The BFI and the UK’s Film and TV Charity have partnered to create a new industry-backed Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to help support the creative community.
Established with a £1M donation from Netflix, the new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund will be administered by The Film and TV Charity with support from the BFI. The aim is to provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.
Our understanding is that the BFI and Film And TV Charity are not directly putting money into the fund themselves but hope to trigger investments from third parties.
The Film and TV Charity is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding but the fund will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition. The group encourages people to sign up to the charity’s mailing list to learn more about the launch date.
The charity already runs a hardship fund which offers grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. This fund will sit alongside the new Emergency Relief Fund. The group also provides 24/7 mental health support, including counselling and legal advice, via the Film and TV Support Line on 0800 054 00 00.
Netflix’s donation is part of a broader announcement last week to set up a $100m fund for creatives whose jobs have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most of the funds will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on Netflix’s own productions around the world and is in addition to the two weeks’ pay they already committed to the crew and cast on productions that have been suspended.
Netflix’s donation to the Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund and to other organisations around the world is to provide emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast across the broader film and TV industry in countries where the streamer has a large production base.
The BFI is leading an industry wide Screen Sector Task Force that is looking at the wide-ranging impacts of Covid-19.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity, said, “The film and TV industry is now facing a huge threat. Many freelancers have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight. We’re entering a period of unprecedented isolation and worry for a workforce that we know from our research already suffers from poor mental health. Which is why I’m incredibly pleased that Netflix and the BFI are working with us to kick-start this new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to support workers across the UK’s film and TV industry.”
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, commented, ‘‘Freelance professionals are the backbone of our film and television industries, and we hope that everyone will work together to support those who have been hardest hit at this extraordinary time of need. Netflix’s early commitment to this fund is hugely welcomed and we are asking other commercial industry partners to contribute, if they are able, and play their part in helping those most in need get through this crisis.”
Anne Mensah, Vice President, Original Series at Netflix, added, “We’re proud to be working with the BFI and The Film and TV Charity to support the hardest hit workers in TV and film production. UK crews – from electricians to carpenters, hair and makeup artists to drivers – have always been vital to Netflix’s success and now we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.”
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