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Source: BFI / Film & TV Charity / Netflix

The BFI and The Film and TV Charity have partnered to create the Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund in a bid to help support the UK creative community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Established with a £1m donation from streaming giant Netflix, the fund will aim to provide emergency short-term relief to active workers and freelancers who have been directly impacted by the closure of productions across the UK.

The Film and TV Charity, which is working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding, will administer the fund with support from the BFI.

It will be open to all those working in production, distribution and exhibition, and applicants are being asked to register at https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/keep-in-touch/

The charity urged those in immediate and urgent to apply for support via its existing hardship fund, which offers grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support. The hardship fund will sit alongside the new Covid-19 relief.

Details on eligibility and how to apply can be found at: https://filmtvcharity.org.uk/coronavirus-financial-advice/

The two organisations have also recognised the significant mental health pressures arising as a result of the coronavirus crisis and are developing new advice specifically tailored for the film and TV industries on how to stay mentally well at home. Conducted in line with the charity’s existing Whole Picture Programme for better mental health, it will also create a new supportive community forum for freelancers.

The BFI is also leading an industry wide Screen Sector Task Force that is looking at the wide-ranging impactsof 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.

Netflix’s donation follows last week’s establishment of a $100m fund for creatives whose jobs have been affected by the ongoing 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 had already committed to the crew and cast on productions that have been suspended.

Announcing the new fund, 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.”

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.”

He added further commercial industry partners were being asked to contribute, where able, and “play their part in helping those most in need get through this crisis.”.

Anne Mensah, vice president, original series at Netflix, said: “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.”