British Film Commission Issues COVID-19 Statement and Call for Action
Thursday March 19 2020
The British Film Commission (BFC), which encourages and supports inward investment production to the UK, has been closely monitoring the situation with regards to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the screen industries, particularly the studios, companies, freelancers and organisations working to support inward investment production. The primary concern is of the health and welfare of the workforce, and as such, the BFC has been following and sharing government and NHS advice about avoiding unnecessary social contact with others, urging productions to do the same.
The BFC, together with partners and stakeholders from across the industry, has been closely consulting with our public and private partners to work through this ever-evolving situation. Productions have increasingly been reporting the pausing, postponement and inevitable shut down of UK production at this unprecedented time. There has been, and will continue to be, a clear hiatus of work over the coming weeks and months.
The impact of COVID-19 will undoubtedly be felt deeply by the screen industries, hitting the freelance workforce and SMEs the hardest. 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. This includes working closely with the BFI, to liaise with government and industry to ensure that everything is being done to ameliorate the effects of the situation and mitigate against the impact as we navigate through this difficult time.
The BFC welcomes the positive support already demonstrated by government to address these challenges and their swift response in listening to the industry. This includes essential measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday as part of the package to protect the economy against the impact of COVID-19. Most significantly for the industry so far, these have included:
• 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 BFC Advisory Board and its cross-industry membership has committed unwavering support to highlighting the plight of the workforce and SMEs across production services and inward investment infrastructure, with a focus on addressing the economic hardship being experienced by the industry’s overwhelmingly freelance crew. 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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
Operationally, throughout this situation, the BFC remains a fully functioning unit, with both the UK and US teams working entirely remotely with the ongoing support and input of the BFC National Advisory Board.
For further press information, please contact:
Anna Highet, Head of Communications & Public Affairs
M: 07970 543867
Notes to Editors
Pinewood Remains Operational
Pinewood Studios and Shepperton Studios remain operational, enabling productions to continue to film and record on site. The health and wellbeing of staff, productions and tenant companies is paramount, and Pinewood is following government guidance as the situation evolves.
About the British Film Commission
The British Film Commission (BFC) is the UK Government’s national organisation responsible for international film and television production in the UK. Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for International Trade and the BFI, the BFC leads on:
• Maximising and supporting the production of major international feature film and high-end television in the UK;
• Strengthening and promoting the UK’s film and television infrastructure;
• Liaising between the Government and the film and television industry on policy issues that impact on production.
The BFC has industry sponsors who form the membership of the agency’s innovative public/private partnership: Angels, Disney, Harbottle & Lewis, HBO, Movie Makers, Netflix, Pinewood Studios, Saffery Champness, Warner Bros, 3 Mills, BBC Studios, Double Negative, Elstree Studios, Framestore, MPC, The Bottle Yard and Working Title.
The BFC is the national division of Film London.
About the BFI
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a distributor of National Lottery funding and a cultural charity that:
• Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
• Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
• Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
• Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.