Written by Shona Smith on Apr 29, 2020. Posted in General Interest

BFI COVID-19 Production Continuation Fund for UK independent productions opens

The GBP2 million temporary new fund for UK independent productions aims to ensure producers are in a position to restart when it is safe and practical to do so. Up to GBP150,000 per project is available to help cover unexpected additional costs for productions unavoidably interrupted as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline for applications is Wednesday 27 May.

A number of independently financed UK films that were already filming or in late stage pre-production have incurred significant and unexpected costs in having to shut down as a result of the pandemic. The majority of these productions are, as a result, at serious risk of collapsing, as they are unlikely to find other sources of funding to cover these costs. The new National Lottery production fund is focused on ensuring productions can be stabilised, increasing their ability to resume production when social distancing guidance allows.

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, said: “We are focused on restarting the industry as quickly as possible, and central to that is ensuring we have a strong and vibrant independent film sector in the UK, which was under considerable pressure before the shutdown. This fund is part of that work, providing a vital lifeline to independent productions directly and significantly impacted by the lockdown. It aims to ensure the production companies, along with the creatives and crew they were working with, are in a position to restart when it is safe and appropriate to do so, and crucially, encouraging our talented workforce to remain in the sector.”

Eight BFI funded features that were filming or in late stage pre-production when they were forced to stand down due to COVID-19 have already received financial support that mirrors the support offered by the BFI COVID-19 Production Continuation Fund.

Independently financed films with a production budget of less than GBP8 million, that are produced by a UK production company and are capable of qualifying as a “British film”, including UK qualifying co-productions can apply.

Funding can only be applied to help cover identified COVID-19 related additional costs that cannot be covered from other sources such as successful insurance or completion bond claims, Government supported COVID-19 schemes or existing third part funders, and may not be used to reimburse funds advanced by existing funders. All awards will be recoupable.

Other support rolled out by BFI supports individuals, organisations and business across the sector. It’s Screen Sector Task Force has a number of working groups focused on inward investment; independent film; distribution and exhibition ; television and broadcasting.

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