The British Film Commission (BFC) has confirmed it is working closely with the British Film Institute (BFi), the UK government and its industry partners to mitigate the impact of the overwhelming ongoing disruption to the sector caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impact of COVID-19 will undoubtedly be felt deeply by the screen industries, hitting the freelance workforce and SMEs the hardest,” the BFC said in a statement today. “As such, the BFC and its industry stakeholders are working to collectively understand and address the huge challenges currently faced by the sector, with regards to infrastructure and, crucially, to the workforce and the employers.”

The statement went on to say the organisation which supports and attracts inward investment to the UK welcomed the financial measures already put in place by the government to help the sector. It specifically pointed to:

  • the postponement of the IR35 tax reforms by one year to 6 April 2021
  • support for those ineligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Time to Pay arrangement
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

“The immediate and grave financial impact of the widespread shut down of UK production is a reality potentially faced by a generation of talent, in need of support at this time,” the BFC said in reference to the plight of the freelance workforce and SMEs across production services and the country’ inward investment infrastructure.

“To that end, the British Film Commission is working closely with the BFI who is leading the sector on a joined-up response to COVID-19 and is represented on the BFI COVID-19 Sector Task Force, alongside key industry-wide companies and organisations,” the statement continued. “The BFI has set up a dedicated COVID-19 update page on its website that will answer key questions and direct industry to relevant resources and is urging practitioners across the industry and cultural sector to contact them with their key concerns using the new email address.”

The BFC noted Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios “remain operational, enabling productions to continue to film and record on site”.

Productions shooting in the UK to close down temporarily include all live-action features of both Disney and Netflix and Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion, 

Film and high-end TV production spend in the UK hit £3.61bn last year, representing a 16% increase on 2018 and setting an all-time record.  Last week the government gave £4.8m over three years to the BFC, more than doubling the annual budget of the organisation.