Covid-19 Information for the North's screen sector

See the latest updates on Covid-19, our work and film in the North. 

Updated 1:00pm, 22 June

COVID-19 is causing uncertainty within the UK screen sector and beyond. Film Hub North is working with industry colleagues to support exhibitors and filmmakers in the region at this difficult time. See below for updates on the current situation and useful resources for those in the screen sector.

Latest updates

Content for recovery

Product availability is a key issue for exhibitors to consider when developing their reopening strategy. To help with this planning, the Film Distributors' Association has published a document that brings together 450 readily available titles from UK distributors. Relaunching Cinema: Content for Recovery is specifically aimed at theatrical exhibitors and features a full list of titles, films sorted by category and distributor contacts - download it now.

Audience attitudes

London-based film exhibitors We Are Parable recently published an article exploring the attitudes of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences towards returning to cinemas in light of the increased risks they face from Covid-19. They are now conducting audience research to examine this issue further - if you work in film exhibition and would like to contribute, please share their survey with your audiences.

Reopening cinemas

The Independent Cinema Office recently surveyed the exhibition sector in order to consider how cinemas might reopen safely with social distancing measures in place. The results from that survey are now available, with a significant number of organisations stating they will not be able to reopen in this way. See our summary article for more analysis and to download the survey report.

What's changed at Film Hub North

Resilience funding for exhibitors

Applications to the BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund are now closed. You can find out about the impact the fund has made in the North and nationwide in our recent article announcing the 20 organisations we're supporting in the region at this critical time.

Other Audience Development funding

The majority of the Hub's National Lottery funding for audience development activity has been redirected to the Covid-19 Resilience Fund. Applications for all other exhibition funds run by the Hub have been suspended and we are not able to assess applications received until further notice. Film Feels Connected is a new, UK-wide funding opportunity from the BFI Film Audience Network. Up to £1,500 is available to support innovative online film exhibition - find out more in our Film Feels article.

Online exhibitor support

We have started a series of Exhibitor Catch Ups which bring together exhibitors from across the North to connect with one another, share experiences and discuss the latest sector developments. Check our events calendar for details of the next session, or get in touch if there's a topic you'd like covered at a Catch Up.

Online Talent Development

Much of our support for filmmakers has moved to online platforms. Our annual Script Lab writers' development programme is taking place remotely - you can read more about the selected writers in our 2020 participants article. We're also organising a regular schedule of online events for filmmakers, including short film showcases, in conversation events with top industry talent and networking sessions for Northern creatives. See our events calendar for details of upcoming sessions.

Ongoing funded projects

Projects already funded by the Hub will be affected by Covid-19. We have reached out to the lead contacts for all ongoing projects to discuss their needs as plans change. We will be as flexible as possible in supporting our partners through their contingency measures.

What hasn't changed at Film Hub North

Supporting film culture in the North

The Hub remains committed to helping exhibitors and filmmakers across the region, and our team is still here to answer your queries. We are now working remotely and ask that our partners reach out to their usual contact via email in the first instance. For general enquiries, exhibitors should contact info@filmhubnorth.org.uk and filmmakers should contact bfinetwork@filmhubnorth.org.uk.

Talent Development funding

Our Short Film Fund and Early Feature Development Fund are still open and accepting applications. As work in the UK production sector has paused, we advise Short Film Fund applicants spend this time refining their script as much as possible. Filmmakers should ensure their team is both robust and right for the project, with a view to submitting an application in Autumn.

This Way Up

The UK's conference for innovation in film exhibition is still scheduled to take place at Watershed, Bristol from 1-2 December. 

Information & resources

BFI - On 9 April, the BFI announced a £4.6m package of support for the UK film industry, including the £1.3m BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund. The BFI continue to update their Covid-19 advice page with key information emerging from the Screen Sector Task Force, a cross-industry group tasked with the recovery plan for the sector on behalf of the UK Government.

UK Cinema Fund - MUBI, the curated streaming service and theatrical distributor, launched the UK Cinema Fund on 28 April in order to support film exhibitors impacted by Covid-19. Over £29,000 has been raised through the campaign - the final amount will be donated to the BFI Film Audience Network Covid-19 Resilience Fund. See our full story on the Fund launch for more information.

The Bigger Picture - The BFI Film Audience Network's central news resource is maintaining a Covid-19 advice page featuring rolling updates on a range of topics relevant to exhibitors. Their recent collection of articles also includes a number of interviews, guest blogs and best practice guides featuring UK exhibitors and the work they have undertaken during lockdown.

Trade Bodies - Trade bodies will be an important source of support for their Members at this time. The UK Cinema Association has set up a resource hub for cinemas, Cinema For All have published advice for community cinemas and BECTU have established a regularly updated information page for their members.

Peer Support - Facebook groups have recently been established for Film Exhibition & Distribution Freelancers and UK Cinema & Venue Employees, providing a space to share news, offer support and discuss opportunities with industry peers.

Film + TV Charity - The Film and TV Charity are aware of the potential impact of coronavirus on people working in film, TV and cinema, particularly in relation to freelance workers and those on limited hours contracts. Their advice page features information on mental health, their 24 hour support line and finances. Applications for the The Film and TV Charity Emergency Relief Fund, created in partnership with the BFI, are currently closed.