NL grants £500k COVID funding

The British Film Industry (BFI) has secured £500k of National Lottery funding which is now set to be distributed in £25k installments across firms who are financially struggling due to sales and distribution being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Having opened for applications earlier this week, the limited time fund will be accepting further applicants for the next four weeks and aims to cover costs that cannot be covered by funds available from the UK Government or other sources. 

A statement released by the BFI read: “The global shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK creative sector, closing cinemas worldwide, stopping production which is now slowly moving towards restart, and halting international film festivals and film markets. 

“The majority of business for sales companies is generally tied to specific international markets in the year where they launch new UK films and meet buyers in person. The revenues generated through this export activity is vital in ensuring UK independent films can be seen by audiences across the world, which in turn is a vital income stream in supporting the UK independent film community.”

With the presence of COVID still being felt throughout the entertainment industry, film markets have begun experimenting with different methods of generating revenue such as the provision of virtual offerings. 

Operating in a fully digital environment immediately requires sales companies to develop different ways of marketing, selling and acquiring products. Much of this activity uses new technologies and requires access to new digital and IT processes and incurring expenditure. 

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, said: “We are committed to supporting the Government’s ambitious export targets and ensuring a globally competitive UK film market. As a vital part of the value chain, sales companies connect a film with a global audience, and deliver back to the rights holders the resulting international revenues. 

“Enabling them to evolve their business model in this period of rapid change for the industry, so they can more effectively and efficiently marketing UK films in the competitive international marketplace, is paramount to their trading and our overall film landscape.”

The latest batch funding builds on a pre-existing package that was put in place by the BFI which looked to support individuals, organisations and businesses across the sector that have been most impacted by COVID-19. Moreover, the group is also continuing to work with industry and Government to develop and implement a robust, sector-wide strategy for recovery.