Global streaming giant Netflix has partnered with the South African Screen Federation (SASFED), supported by the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), to create a Covid-19 film and TV relief fund for South African creatives.
The partnership will provide a one-time, short-term emergency relief grant to below-the-line workers such as electricians, carpenters, hair-and-makeup artists, drivers, costume designers and many other freelancers who are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.
Workers and South Africa’s creative community will be eligible to apply for the R15,000 (US$900) one-time benefit from August 3 by filling out an application at investment fund manager Tshikululu’s website (tshikululu.org.za) or by mailing in applications.
SASFED executive director Unathi Malunga said: “SASFED is delighted about the announcement that the Netflix Covid-19 film and television relief fund will provide relief for workers in the screen sector who were not eligible for other available relief funds. The SA economy has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“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. SASFED applauds Netflix’s support of the local screen sector during the global crisis.”
Sisanda Henna, IPO co-chair, added: “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.
“This is a clear demonstration of Netflix’s commitment to the sustainability of the South African film and TV production industry, and we welcome them with wide-open arms as a partner in our broader efforts to support the screen sector.”
Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s lead for African originals, said: “The South African TV and film community has been dealing with the effects this pandemic has caused to their livelihoods because of the continuous disruptions to local productions. Thank you to SASFED, with the support of IPO, for collaborating with us in our efforts to provide short-term relief to the hardest-hit workers from the local creative industry, who most need our support in these unprecedented times.”
The streaming service has donated more than R8m to aid below-the-line workers whose productions were suspended due to the pandemic. In March, Netflix announced a US$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 US$150m.