Netflix teams up with SASFED to create film and TV relief fund to help SA creatives

Cameraman filming.
Cameraman filming.
Photo: John Benitez on Unsplash
  • The South African Screen Federation (SASFED), supported by the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), announced the establishment of a Covid-19 film and television relief Fund in collaboration with Netflix.
  • The streaming service has donated over R8 million to aid below-the-line workers whose productions were suspended due to the pandemic.
  • From 3 August members of South Africa’s creative community will be able to apply.

The South African Screen Federation (SASFED), supported by the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), announced the establishment of a Covid-19 film and television relief fund in collaboration with Netflix.

The fund will provide emergency relief to the hardest-hit workers in South Africa's creative community.

The streaming service will donate over R8.3 million, which will be administered by Tshikululu Social Investment, who will screen the applications for eligibility as well as payout the funds to beneficiaries.

"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 that were not eligible for other available relief funds. The SA economy has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, said 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. SASFED applauds Netflix' support of the local screen sector during the global crisis."

It 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 basisWorkers will be eligible to apply for the R15 000 one-time benefit. 

Sisanda Henna, IPO co-Chairperson said: "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."

From 3 August the members of the creative community will be able to apply by filling out an online application at Tshikululu's website (tshikululu.org.za) or mailing physical applications. The eligibility criteria will be posted on the website when applications open.

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.
Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix's lead for African Originals

In March, Netflix announced a $100 million 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 $150 million. The R8,3 million contribution in South Africa is part of this initiative.

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht