Following the mid-April announcement of Netflix’s COVID-19 relief fund allocations for Mexico and Brazil, the streaming giant has unveiled its plans for Colombia where it has partnered with the Colombian Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to extend aid to over 1,500 below-the-line workers in Colombia’s film and TV industry. To this end, Netflix has donated $500,000 towards the fund, which the Academy will administer.
As it has in Mexico and Brazil, the relief fund will support the hardest-hit workers who have been directly impacted by the suspension of productions across the country, such as production assistants, camera operators, lighting technicians, make-up assistants, and production drivers, among others, many of whom subsist on hourly wages and on a per project basis. A list of more than 100 eligible jobs has been determined.
“The hardest hit workers are the backbone of the entertainment industry,” said Academy president Consuelo Luzardo. “We hope that by joining forces we can support them in these difficult times; Netflix’s commitment to this fund is welcome and we hope that other industry members can join and contribute as well,” Luzardo added. She pointed out that these funds were not only for those who have worked on Netflix productions. “The fund’s disbursement must be transparent as we make sure it goes to the right people who need it most,” she asserted.
Interested parties must fill out an application form at the Academy’s website. An evaluation board, comprising Academy members, independent producers association Asocinde and film promotion non-profit Proimágenes Colombia, will evaluate the applications and determine the eligibility of the recipients within 10 days. The submission period kicks off on May 5 and will continue for two months or until the fund is depleted.
Said Francisco Ramos, VP of Latin American Originals at Netflix: “We have a strong commitment in Colombia and with this alliance with the Academy we want to contribute to help give relief to workers in the audiovisual industry who have had to stop their work during these difficult times. We thank the Academy, Asocinde and Proimágenes Colombia for their collaboration and support for this initiative.”
Netflix announced a $100 million fund in April to support the global creative community affected by the pandemic and recently boosted the fund to $150 million. The fund is pledged towards supporting the worst hit workers on Netflix productions around the world as well as third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to the broader creative community at this time. Its $500,000 contribution to Colombia is part of this initiative.
Since launching in Colombia, the OTT has worked with notable local creators – whether through licensing deals, co-productions or originals – and filmed various local and international shows across the country. More than 35,000 locals have been hired as cast, crew and extras in these local productions over the years.
One of Netflix’s top shows, “Narcos,” shot in Colombia for three seasons before moving subsequent seasons to Mexico. Other notable Netflix original titles shot on location in the country include Dynamo production “Distrito Salvaje” (“Wild District”), supernatural drama “Siempre Bruja,” (“Always a Witch”), and season 2 of the Mexican original series “Ingobernable,” among others.
Netflix has a worldwide subscriber base of 183 million in over 190 countries.