The program is designed to help U.K. productions that have been suspended and are not able to secure insurance going forward, or are yet to start because of the lack of insurance but can begin principal photography before the end of the year. The go-live date for the program is not yet announced.
The program is open to eligible productions that will incur at least 50% of the production budget on U.K. expenditure and pass the cultural test that qualifies them as “British.”
Several categories of production are excluded from the program, including news and current affairs programs that are broadcast live; productions that provide coverage of live events, including sport, or theatrical, musical or artistic performances given otherwise than for the purpose of being filmed; productions that are filmed, whether in whole or in part, in front of a paying live audience; advertisements or other promotional shows; training shows that will not be publicly broadcast; and pornography.
Applicants to the program will also have to make social commitments, including no unpaid internships and meeting the British Film Institute’s (BFI) diversity standards.
In the case of losses stemming from individuals affected by coronavirus, proof of testing must be provided.
The compensation covers include: for cast losses relating to the interruption, postponement or abandonment of the eligible production following the death or critical illness of the immediate family member of a named person resulting from COVID-19; the losses incurred in respect of five consecutive days of production; if productions are interrupted or postponed, 20% of the production budget will be reimbursed, and if productions are abandoned, 70% of the budget, up to a maximum of £5 million ($6.48 million).
For projects with a production budget of £30 million ($38.9 million) or more, the assessment of the commercial viability criteria will be carried out by DCMS and the eligible participant will be required to submit to the DCMS additional documentary evidence demonstrating that each of the relevant requirements has been met.
“In working on a recovery plan for the sector, it quickly became evident to the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force that securing coronavirus-related insurance was the biggest hurdle for independent producers in getting productions back up and running,” said Harriet Finney, the BFI’s director of external affairs. “The government’s support in formulating this £500 million scheme is welcome news for our production business, jobs and for the economy.”
John McVay, CEO of producers’ body Pact, said: “The majority of the film and TV sector has been unable to return to production due to a lack of COVID insurance cover, so clarity on the government scheme means that the sector should now be able to get back to what we love most – making TV programs and films enjoyed by U.K. audiences and many more millions around the globe.”
Pact chair and All3Media chief operating officer, Sara Geater, said: “We welcome the government’s support for our industry which will see a return to work for thousands of people and provide the U.K. TV and film industry with the opportunity and confidence to put production plans into practice to build on the huge global success we achieved in 2019.”