COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund set up in the UK
by Kaleem Aftab
- The BFI and the Film and TV Charity have partnered up to create the relief fund with a £1 million donation from Netflix
The BFI and the Film and TV Charity have partnered up to create a new, industry-backed COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund to help support the creative community. Established with a £1 million donation from Netflix, the new fund will be administered by the Film and TV Charity with support from the BFI. It will provide emergency short-term relief to the many thousands of active workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.
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. To be the first to hear when the fund launches, applicants should register for the charity’s mailing list here.
Those in immediate and urgent need should apply for support via the Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. This hardship fund will sit alongside the new Film and TV COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
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.”
The Film and TV Charity has supported people working behind the scenes in the film and TV industry for almost 100 years. Founded in the early days of cinema, in 1924, with the generosity of entrepreneurs who understood the value of a well-supported workforce in an industry driven by people, the charity has huge experience in distributing hardship funds to those in need.
Ben Roberts, BFI chief executive, said: “Netflix’s early commitment to this fund is hugely welcomed, and we are also asking other commercial industry partners to contribute.”
The BFI is leading an industry-wide Screen Sector Task Force that is looking at the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 on the whole industry and its workforce, as well as working closely with the government to ensure that all of the ramifications and impacts are considered. The BFI has up-to-date industry advice for freelancers and other areas of the sector – this can be found here.
Anne Mensah, vice-president of Original Series at Netflix, said: “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, and from hair and make-up 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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