBC are very conscious about getting productions up & running. Practicalities regarding staff safety are imperative as BAME individuals are more susceptible to contracting and dying from Covid-19 and within a production space, it’s essential to be thoughtful about how people are being asked to work.
- Investment has doubled to ensure there’s concentrated support for indies outside London. Phenomenal BBC Academy team has been running training sessions and an indie survey was conducted to understand how BBC suppliers feel about working with the BBC.
- There was a component on diversity & inclusion which highlighted a lack of understanding on how to access diversity fund so work will be done on this.
- Speeding up the process between indies and commissioners.
- Commitment via CDN to double disability representation.
Melanie informs that BFI networks & advisory group discussions raised concerns that there may be a loss of momentum re-inclusion, if people close ranks and hire friends because they need work. BFI is keen to embed recovery plans to get people back on set safely and stay mindful that there are people disproportionality affected.
- BFI has initiatives for artists.
- BFI uses data to review and make changes.
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