Film Diversity Action Group welcomes Lenny Henry proposal

The Film Diversity Action Group (FDAG) welcomes the proposal put by Sir Lenny Henry, Adrian Lester, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, David Oyelowo and others calling for tax incentives to stimulate greater diversity in front and behind the camera in UK film and television.

The proposal was put in a letter delivered to Downing Street yesterday, November 6th.

FDAG has drafted its own proposal that existing tax credits should be withheld from film productions that do not meet minimum targets for diversity. The FDAG plan looks for two-stage implementation over a period of 12 years, by which time qualifying films would have to demonstrate that 15% of the production team overall and in each below-the-line department was of BAME origin. In the meantime, measures would have to be taken in education and training to ensure a supply of eligible BAME recruits.

“The thought process and the motivation behind the two proposals are very similar,” said Terry Ilott, chair of the FDAG steering committee. “The key differences are that the Lenny Henry proposal offers a carrot where we wield a stick and the Henry proposal addresses gender and disability as well as ethnicity. We concern ourselves solely with ethnicity. In the various pick-and-mix efforts to foster greater diversity in film and television, the BAME community has tended to get left behind.”

FDAG has called upon the Secretary of State at the DCMS and the Minister for Culture, Communication and the Creative Industries to convene a working party to consider both proposals and to hear from the BFI and others who are already doing positive work in this area.

FDAG has also recommended that, with immediate effect, diversity data should be included in the paperwork required for film certification.

It has further called for a Diversity Monitor to track diversity data across individual productions, sectors and segments of the industry and to publish its results quarterly.

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