Screen Yorkshire welcomes film and TV relief fund set up with Netflix donation

Screen Yorkshire has welcomed the announcement of a relief fund for UK film and television creators amid the coronavirus crisis.

Screen Yorkshire CEO, Sally Joynson. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Screen Yorkshire CEO, Sally Joynson. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The British Film Institute and the Film and TV Charity have partnered to establish the new Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund , enabled with a £1m donation from Netflix, to help support the creative community which they say has been "devastated by the pandemic".

Administered by the charity with support from the BFI, it aims to provide short-term relief to thousands of active workers and freelancers who have been directly affected by the closure of productions across the UK.

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Sally Joynson, chief executive at Screen Yorkshire, last night said: "Screen Yorkshire is working closely with the BFI, Film and TV Charity and other industry partners to represent the needs of the local screen economy in this unprecedented time of uncertainty.

"We welcome today's news and hope that many of the freelance crew in the region, who have been so greatly and rapidly impacted by the pandemic, will be able to benefit."

The 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.

It is currently working on the precise eligibility criteria and level of individual funding but the support will be open to those working in production, distribution and exhibition.

Those in immediate and urgent need should apply for support through the charity's existing hardship fund, offering grants of up to £500 to provide stop-gap support, which will sit alongside the new Film and TV Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund.

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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 weeks’ pay they already committed to the crew and cast on productions that have been suspended.

The streaming platform's donation 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.

“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.”

The Film and TV Charity already provides 24/7 mental health support to the industry, including counselling and legal advice through a support line that can be reached at 0800 054 00 00.