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Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios have announced a $6 million commitment to support the European creative communities in film, TV and theater through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with donations to be made to various relief funds.
The first batch of donations are being made in the U.K., with £1 million ($1.3 million) going to The Film and TV Charity to kick-start a new grants scheme to help the industry recover. In April the charity launched a fund to help those in the industry impacted by the pandemic, and has distributed £3.3 million ($4.3 million) in financial support so far.
The money from Amazon will be used as the founding donation for a second wave of support, including a major new grants scheme that will focus on supporting diverse talent as the industry recovers and production resumes. Eligible individuals will be able to apply for up to £4,500 ($5,900) as part of a package that will enable those hit hardest by the shutdown to remain in the industry, with the charity now calling on the industry to add to the pot to reach a goal of £3.2 million ($4.2 million).
£500,000 is also going to the Theatre Community Fund, the initiative recently set up by Olivia Colman, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Francesca Moody. The fund, which has a long-list of big name founding donors, offers hardship grants to freelancers and creation grants to artists to help ensure a healthy future for the industry.
“The creative community in Europe has been vital to our success in producing high-quality Amazon Original TV series and movies for our global audience, and it is essential for us to help that community through this pandemic,” said Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke.
“We’ve made our first donations of £1.5 million today to provide support to the talented freelancers from the UK’s creative community who have been directly affected by the closure of theatres and halt in TV & film production. As we gear up production on a number of Amazon Original series across the U.K. and Europe in the coming months, we’re committed to continuing to support Europe’s talented creative community through this crisis.”
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity added: “We’re incredibly grateful to Amazon for demonstrating such huge support for people working in television and film at this most difficult time for the industry. This fantastic donation to the Film and TV Charity will kick-start a new fund to support the diverse talent in our industry through the recovery process. We know that the pandemic has a disproportionate impact on people who are already underrepresented in our industry and that we must take action to prevent even greater inequality. There is a time-limited opportunity to protect the diversity of our industry for the future and I hope that others will seize this moment to contribute to our COVID-19 response.”
The Theatre Community Fund said: “We’re utterly blown away to have such an extraordinary level of support from Amazon. Our theatre community has never been more threatened or fragile and this donation, alongside those from other industry individuals, is a game changer for its future. On behalf of the Theatre Community Fund we extend a huge thank you to Amazon for the acknowledgement of the value and power of UK theatre and how we as an industry will survive anything when we hold each other up in times of crisis.”
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