SASFED & Netflix link up to help SA creative community

Tshikululu Social Investments to administer the R8 million Netflix donation to help support the hardest hit below-the-line workers whose productions were suspended due to the pandemic

In collaboration with Netflix, the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) has established a Covid-19 Film and Television Relief Fund. The Fund is aimed at providing emergency relief to the hardest-hit workers in South Africa’s creative community.

The Tshikululu Social Investment is set to oversee the donations by not only diligently screening applications for eligibility but also disbursing the funds accordingly to beneficiaries. One donation already confirmed yesterday is from Netflix who will donate over R8, 3 million.

Like most communities and industries, the Covid-19 pandemic has also had devastating effects on the creative communities around the world, including Mzansi. As expected, many film and TV productions have experienced disruptions and as a consequence, have left thousands of workers without any source of income.

Set to commence from August 3, 2020, members of South Africa’s creative community are invited to apply through either one of two ways, the first one is by filling out an online application at Tshikululu’s website with the second option being to mail physical applications. Eligibility criteria will be up on Tshikululu’s website on the same day when applications open.

“SASFED is delighted about the announcement that the COVID-19 Film and Television Relief Fund will provide relief for workers in the film and TV sector who are not eligible for other available relief funds. The S.A. 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 industry during the global crisis,” said Unathi Malunga, SASFED Executive Director.

The collaboration between Netflix, SASFED and the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), will provide a one time emergency relief grant. The grant is set to be dispersed to ‘below the line workers that include electricians, carpenters, hair and makeup artists, drivers, costume designers and many other freelancers who are usually paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis’. As part of the agreement, these workers will be eligible to apply for the R15 000 one-time benefit.

Sisanda Henna, IPO co-Chairperson 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.”

Interesting to note that back in March, Netflix also announced a $100M hardship fund aimed at helping the hardest-hit workers in the creative community across the world affected by the pandemic. This has since been increased to $150M. The R 8, 3 million contribution in this instance effectively forms part of this initiative.

Summing it up was Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s lead for African Originals who mentioned, “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.”