It appears the rumblings about unpaid internships continue afresh this week…
It’s the countdown to the biggest celebration of the British film industry — the BAFTAs in less than three weeks time. But the glamour of “award season” hides a reality of exploitation and exclusion that confronts many young film fans with dreams of working in the industry.
The British Film Institute (BFI) is a publicly funded organisation that was set up to support the industry and nurture new talent — but when Neil* applied to work for the BFI he was told the only option was an internship that required him to work for three months with no pay.
Neil believes that by refusing to pay interns the BFI is excluding talented young people who cannot afford to work for free and exploiting those who do undertake the internships by providing it as “the only option”. That’s why he started a petition on Change.org asking the British Film Institute to stop using unpaid interns. Click here to join him.
The BFI receives funding from the government for its work to support the UK film industry — but its refusal to pay interns is contrary to government instructions on fair payment and is out of step with similar institutions like BAFTA that pay interns for their work.
Intern Aware, the campaign for fair paid internships, has already used public pressure to convince companies like Harrods to revise their internship programmes. Neil believes that if enough people sign his petition it will send a strong message to the BFI that it must follow suit and change its internship policy.
Sign Neil’s petition to tell the BFI to treat interns fairly.Thanks for being part of this,
Katherine and the Change.org team Obviously I agree that it’s awful that anyone is excluded from any part of civic life due to financial constraints. That goes without saying. But when people can’t afford to pay core staff I get why they’re not paying non-core staff like interns. The BFI have just had to take over the work of the British Film Council which was Con-Dem-ed as part of the first round of coalition arts savagery – and as far as I know their budget hasn’t gone up to match the full extent of their new remit.
I personally don’t think it’s right to point the finger of blame at struggling arts organisations. Everyone would pay good wages if they could – it’s the governments obsessive cuts agenda that’s stopping them. Even the IMF are now telling the government they’ve gone too far. Which considering the IMF’s track record of austerity and privatisations, must be rather like Caligula taking you to one side at an orgy to tell you you’ve gone too far. Deep breath and repeat after me, only two and a half more years.