Screen productions struggling to restart due to a lack of Coronavirus-related insurance will now get the go-ahead, the Culture Secretary and Chancellor announced yesterday, as the Government-backed Film and TV Production Restart Scheme formally launches following state aid approval.
In the UK, the film and television production industry supports more than 180,000 jobs and contributes more than £12 billion to the economy annually however many productions have been paused due to the unavailability of coronavirus-related insurance.
It’s expected the scheme will support well over 40,000 jobs across one of the country’s leading creative sectors by ensuring planned productions can proceed after a period of disruption due to the pandemic.
From today, productions can receive compensation from the £500 million scheme for future Coronavirus-related losses including filming delays from illness amongst the cast and crew.
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:
Our film and TV production sector is respected the world over, filled with talented people. I am delighted that this half a billion pound scheme will get cast and crews back to doing what they do best. This move will help support tens of thousands of jobs, provide work for creative freelancers and get cameras rolling across the country.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:
Our world-leading film and TV industry supports tens of thousands of jobs and is hugely important to the UK’s cultural life.
That’s why as part of our Plan for Jobs we are doing everything possible to help protect the jobs of the talented professionals who work in the sector.
This targeted scheme will help to fill the gap created by the lack of available insurance, and help get our world renowned film and tv industry back up and running.
The scheme has been accepting applications for two weeks to expedite the process by allowing for early registration and help productions familiarise themselves with the details of the scheme. Productions will now be onboarded within days.
The announcement of the scheme in July has enabled eligible productions to restart, and today’s formal launch following state aid approval will provide a much needed confidence boost to the industry.
The deadline for productions to register for the scheme and restart shooting has been extended from December 2020 until 28 February 2021 to help even more productions access the scheme, reflecting ongoing uncertainty and the continued inability of productions to secure private insurance for coronavirus-related risks.
The funding is available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK.
Mothering Sunday, an independent production filming in the UK and starring Josh O’Connor, Odessa Young , Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth, is among the productions to have already applied to the Film and Television Restart Scheme.
Elizabeth Karlsen, Number 9 Films, producer of Mothering Sunday, said:
It is an understatement to say how pleased we are that the Production Restart Scheme is in place giving life back to the film and television industry to provide jobs for freelance cast and crew, turnover for suppliers and ultimately great stories to be seen in our cinemas and on our screens. Without this backing from the Government‘s scheme our industry, which is held in such high regard throughout the world, would have been under serious threat. We have started our own project Mothering Sunday working with the best of UK talent now secure in their jobs. It is an enormous relief to us and to many people who have been working tirelessly to keep projects alive over the past few months. We would like to thank those who have their given support and to those who have played a hand in reaching this vital and welcome decision.
The thriller My Son has also applied to the Film and Television Production Restart Scheme. Set in the Scottish Highlands, it is to be directed by Christian Carion and will star James McAvoy and Claire Foy.
Rebecca O’Brien, Sixteen Films, producer of My Son, said:
This scheme makes an enormous difference to British film makers in terms of their feeling confident to be able to shoot during these challenging times. It’s difficult enough getting an independent film off the ground but with Covid-19 around the uncertainties make it all the more problematic. We’re hoping to start production of our British/French/German co-production “My Son” in the next couple of weeks and having the scheme in place makes it possible.
Ben Roberts, Chief Executive, BFI:
Today’s news is the crucial greenlight needed for film and television production to restart in the UK and testament to the huge joint effort made by government and industry working together to find a solution to the insurance issues which have impacted production globally as a result of the pandemic. As the fastest growing sector making a significant contribution to the UK economy the Government’s Restart Scheme supports the UK industry’s international competitiveness and is really great news for our production business and for the economy.
John McVay, CEO, Pact, said:
The Government has recognised the huge contribution that the TV and film production sector makes to the UK economy and we are very pleased that the scheme has now had full approval. This will now give confidence to many hundreds of small indies across the UK to get back to what they do best – making TV programmes and films enjoyed both in the UK and across the globe.
Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan, co-Chairmen, Working Title, said:
It’s great news that the government production restart backstop is now up and running. The government rightly identified that an entire industry was fully financed and ready to move back into employment and production, all it needed was this assurance for those struggling with Covid cover, which thanks to this it now has. It’s a brilliant initiative that will have a meaningful and immediate impact on the UK film and TV industries and we can’t thank DCMS and the Treasury enough for making it happen.