The UK’s Film and TV Production Restart Scheme has backed a total of 640 projects in its first year of operation, supporting some $2.6BN (£1.9BN) worth of production on Brit shores since it was rolled out.
The initiative was introduced only July 28, 2020 to plug the gap left after coronavirus insurance became effectively impossible to acquire from regular insurers. The fund underwrites Covid-related delays, allowing producers to avoid potentially crippling financial exposure.
Films backed include Mothering Sunday starring Odessa Young, Josh O’Connor, Olivia Colman and Colin Firth, which just premiered at Cannes, and Terence Davies’ Benediction, which is set to screen at Toronto and San Sebastian. TV shows include Peaky Blinders and Gentleman Jack.
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The British Film Institute, which administers the fund, said 55,000 screen sector jobs had been supported thanks to the Restart Scheme. Back in March, it was announced that the initiative would be extended until the end of December this year.
UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I’ve seen firsthand how this scheme has been a lifeline during this pandemic, keeping the cameras rolling on TV and film sets across the country, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the process – from actors, make-up artists and technicians all the way to catering companies and transport firms.”
BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts added: The pandemic brought production to a halt early last year and unable to restart without insurance cover against potential COVID disruption, however the Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme has been a game-changer for the industry’s recovery. A year down the line we are looking at a booming sector attracting further commercial investment and opportunities for more jobs and contributing to the UK’s economy.”
John McVay, Pact CEO added: “At a time when UK TV and film productions were looking as if they would never get back to work, the Government’s Film & TV Production Restart Scheme provided the critical business support for the sector, enabling them to start or re-start their productions, keeping people in jobs and getting new content on UK screens.”