Netflix has donated £1m to establish a new emergency relief fund aimed at supporting film and TV crew unable to work during the coronavirus crisis.
The fund, established with BFI and the Film and TV Charity, will provide short-term support to the thousands of full-time workers and freelancers affected by the closure of productions across the UK.
Filming on scores of productions, including BBC hits Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty, has been halted following government advice on social distancing.
Soap operas such as Eastenders and Coronation Street have also been put on hold, while Netflix has shut down filming on all scripted film and TV productions globally.
The coronavirus shutdown is particularly damaging for workers in the creative industries, with most film crew and technicians working on a freelance or self-employed basis.
While the government has outlined plans to support employees unable to work during the pandemic, it is yet to extend the measures to self-employed workers.
‘‘Freelance professionals are the backbone of our film and television industries, and we hope that everyone will work together to support those who have been hardest hit at this extraordinary time of need,” said BFI chief executive Ben Roberts.
“Netflix’s early commitment to this fund is hugely welcomed and we are asking other commercial industry partners to contribute, if they are able, and play their part in helping those most in need get through this crisis.”
The £1m donation forms part of the $100m (£85m) support package unveiled by Netflix last week. The majority of this will go to staff working on the streaming giant’s productions, while $15m has been put aside for third-party funds.
The fund will be open to people working in production, distribution and exhibition. The Film and TV Charity also has a hardship fund which can provide stop-gap support of up to £500 for those in immediate and urgent need.