BFI reviews policy on unpaid interns

This item appeared in the BECTU journal Stage Screen and Radio recently:

Stage Screen & Radio April/May 2013

 BFI reviews internships

The British Film Institute is to review its practice of hiring unpaid interns after a campaign by Intern Aware which works closely with the union.  Gus Baker of Intern Aware was contacted in February by unemployed graduate Neil Jones.  He aspires to a career in the media and had applied for a BFI internship but had had to withdraw as he could not afford to work for no pay.  He told Intern Aware that 18 people were currently unpaid interns at the publicly funded organisation and he felt this was wrong.

Baker sent a freedom of information request to the BFI about compulsory redundancies which established that after the BFI had cut 72 jobs they appeared to have been replacing some of them with unpaid interns on up to six month contracts.

Questions were asked in the House of Commons and Culture Secretary Maria Miller responded that it was departmental policy that all interns receive the minimum wage.

The BFI board of governors tabled an emergency motion at their board meeting and have now agreed to review the practice of hiring unpaid interns to do work that should be carried out by paid staff.

Intern Aware is supported by BECTU and based out of BECTU head office.

Gus Baker said: “The BFI is a publicly funded body and should therefore uphold the highest standards.  I trust that they will come to their senses and start to treat interns appropriately in accordance with the Arts Council’s official guidance.”


BFI recruits partners for Film Academy Network

Posted in Variety yesterday:

BFI recruits partners for its Film Academy Network

Initiative will help train young people


The British Film Institute has announced the 24 regional partners in its BFI Film Academy Network, designed to help 16-to-19 year olds develop new skills and build a career in the film industry.

The program, part of the BFI’s “Film Forever: Supporting U.K. Film 2012-2017” plan unveiled in October, has received £3 million ($4.8 million) from the Dept. for Education in England.

The Film Academy Network will offer courses on development, production, post, marketing and PR, sales, distribution and exhibition to help young people develop commercial and cultural knowledge and skills they will need to start a career.

Participants who complete courses will be offered a range of opportunities including apprenticeships and employment.

“The new academy is open to young people from all backgrounds and will play its part in helping ensure the British film industry remains competitive,” said Michael Gove, secretary of state for education.

Over the next four months the partners, which come from a diverse range of film and media training bodies, universities and delivery experts in the cultural and education sector, will work alongside the BFI and its strategic partners, BAFTA, Creative Skillset and Pinewood Studios, to offer learning experiences to nearly 500 teens.

In March up to 50 highflyers will attend a Talent Campus to help develop their skills further and determine next steps in training opportunities and future employment in the film industry.

“Film and the creative industries as a whole are at the heart of the U.K.’s economic recovery,” said BFI CEO Amanda Nevill.

“Film makes a multi-billion contribution to U.K. GDP. To ensure further growth we must find, encourage and nurture the talent of tomorrow. This project is designed to do just that.”

BFI recruits partners for its Film Academy Network – Entertainment News, Film News, Media – Variety


Reaction to A Future for British Film proposals

From today:

19 January 2012
Call Made For Action On UK Film Policy
A report on ‘The Future of British Film’ has inspired warnings that a “huge job” is at hand to deliver the proposals and call for proof that it can be put into action.

According to an article by Screen Dailythe British Film Institute has been warned to be careful about the amount of proposals that it takes on.

Peter Watson, CEO of production outfit Recorded Picture Company and deputy chairman of sister sales company HanWay told Screen Dailythat: “the BFI should resist taking on all the responsibilities the report would seek to pile on its shoulders. The BFI will need to carefully define its new role and not forget its pre-eminent role as a cultural organisation and trustee of our national heritage. Rightly, the industry has high hopes for the new BFI but our expectations should be qualified.”

Indeed although received positively by most writers, producers, distributors, financiers and academics the report does outline a massive 56 proposals and now all eyes are on BFI to implement them.

Hopes are that the film institution will adopt most of them, if not all of them, and move quickly. A call is on for the BFI to move the plans from words to action.


Call Made For Action On UK Film Policy