The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) announced today that it will do away with the ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ moniker for its performance awards, opting instead for gender-neutral lead and supporting performance categories. The group will also add two new acting sections, debut director for documentaries and two music awards.
This move follows several orgs who have done the same, including the MTV TV & Movie Awards, the Berlin Film Festival and GALECA, the Society for LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.
BIFA’s five acting awards are now: Best Lead Performance, Best Supporting Performance, Best Joint Lead Performance — for two (or exceptionally three) performances that are dual leads of a film — and Best Ensemble. The Breakthrough Performance award (which, like BAFTA, was already a non-gendered awards) stays the same. 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.
For its new awards, BIFA is adding a Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary category. The Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director remains for narrative feature debuts. The award for Best Music, which previously nominated both original composition and music supervision, will be separated into Best Original Music and Best Music Supervision.
Said BIFA Directors Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace, “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.”
New dates for BIFA’s vital 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, and 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.
BIFA has welcomed new members to its Board of Directors. 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.
The 25th BIFA nominations will be announced on November 3, 2022 and the ceremony will take place on December 4, 2022. Last year, Belfast lead the BIFA nominations but was shut out completely from wins, where Aleem Khan’s After Love was the top prize getter with six awards including Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Debut Director and Best Screenplay – all for Khan – as well as Best Actress for Joanna Scanlan and Best Supporting Actor for Talid Ariss.
BIFA 2022 PERFORMANCE CATEGORIES
Best Lead Performance
For performance in a lead role. Up to 10 nominees.
Best Supporting Performance
For performance in a supporting role. Up to 10 nominees.
Breakthrough Performance sponsored by Netflix
For UK performers taking their first lead or significant supporting role in a theatrical feature film. Five nominees.
Best Joint Lead Performance
For two (or exceptionally three) performances that are the joint focus of the film, especially where performances share a large number of scenes and screen time. Up to five nominees.
Best Ensemble Performance
For an ensemble performance including lead(s) and exceptional supporting performers OR two or more performers in supporting roles who share significant scenes and screen time. Up to five nominees.
OTHER NEW CATEGORIES
Best Debut Director – Feature Documentary
For a British director for their debut feature documentary. Previous television or fiction feature credits do not disqualify an individual from consideration.
Best Music Supervision
For films in which sourced music makes up at least 40% of the film’s music soundtrack.
Best Original Music sponsored by Universal Music Publishing Group
For films in which original score makes up at least 40% of the film’s music soundtrack.
Rules and eligibility information for entering films into the 2022 Awards can be found here.