BFI champions success of UK COVID fund to protect jobs
by Kaleem Aftab
- The UK Government-funded Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has supported 640 film and TV productions this past year
Figures released by the BFI state that 640 film and TV productions have gone into production in the UK in the past 12 months thanks to the UK Government-funded Film and TV Production Restart Scheme. Budgets totalled £1.9 billion in production investment. Consequently, more than 55,000 screen sector jobs have been supported by the scheme since cover began on 28 July 2020.
The scheme was launched by the government with £500m to support films and television productions which were ready to start or restart but unable to secure insurance against potential Coronavirus-related delays and interruptions, such as illness amongst key cast and crew.
Launched for applications in October last year, allowing claims backdated to July, the scheme has enabled productions to get off the ground in the second half of 2020 and has helped the sector to bounce back and record the second highest spend for any quarter on record at the end of last year.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I've seen firsthand how this scheme has been a lifeline during this pandemic, keeping the cameras rolling on TV and film sets across the country, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the process – from actors, make-up artists and technicians all the way to catering companies and transport firms.”
Several TV productions registered with the scheme have returned or are returning to our screens shortly, including The Bay, Midsomer Murders, Peaky Blinders and Gentleman Jack. The film Mothering Sunday [+see also:
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film profile] starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth has just had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and Boxing Day, the UK’s first ever festive romantic comedy starring an all-black cast, were films which registered early with the scheme. Terence Davies’ Benediction [+see also:
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The scheme has been kept under review as the sector has recovered from the impact of the pandemic and was extended to provide cover until the end of this year.
Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: “The Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme has been a game-changer for the industry’s recovery. A year down the line we are looking at a booming sector attracting further commercial investment and opportunities for more jobs and contributing to the UK’s economy.”
In addition to the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, the screen industry has also benefitted from £27.6 million of support to independent cinemas through the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
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