'Spotlight' Producer Launches $250,000 COVID-19 Relief Fund for Doc Freelancers

Spotlight Still 5 - H 2016
Courtesy of Photofest

Spotlight Still 5 - H 2016

Field of Vision and Topic Studios will hand out $2,000 emergency grants to laid-off documentary makers needing to pay their rent or buy groceries.

First Look Media's Field of Vision and Topic Studios, producer of the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, have launched a $250,000 relief fund offering emergency grants to freelancers in the documentary field severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipients, including unemployed documentary directors and producers and even publicists and researchers, will receive $2,000 each to help pay for rent, healthcare, bills and groceries and other immediate needs, with the funds to be handed out in two separate tranches in April and May.

"This is an incredibly hard time for the documentary field and we're hoping the fund is able to offer some relief," Field of Vision co-founder and executive producer Charlotte Cook said Tuesday in a statement.

The funding will come from Field of Vision and Topic Studios' current operating budgets.

"We hope to respond to the needs of our collaborators in the documentary community and look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when our main focus will again be on making great work together," Maria Zuckerman, executive vp of Topic Studios and a former HBO exec, added in her own statement.

First Look Media, which co-financed and produced Spotlight, rebranded the studio as Topic in 2017.

Information about the relief fund and application rules is available at fieldofvision.org/relief-fund.