relief fund for production

The effects of the coronavirus on the entertainment industry quickly became apparent over the past week or so, causing nearly every production to shut down and an estimated 120,000 crew members to lose their jobs. In response, Netflix is putting its seemingly never-ending supply of money to good use: the streaming service has announced a $100 million relief fund “to help with hardship in the creative community.” Get the details below.

$100 Million Relief Fund For Production Workers

Netflix executives had already announced that they were to be paying two weeks’ pay to the casts and crews of in-house Netflix series which had to be shut down last week. But there were some concerns that two weeks’ pay at 40 hours per week was a good start, but was not enough for below-the-line workers who are often the first people on set in the morning and the last to go home at night, and who can often put in 60 to 100-hour work weeks.

Thankfully, Netflix has now announced that they’re donating $100 million for relief for those workers. The company’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, provided some clarification in a memo to the company, saying, “Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production.”

In addition to helping support their own production teams, segments of Netflix’s $100 million will be donated to other sources that will help fight this crisis on different fronts. Sarandos continued:

Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.

In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.

This seems like a very big deal – especially given the uncertainty that many now-unemployed workers are feeling right now, as the federal government spins its wheels on how or exactly when it will provide aid to those most in need. Of course, the production community is not the only one who’s been hit hard in the entertainment field: earlier this week, the National Association of Theatre Owners pledged $1 million to its members, while Alamo Drafthouse set up a $2 million fund for the furloughed employees who work in corporate-owned locations.

You can read Sarandos’s full statement below:

The Covid-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally – leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.

This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.

Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.

Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.

In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.

What’s happening is unprecedented. We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.

Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer

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