A group of U.K. film workers have set up a ‘Film and TV Behind the Scenes Assistance Fund’ to help their co-workers in need.
The brainchild of location manager Vinnie Jassal (“Kingsman: The Golden Circle”) and co-owner of supply company Spotless H20 Georgette Turner (“Wonder Woman 1984”), the fund was originally set up to help junior members of location departments who became out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Another location manager, Ben Ahmed (“Hanna”), came up with the idea of basing the fund on ‘Friday Fiver,’ a popular on-set game where crew put £5 ($6.25) into a pot and the name drawn out of a hat wins all.
The fund was created in March as productions began shutting down across the U.K. The ‘Friday Fiver’ scheme quickly became a success with up to 7,000 unemployed film and television industry workers playing each week. Around 80% of the pot goes to the winner, and the remaining 20% goes to the fund.
Workers in need can apply for financial help from the fund, and donors can give via its GoFundMe page. Applications are vetted by Jassal, Turner, Ahmed, unit manager Ross Monaghan (“Pennyworth”), and Charlie Pigram, co-owner of Spotless H20. The group does not charge any fees.
“We thought it would be good to help the younger people out, because obviously they get paid less when they are working,” Jassal told Variety. “We thought it would be potentially good to give back to people, if they needed it. It grew, it became more popular and we branched it out to all departments.”
Lucky winners under the ‘Friday Fiver’ lottery scheme include personnel from props and locations departments who have won £17,000 ($21,217) each. The Fund has collected more than £33,000 ($41,000) to date. It is open to all U.K. film and TV industry personnel, working in a crew department, with a minimum of one year’s experience. Applicants are required to send in a CV with two references/referees and supporting bank statements as evidence.