BIFA has a large and diverse voting group made up of past nominees and winners and top film professionals and filmmakers. Although our pool of voters is 700-strong and continually growing, around 250 of them take part in ‘active duty’ (voting for the nominations) each year. All voters, ‘active’ and ‘inactive’, are welcome to vote for the winners in our Best British, Best International, Best Short and Craft categories. The winners in the rest of BIFA’s categories are decided by two independent, annually-appointed juries: the Main Jury and the Newcomer Jury.

BIFA’s voting process revolves around group discussion, with teams of voters meeting throughout the year to talk about the films that they have seen before privately casting votes. Each stage in BIFA’s process is reached by rounds of voting: the longlists are decided by Round One, the nominations by Round Two and the winners by Round Three.

Additionally, BIFA presents honorary awards, which are bestowed either by BIFA’s Board and Nomination Committee or by its independent juries. 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, and the Special Jury Award.



Entries open
Subgroups convened


Subgroup meetings


Film entry deadline
Subgroup meetings
Round One voting


Longlists announced
Subgroup meetings
Round Two voting
Nominations announced


Round Three voting
Jury meetings


BIFA ceremony / winners announced


Early in the year, ‘active’ voters are divided into several subgroups, which deal with specific categories:

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

The majority of the watching / voting process takes place in September and October, when all entered films are seen by a minimum number of voters and discussed at subgroup meetings. Votes are then cast privately in two rounds, o reach the longlists and then the nominations. In calculating the results, BIFA takes into account the number of people who have seen a film.

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, which is fed into Round Two voting.

All voters are welcome to vote for the winners in the following categories:

  • Best British Independent Film
  • Best British Short Film
  • Best International Independent Film
  • Craft categories (Best Casting, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Effects, Best Make-up & Hair Design, Best Music, Best Production Design, Best Sound)

Winners in the other categories are decided by the juries. When deciding the winners, juries discuss all nominations before voting confidentially for the winner using a preferential voting system.

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. Additionally, BIFA carries out rigorous checks on votes to ensure that any undeclared conflicts of interest are discovered, and voting results are inspected by our scrutineers, RSM.

Register to vote

If you’re interested in registering to vote for BIFA, please take a look at the criteria required to be a BIFA voter and register your interest here: https://www.bifa.film/news/register-to-vote-for-bifa-2/