STATE News – The New Mexico Film Office (NMFO) is encouraging furloughed workers in the film and television industry to apply directly to non-profit relief funds for assistance, Film Office Director Amber Dodson said today.
A portion of the money going into the funds is from Netflix, which is contributing $100 million worldwide to assist industry workers during the COVID-19 health emergency. Netflix is not only paying its own laid off cast and crew members but has pledged $15 million to non-profit foundations with applications open to all film and television workers nationwide.
New Mexico has thousands of industry workers who might benefit from the assistance as all productions have stopped in the state due to the COVID-19 health emergency. New Mexico has two major film and television studio partners in Albuquerque, Netflix and NBCUniversal, and both have paused work on television shows to slow the spread of the virus.
“The film and television industry is important to diversify New Mexico’s economy,” Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said. “The state is doing everything we can to find the resources to help these workers.”
“These assistance funds are in place and we want our industry workforce to be aware of what’s available and apply if they are eligible,” Dodson said.
“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,” Netflix said in a press release. “Most of the fund will go toward 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.”
So far Netflix has also contributed $1 million each to The Motion Picture and Television Fund, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and the Actors Fund. Each is open to New Mexico workers and has its own review process and application.
The IATSE general executive board has also approved $2.5 million in donations to entertainment charities in the United States and Canada.
“The IATSE International general executive board approved the donation of $2.5 million to three charities that support entertainment workers, including the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the Actors Fund, and the Actor’s Fund of Canada,” said Liz Pecos, president of IATSE Local 480 in Santa Fe. “These organizations provide support and services for entertainment workers, such as emergency financial assistance, affordable housing, health care and insurance counseling, senior care and services, secondary career development, and more. The emergency financial assistance offered by these organizations can be of great benefit to local film workers at this time if they qualify.”
The Motion Picture and Television Fund helps entertainment industry workers of many kinds and provides counseling, economic assistance for mortgages, rent, utilities, medical costs, and other necessities on a case-by-case basis.
Information is available here: mptf.com/coronavirus/
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation covers members who are in an emergency financial crisis related to COVID-19 and offers assistance for expenses such as rent, utilities, and medical bills.
Information is available here: sagaftra.foundation/assistance/disasterrelief/
The Actors Fund, for professional performing arts and entertainment professionals.
Information is available here: https://actorsfund.org/am-i-eligible-help
The Economic Development Department has a listing of loan and grant programs available to businesses in the state on its website here. For statewide resources on the COVID-19 health emergency with health, education, nutrition, and financial assistance, visit www.newmexico.gov.