The BFI has announced a programme of support worth £4.6m ($5.7m) to aid the UK film sector, which has been badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The re-purposed National Lottery funding will target specific areas of the sector including exhibitors, freelancers and producers. It comprises:
£2m BFI film continuation fund
Up to £2m ($2.5m) will be made available to independent UK productions interrupted by Covid-19 to help cover unexpected production costs and ensure productions can resume production when practical.
£500,000 contribution to the Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund
In partnership with The Film and TV Charity, this fund (now open for applications) offers support to workers and freelancers working across production, distribution and exhibition, providing one-off grants between £500 and £2,500. Other organisations to contribute include Netflix, the BBC and WarnerMedia.
£800,000 for BFI-funded features
This is for current BFI-funded features that were interrupted due to restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus. As contracts were abruptly cut short, the funds ensured those employed were paid two weeks’ notice.
£1.3m BFI FAN Covid-19 resilience fund
The BFI Film Audience Network (FAN) has opened the BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience Fund, making £1.3m of National Lottery funding available to the exhibition sector across the UK, which is in critical financial need as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. BFI FAN – a unique collaboration of eight Film Hubs managed by leading film organisations across the UK – is offering emergency relief for small and medium sized audience facing organisations with a particular focus on venue based exhibitors. The Fund is being administered through each of Film Hubs, working with the BFI, and the deadline for applications is Wednesday 6 May 2020.
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences, BFI, said: ‘‘Our entire industry is feeling the ramifications of COVID-19, but financially the exhibition sector is one of the most immediately hit. These innovative, creative businesses, often run on limited resources by dedicated and passionate people, exist to bring rich and diverse films to audiences across the UK. We hope this Fund will help them survive and retain their staff, so they can continue their vital work.”
Exhibitors and festivals have faced immediate closure and cancellations, presenting them with unprecedented challenges. Many businesses are at risk of permanent closure and making staff redundant. The Fund sees the BFI working with the Film Hubs to repurpose BFI FAN National Lottery activity funding to alleviate some of this pressure.
Accessible to FAN Members across the UK, eligibility is outlined in the Fund Guidelines, and those interested in applying are encouraged to contact their local Film Hub to discuss their position www.bfi.org.uk/fanresiliencefund.
The Fund is part of a package of support from the BFI for individuals and businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. This includes a number of new funds, repurposing £4.6m in National Lottery funding to target specific areas of the sector including freelancers and producers, as well as the exhibition sector.
The BFI is also leading an industry-wide Screen Sector Task Force, and working closely with Government to ensure all of the ramifications and wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 on the sector are considered, and can help shape measures to address them. The BFI has up-to-date industry advice for the sector at www.bfi.org.uk/supporting-uk-film/covid-19-answering-questions-screen-sectors.