Covid-19 Information for the North's screen sector

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

Updated 2:00pm, 26 May

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.

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. We are reviewing all submissions and will contact applicants within 3 weeks of the application closing date - Wednesday, 6 May 2020.

Online Talent Development - We're moving much of our support for filmmakers to online platforms. Our annual Script Lab writers' development programme will take place online and we will announce the selected participants shortly. We're also pleased to launch a new series of online events for filmmakers - 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.

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.

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 have been temporarily suspended and we are not able to assess applications received until further notice. We appreciate this will be disappointing news, but hope our Members understand that these steps have been taken to provide vital support to the Northern exhibition sector during this period of uncertainty.

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.

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. 

Rolling updates & 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.

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 the survey report.

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 £28,000 was raised through the campaign, which 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 posting rolling updates on a range of topics relevant to exhibitors. Their advice page covers everything from the government's latest guidance to maintaining cinema technology throughout periods of closure to blogs on what cinemas can do whilst operating remotely.

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.