RIO DE JANEIRO —  Netflix announced Tuesday April 14, the creation of a 5 million reals ($1 million) fund to support local below-the-line production employees and free-lancers not able to work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid will be distributed by the Brazilian Institute of Audiovisual Content (ICAB), an arm of leading industry organization Brazil Audiovisual Independent (BRAVI). It will help up to 5,000 workers with one part of the local monthly minimum wage of US$200. It targets personnel involved in production tasks, such as cinematography, sound, art design, makeup, scenography, and logistics.

The effort in Brazil is part of a US$100 million worldwide fund Netflix announced March 20.

Brazilian workers can apply on ICAB’s website (icabrasil.org) beginning April 28. A committee comprised of ICAB, BRAVI and Netflix members is due to respond to each application within 10 days.

“We would like to invite other industry players to contribute to the fund, which is designed exclusively to support those who are key for the Brazilian production industry,” said ICAB executive director Mauro Garcia.

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Omniscient Netflix

Brazil’s production sector is undergoing its worst crisis in 30 years. It was already hurt before the coronavirus pandemic, due to a dispute with the extreme right-wing administration of president Jair Bolsonaro, which among other measures delayed the release of state finance from Brazil’s Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA), the most important incentive fund. With the shutdown of all production sets and theaters in March, the industry is now virtually paralyzed.

Netflix announced in April 2019 it had 30 original series and films in some phase of production in Brazil. The initial focus was on series. The company released 11 Brazilian original series in 2019, the most popular “Sintonia,” and two other series so far this year, one “Omniscient,” from “3%” producers Boutique Filmes.

The first Netflix pic in Brazil, Cesar Rodrigues’ “Airplane Mode,” which was released on Jan. 23, 2020, became the most popular non-English language feature on Netflix in the world, watched by nearly 28 million households.

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Mauro Garcia Nicholas Vallone