British Film Institute announces mentorship program for LGBT filmmakers

In an effort to promote more LGBT voices in cinema, the British Film Institute has announced a new mentorship program for LGBT filmmakers through London's own LGBT film festival, BFI Flare. The program will select five emerging LGBT filmmakers from a pool of applicants to meet with an assigned mentor from the UK film industry and attend numerous industry roundtables and screenings over nine months. 

The GLAAD Media Award nominated films Pride and Lilting were among those cited by the BFI as recent UK success stories, as well as Weekend director Andrew Haigh who went on to create the HBO series Looking, which is currently airing its second season.  Said the BFI in a statement, "Much has been written about the industry’s failure to recruit and develop female and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) filmmakers, and rightly so, but the plight of LGBT film and filmmakers is less visible, and no less pressing."

GLAAD's own reports on the Hollywood film industry have found that LGBT representation in its films not only rare, but often highly problematic or defamatory.  By contrast, independent or foreign films are often the only place to find significant and authentic depictions of LGBT people in cinema, such as the Oscar-nominated box office hit, The Imitation Game.  BFI's mentorship represents an important effort on their part to see more LGBT filmmakers find longterm industry success.

The program is open to UK-based filmmakers who have screened at BFI Flare or one of BAFTA's qualifying film festivals, and who currently have a feature film in the works.  Further information can be found here.