UK trade organization Pact is offering eligible UK indies free and full access to a raft of its services and resources for a period of six months and freezing existing producer members’ payments until September in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Members who have paid in advance will receive a credit note for the period and will be offered the choice of either an immediate cash rebate or a discount against future renewal.
Included in the offer is Pact’s range of services and resources, such as: legal and business affairs advice and support; access to a library of contract templates and agreements; member-only commissioner briefings and events; industry offers and discounts; and business development advice and support, to name a few.
Additionally, the organization is ramping up its offering with “sector-specific support and advice” as a result of pandemic, including: a weekly COVID-19 webinar briefing and Q&A; a dedicated COVID-19 section on the Pact website; e-mail alerts with guidance and information; access to new template agreements and guidance, such as furlough leave letters for employees; and a “turbo-charged” Pact Growth Accelerator.
Pact said the decision will inject nearly £1 million (US$1.2 million) back into the industry at “this much needed time,” providing “direct financial support” to nearly 400 members.
The free membership window for lapsed or new members will run from May to October 2020 and is open to any indies who meet the criteria to qualify as either a full producer, affiliate or film member.
“We hope that this critical support will help our existing members to weather this particularly challenging storm, where their income streams have been severely hit and there’s no certainty around when things might let up,” Pact CEO John McVay said in a statement. “We also encourage indies who are not currently members to take up the offer to benefit from the extra resources and support that Pact membership offers during this time.”
Kate Norrish, executive producer of Hillbilly Films, a Pact member, added: “We are a very small, wholly independent production company who had to halt filming on a feature film as a result of COVID-19 and never has our membership of Pact felt more vital… the clarity of the updates on furloughing and Pact’s brilliantly calm demeanor on the webinars has frankly been a God send. As a result, we have been able to communicate with our crew every step of the way which in turn has made them feel heard in these extremely challenging times. It has also made us as producers feel part of a bigger community which given that we are all self-isolating has helped enormously.”