BFI, Film and TV Charity Set Up Coronavirus Relief Fund for U.K. Creatives With Donation From Netflix

Photographed by Charlie Gray
The British Film Institute's Ben Roberts

The COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund will offer short-term relief for the many freelancers working in the creative sector who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid ongoing calls for the U.K. government to offer financial support to the country's self-employed and freelance workers, Netflix has donated 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) to help establish a new fund set up by the British Film Institute and the Film and TV Charity.

The COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund, to be administered by The Film and TV Charity with support from the BFI, will provide emergency short-term relief to the many thousands of active workers and freelancers in the creative sector who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the U.K. due to the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

"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," said Film and TV Charity CEO Alex Pumfrey. "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."

Added BFI chief executive Ben Roberts: "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, vp 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, U.K. 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 COVID-19 fund will sit alongside The Film and TV Charity’s existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to 500 pounds ($586) to provide stop-gap support.

Netflix's donation is part of a $100 million fund the streamer set up for creatives whose jobs have been affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Most of the funds will go toward support for the hardest hit workers on Netflix’s own productions around the world and is in addition to the two weeks’ pay the streamer already committed to the crew and cast on productions that have been suspended.