Collaboration and mutual support have always been the cornerstones of the film and television industries. One only has to listen to the winners’ speeches delivered throughout this year’s awards season to realise the number of people involved behind every triumph, and the gratefully-received support that makes each prize possible.
It was with this understanding at its core that The Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, the UK charity for people behind the scenes in cinema, film, and commercial television, launched its Legacy Appeal this month, fronted by Stephen Fry.
During his BAFTA wrap-up speech this year, he poignantly said:
“….no matter how much we lament the passing of our [film] heroes, film endures where we don’t. Generations yet unborn will enjoy the work of those we have lost – Film is Forever! Film defies death!”
How fittingly this speech lends itself to what we’re asking people to consider in the film & television industries today. We’re asking people to consider leaving a donation to the charity within their Will, whose donations will then play a vital role in safeguarding the charity’s future work; contributing to the £3 million worth of support granted to over 1,000 individuals working behind-the-scenes that are facing significant hardship each year.
‘Carry On’ back-catalogue
A number of industry veterans have already taken this generous step. Indeed, one donation that has already been put to great use is that of legendary producers Peter Rogers and Betty Box. The pair bequeathed a significant portion of their estate, including all future royalties generated from the iconic ‘Carry On’ back-catalogue.
The ‘Carry On’ films have brought joy for almost 60 years; they made a star of Barbara Windsor and countless others, and are ingrained into our popular culture. Still as popular as ever, Rogers and Box’s donation of the catalogue’s future royalties has brought considerable funds to the CTBF to date to be put to good use, and modern audiences now know that their own enjoyment of the films today and in future, will bring a lasting positive impact to those in need.
The entertainment industry is one of our country’s great cultural and commercial exports, so it is absolutely fitting that the ‘Carry On’ films – a defiantly British form of filmmaking and a bonafide national treasure to boot – will go some way to sustaining and promoting this legacy going forward.
And that a producer famously forced to take such creative financial measures to get those films on screen (we’ve all heard the wonderful stories of Rogers dashing his cast and crew across Pinewood Studios to make use of other films’ sets before they were disassembled), now leaves the financial means to allow future generations to overcome obstacles in their path and best bring their artistic visions to life.
Legacy is carrying on
Legacy is, of course, a hugely powerful concept in the film and television business. While we certainly believe the ethos of the Legacy Appeal is something for other charities to consider too within their own industries or centres of interest, it feels particularly right for an industry for which the ideas of fraternity, collaboration, and pitching in together are so entrenched. Our appeal is really an opportunity for people of all ages to think about the legacies that they want to leave behind, and a chance for their work to resonate long after their deaths.
Our favourite screen performances and productions live in our minds forever. Now they can live on and make a real transformative difference long after the director has called a wrap on proceedings.
Indeed, perhaps at an awards ceremony many decades down the line, Rogers, Box and others may well find themselves the recipient of a much-deserved thank you from a star clutching an Oscar only made possible by their support.
Paul Pirie is Head of Fundraising at The CTBF.
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