BIFA has a large and diverse voting group made up of past nominees and winners and top film professionals and filmmakers. Although this pool of voters 400-strong and continually growing, around 200 voters take part in ‘active duty’ (nominations voting) each year.

BIFA’s Nomination Committee and Screening Group decide the long lists and nominations in most categories. After a rigorous discussion-based selection process, the long lists and nominations are decided by confidential vote.

Additionally, BIFA presents honorary awards, which are bestowed either by BIFA’s Board and Nomination Committee or by its independent jury/ies, appointed annually.

These honorary awards include The Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Film by an Actor, which is decided with the input of the Harris family.


To reach the long list, the Nomination Committee and Screening Group, divided into several sub-groups, meet three times to discuss the eligible films.

Ten sub-groups are convened:

  • Debut Director
  • Breakthrough Producer
  • Debut Screenwriter
  • Shorts
  • Documentary
  • Discovery Award
  • International
  • Screenplay / Director
  • Performance
  • Craft

All entered films are seen by a minimum number of voters and discussed. Votes are then cast privately in two rounds, and the results tabulated. In calculating the results, BIFA takes into account the number of people who have seen a film.

The first round of voting narrows the entries down to longlists of about 15 entries in each category – these are the long lists.

The long list for the Best British Independent Film award is reached by discussion and consensus amongst all voters: each subgroup gets to put forward 4 to 8 films from their entries that they feel are the best British independent films of the year. These suggestions are collected to form the Best British Independent Film Award long list of around 20-30 films.

After the announcement of the long lists, the voters watch as many of the long listed films as possible before voting for the nominations in the second round of voting. Again, the number of people who have seen a film is taken into account.

The winners in all categories (apart from the honorary awards, Best British Independent Film, craft categories and Best British Short) are decided by independent jury/ies, newly appointed each year. Juries discuss all nominations before voting confidentially for the winner using a preferential voting system.

The winners of the Best British Independent Film award, the Best British Short Film award and the nine craft awards are decided by a final vote open to all BIFA voters.


Conflicts of interest

Conflicts of interest are declared to BIFA and voters sit out any discussions of films which they have an interest in. Conflicted voters may still vote, but they may not vote for films which they have an interest in.


Register to vote

If you’re interested in registering to vote for BIFA, please complete our voter registration form.