The outgoing Chair of BAFTA has used his exit interview to urge writers, actors and studios to “come together to find a fair, equitable solution,” while pointing to gains required in “hidden areas” of diversity.
Krishnendu Majumdar, who also runs BAFTA-winning I Am Ruth indie Me + You Productions, said he has many friends and colleagues striking here in the UK and is aware of many affected productions.
“I want the strike to end,” he said, as he prepares to depart and be replaced by Sara Putt. “There needs to be a coming together of writers, actors and studios to find a fair equitable solution going forwards becasue it’s costing hundreds of millions of dollars a day.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today, Majumdar, who is ending a three-year term, pointed to BAFTA’s diversity work, which has seen it uproot its nominations process across the last couple of years and put in place various year-round initiatives.
“BAFTA sometimes gets a lot of stick for being the end of the process, a mirror to what’s being made in the industry, so we saw there was a lack of diversity in the nominations,” he added. “We wanted to tackle the root causes. It’s not just membership, it’s the campaigning and the marketing, there are so many different factors.”
He said there is much work to do, especially regarding “hidden areas” of diversity such as disabled people, people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and older people. The latest BAFTA membership figures found the membership comprising a 42:58 female-male split, with 16% of members from underrepresented ethnic groups, 7% with a disability, and 12% identifying as LGBTQIA+.
Majumdar had used his final BAFTA TV Awards speech in May to remind the industry of its “collective responsibility” for diversity improvements.
Majumdar is on a good run, having yesterday unveiled Channel 4 drama Alice and & Jack – the first major Andrea Riseborough casting since the To Leslie controversy – alongside Elliot Page feature Close to You several weeks ago, which is being helmed by I Am Ruth’s Dominic Savage.
The latter follows Academy Award-nominee Page as a trans man who has a chance encounter with an old friend (Baack) on his way home to a dreaded family reunion that forces him to confront long-buried memories. Majumdar described it as “not a trans film per se but about a character who is a trans man going home to see his family.”
“What Dominic is genius at is taking a scalpel to modern life and peeling back layers,” added Majumdar. “There is truth and authneticitiy to this.”