- BFI and Film and TV Charity have partnered to launch Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund
- Fund aims to provide short-term relief to industry workers during coronavirus pandemic
- Netflix first to donate with £1 million backing for fund
Netflix has donated £1 million to a new fund set up by the BFI and the Film and TV Charity aimed at supporting the creative community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund aims to provide emergency short-term relief to workers and freelancers in the media and entertainment sector who have been directly affected by the closure of UK productions due to the coronavirus.
A number of productions have been hit with delays or closures due to the global pandemic, with over 8,000 confirmed cases recorded in the UK alone at the time of writing.
The fund will be overseen by the Film and TV Charity and the BFI, which will seek donations from across the industry, including the initial £1 million donation from Netflix.
Netflix vice president original series Anne Mensah 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.
“From electricians to carpenters, hair and makeup artists to drivers – and many more, UK crews have always been vital to Netflix’s success and now we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.”
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.
Earlier this year, the charity set up a Mental Health Taskforce to tackle the mental health “crisis” in the UK film and television industry.
Film and TV Charity chief executive Alex Pumfrey 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.”
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 BFI said in its announcement.
The BFI is already 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 UK Government to ensure that all of the ramifications and impacts are considered.
BFI chief executive Ben Roberts said: ‘‘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.”