How the film industry is adapting in response to COVID-19
- Julia Kajdi
- 10 April 2020
Including free online film courses, virtual Q&As, screening parties, support groups and mental health consultations
The film industry is one of the cultural sectors that has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, largely due to cinemas shutting their doors, film shootings temporarily being suspended, premieres getting postponed and film festivals cancelling their events. These necessary measures and safety precautions have resulted in the unavoidably difficult situation where industry professionals find themselves in need of financial and community support.
Fortunately, there are a large number of film initiatives offering just that. The industry is finding new ways to support its members, from offering virtual space to create and improve and making courses available for free to setting up mental health support lines and shifting festivals online to guarantee that new releases reach audiences, while serving the community on the other end of the camera, too
Financial, mental and professional support
One of the most detrimental effects of a crisis like the one we're tackling at the moment is the financial loss numerous industries will suffer; and the film community is in a particularly dire situation at the moment. To help those working in the sector, the Film + TV Charity has started a Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund accepting applications until Wed 22 Apr. They're also starting a Repayable Grants Scheme on Wed 15 Apr to support freelancers, while their support line is open for calls 24/7 for mental health consultations.
The Cinema Technology Community (CTC) non-profit independent trade organisation is offering free membership for six months for the global cinema community. This allows access to members-only content including presentations, magazines, academic papers, podcasts, test materials and video content. Similarly to this, the Arts Marketing Association (AMA) supports artists with free training and access to resources including webinars as well as its Coronavirus Support Facebook group.
For those working with documentaries or interested in them, the Documentary Association of Europe is offering 50% off on their memberships until Sun 31 May. DAE benefits include becoming part of a strong and wide-ranging community, gaining access to deals, discounts, information and expert knowledge.
The UK Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund is for staff members working in London and Kent, while the UK Cinemas Network Facebook group is there for everyone who works/has worked in cinemas or multi-arts venues for social support and professional opportunities. Crowdfunder has partnered up with the Creative Industries Federation to provide assistance for creative individuals in need of funds to finance their ongoing projects.
Screen Scotland have announced new funding and support for Scotland's screen sector with the Screen Bridging Bursary programme and Single Project Development Fund. The Screen Bridging Bursary will provide one-off bursaries of £500 to £2,500 to screen sector workers who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty, while the Single Project Development Fund – one for TV and another for film projects – will support the development of work across live-action and animation or single feature film projects.
Finally, both the Independent Cinema Office and the Culture Health & Wellbeing Alliance have put together useful guides with further links to explore for additional support, while Freedom News have a long list of UK mutual aid groups for support purposes.
Events, courses and online festivals
Curzon Cinema hosts a series of virtual living room Q&As with directors and actors including sessions with Asif Kapadia, Joanna Hogg, Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, David Tait and more. You can also join Late Night director Nisha Ganatra for a talk on the film alongside an Amazon Prime watch party on 18 Apr.
Up for a self-isolation film challenge with the time limit of 48 hours? IsoStation runs a competition twice a week looking for the best three-minute-long pieces in any genre. Or looking for professional development? Raindance provides a number of lockdown sessions on various industry related topics like cinematic lightning or writing characters. Screen Skills' Indie Training Fund courses introduce you to people skills, production, scripting and technical aspects of TV and film while Screen Skills Ireland offers various workshops for free.
The National Film and Television School is to hold a series of virtual open days to meet the Heads of Department, current students and alumni; while Sundance Co//ab supports filmmakers worldwide with online courses, masterclasses and resources.
While certain film festivals like Venice or Cannes are against moving their selection onto online spaces, Tribeca Film Festival has a different view; they will debut a selection from their 2020 programme starting on Fri 17 Apr. And they are not alone. Although Sheffield Doc/Fest have postponed the main body of their festival, they will still host their pitching forums, the MeetMarket and Alternate Realities Talent Market in June virtually.
Galway Film Centre in partnership with Galway City of Film and the Galway Film Fleadh have announced that the One Minute Film Festival is back and accepting entires until Wed 1 May to offer the opportunity for filmmakers to create new pieces – even if they cannot be longer than 70 seconds. Looking for something more challenging? The Direct Monthly Online Film Festival is an international film competition that accepts short films, documentaries, animations and web series of any genre. The final deadline is Thu 30 Apr, so there is still time to get creative and submit a film.
St. John's International Women's Film Festival are continuing to connect industry members and audiences via their cozy chat sessions where female filmmakers share their stories and work over on SJIWFF's Instagram.
How The List can help
For the first time in the publication and website's history, we are now accepting online events to feature virtual talks, Q&As, workshops, film premieres and community watch parties. So please do send us your live stream events using the yellow 'Add an event' button in the top right hand corner on our main website.
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