Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund Announced

The BFI and the Film and TV Charity set up a new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund with £1m donation from Netflix 
24 March 2020 

New industry-backed Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund established with £1m donation from Netflix and support from the BFI, to provide short-term relief to workers affected by the crisis. 

Update: The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund is now closed.

The BFI and the 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 which, like many industries, has been devastated by the pandemic.

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. 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 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 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. 
Alex Pumfrey, CEO at the Film & TV Charity 

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive at the BFI 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.”

Anne Mensah, Vice President, 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. 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.”

Supporting the industry for almost 100 years

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.

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.

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. 

The Film and TV Charity and BFI also recognise the significant mental health pressures arising as a result of Covid-19 and, in line with the Charity’s existing Whole Picture Programme for better mental health, is developing new advice specifically tailored for our industry on how to stay mentally well at home and creating a new supportive community forum for freelancers. 

Support Line

The Film and TV Charity already provides 24/7 mental health support to the industry, including counselling and legal advice.

Call 0800 054 0000

Update: The Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund is now closed.

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 Government to ensure that all of the ramifications and impacts are considered. 

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 week’s 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 television industry in the countries where the entertainment company has a large production base.

Love the film, TV and cinema industry?

Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about new support services, pilot schemes, opportunities, events, roundtables, appeals, industry news and more.