25th British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) Moves To Gender Neutral Acting Categories And Adds More Awards


The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) today announced that they will be dropping the ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ monikers for their performance awards, opting instead for neutral and supporting performance categories. The group will also add two new acting sections, a first documentary director and two music awards.

The move follows several organizations that have done the same, including the MTV TV & Movie Awards, the Berlin Film Festival, and GALECA, the Society for LGBTQ Entertainment Critics.

The five BIFA Acting Awards are now: Best Lead Performance, Best Supporting Performance, Best Joint Lead Performance – for two (or exceptionally three) performances that are two lead roles in a film – and Best Ensemble . The Breakthrough Performance award (which, like BAFTA, was already a gender-neutral award) remains the same. The Lead and Supporting Performance categories will have up to 10 nominees each, while the Joint Lead Performance and Ensemble races will feature up to five.

For its new awards, BIFA is adding a Best First Director – Feature Documentary category. The Douglas Hickox prize for best first director remains reserved for first narrative feature films. The Best Music award, which previously named both Original Composition and Music Supervision, will be split into Best Original Music and Best Music Supervision.

BIFA Directors Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace said, “We are delighted to be able to launch BIFA’s new and expanded award categories, which will better capture the range of outstanding performance and acting talent in independent film. British and will allow us to celebrate even more talent. than ever before.”

New dates for BIFA’s vital Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training, which will run from July to January 2023, are confirmed. The training program includes courses on tackling bullying and harassment, fair workplace recruitment and unconscious bias, and is supported by ScreenSkills’ Film Skills Fund with contributions from UK film production. Also new for 2022 is virtual production budgeting and planning in partnership with Treehouse Digital backed by ScreenSkills as part of the BFI Future Film Skills program using funds from the National Lottery.

BIFA welcomed new members to its Board of Directors. Award-winning producer and local team leader, 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 left out of the wins altogether, where Aleem Khan After Love was the first winner with six awards, including best British independent film, best director, best first director and best screenplay – all for Khan – as well as best actress for Joanna Scanlan and best actor in a second role for Talid Ariss.


Better prospect performance

For Performance in a Leading Role. Up to 10 candidates.

Better support performance

For performance in a supporting role. Up to 10 candidates.

Breakthrough performance sponsored by Netflix

For UK performers taking their first lead or significant supporting role in a theatrical feature film. Five nominees.

Better joint performance of the leaders

For two (or exceptionally three) performances that are the common focus of the film, especially when the performances share a large number of scenes and screen time. Up to five candidates.

Best overall performance

For an ensemble performance featuring outstanding lead roles and supporting performers OR two or more performers in supporting roles who share significant stage and screen time. Up to five candidates.


Best First Director – Documentary Feature

For a British director for their first feature documentary. Previous television or fiction feature film credits do not disqualify an individual from consideration.

Best Music Supervision

For films in which the original music constitutes at least 40% of the musical soundtrack of the film.

Best Original Music Sponsored by Universal Music Publishing Group

For films in which the original music constitutes at least 40% of the film’s soundtrack.

Rules and eligibility information for films’ participation in the 2022 awards are available here.


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