A group of freelancers working in the U.K. film distribution and exhibition sectors, supported by leading industry bodies, have banded together to create a dedicated network for jobs and support.

While the film industry relies on freelancers, there are currently no formal structures to support them collectively. Dial F For Freelancer is looking to reduce the barriers in place for finding paid work by creating a growing network of freelancers. The project places the platform in the hands of users, where they control their pitch and profile, choosing projects to showcase themselves, rather than a third party. Members are also supported with resources, contacts and opportunities to collaborate.

The initiative began life as a Facebook group set up by Toki Allison, Moira McVean and Jo Taylor-Hitchinson to support freelancers affected by the onset of the lockdown. It attracted over 250 members and the trio realized that a more formal platform was needed. T​he project received funding from the Film and TV Charity’s Community Grants, allowing the platform to launch formally. Further support came via a fund from the Film Distributors’ Association, as well as contributions from film distributors such as ​Altitude Film Distribution, Bohemia Media and eOne​.

Jo Taylor-Hitchinson, co-founder of Dial F for Freelancer, said: “My freelance career has been powered by collaboration and with the invaluable support of my peers. Creating a network such as this has been an aspiration of mine for a long time and so it’s gratifying to be working with colleagues and supporters who feel the same. It is so exciting to see Dial F for Freelancer come to fruition, giving our sector the spotlight it deserves.”

Andy Leyshon, chief executive of the Film Distributors’ Association, said: “The varied nature of the films FDA members distribute are often reliant upon project-focused freelance expertise across film booking, marketing and publicity specialities. Freelancers have been hit especially hard across the film ecosystem lately and we are pleased to support this worthwhile initiative during these challenging times.”