An R8,3-million donation from Netflix will form the basis of a COVID-19 Film and Television Relief Fund set up by the South African Screen Federation (SASFED), supported by the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO). It will be geared towards providing emergency relief to the hardest-hit workers in South Africa’s creative community.
The funds will be administered by Tshikululu Social Investment, which will screen applications for eligibility as well as disburse the funds to beneficiaries.
The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated creative communities all around the world, including South Africa, with many film and TV productions experiencing disruptions that have left thousands of workers without income. Netflix, in collaboration with SASFED and the IPO, will provide a one-time emergency relief grant to “below-the-line workers”, such as electricians, carpenters, hair and makeup artists, drivers, costume designers and other freelancers who are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis. The workers will be eligible to apply for the R15 000 one-time benefit.
Starting from 3 August 2020, members of South Africa’s creative community will be able to apply by filling out an online application at Tshikululu’s website at tshikululu.org.za, or mailing physical applications. The eligibility criteria will be posted on Tshikululu’s website on 3 August, when applications open.
“The SA economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says SASFED executive director Unathi Malunga. “The Netflix fund supporting the local film industry brings hope to struggling industry professionals. We hope other potential partners will follow Netflix’s example and support SASFED’s broader initiatives which offer assistance to industry professionals across the whole value chain – an initiative undertaken by industry, for the industry.”
Sisanda Henna, IPO co-chairperson, says: “Following months of extreme hardship for most of our sector, the IPO is overjoyed that Netflix is providing this desperately-needed relief for those most hard hit by the pandemic – the industry’s below-the-line freelancers to whom no other relief has been available.”
Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s lead for African Originals, says: “We’re proud to be working with The South African Screen Federation and the Independent Producers Organisation to support the hardest hit workers in TV and film production. South African crews are vital to Netflix’s success and we want to help those freelancers who most need support in these unprecedented times.”
In March, Netflix announced a $100M hardship fund to help the hardest-hit workers in the creative community across the world affected by the pandemic, which has since been increased to $150M. The R8,3 million contribution in South Africa is part of this initiative.