The British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) is moving to gender-neutral performance categories and adding a new feature documentary debut director category. It is also splitting its music honor into two categories.

“Marking the Awards’ 25th year with a shake-up to traditional performance categories, BIFA will present five acting awards that celebrate and reward the outstanding acting talent on display in British independent film,” organizers said on Tuesday. “The new performance categories are best lead performance, best supporting performance, best joint lead performance – for two (or exceptionally three) performances that are the joint focus of the film – and best ensemble. BIFA’s established Breakthrough Performance award sponsored by Netflix remains unchanged and rounds out the new set of awards.” That final award has always been gender-neutral.

Said BIFA directors Amy Gustin and Deena Wallace: “We’re very excited to be able to launch BIFA’s new expanded awards categories, which will more fully capture the range of exceptional performances and acting talent in British independent film and allow us to celebrate even more talent than ever before.’’

In addition, BIFA is adding the new category “best debut director – feature documentary,” which will sit alongside the Douglas Hickox Award for best debut director, sponsored by BBC Film, which will now be for fiction features only.

Meanwhile, the award for best music, which previously recognized both original composition and music supervision, will be separated into the best original music and best music supervision categories.

BIFA has also welcomed new members to its board of directors. They are producer, and head of Home Team, Dominic Buchanan, Carmen Thompson, cultural curator for We Are Parable and producer at Aya Films, as well as Tim Platt, head of marketing and audience growth at the British Film Institute.

The 2022 BIFA nominations will be unveiled on Thursday, Nov. 3. The ceremony will take place on Sunday, Dec. 4.

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