Netflix and Australian music industry charity Support Act are launching a $1 million COVID-19 film and TV emergency relief fund to help casual workers who lost their jobs when productions were shut down or postponed.

The money donated by Netflix will be used to disburse $1,000 to each recipient, with applications opening next Monday.

In addition, the streaming giant is giving an unspecified amount to assist Support Act in its ongoing provision of crisis relief services to musicians, crew and music workers and its mental health promotion activities including the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline, which is available to arts workers across Australia.

Support Act CEO Clive Miller tells IF the money will be dispensed on a “first in, best dressed” basis and he will not be surprised if the fund is exhausted in a couple of days.

“The board of Support Act recognises the huge impact that COVID-19 has had on production personnel across all of the creative industries, and the strong alignment that exists between the music industry and the screen arts,” he said.

“We congratulate Netflix on this initiative and welcome the opportunity to partner with them to help deliver these funds at this extraordinary time of need.”

The recipients are expected to include below-the-line workers in such departments as camera, sound, music, art, make-up, costume design, locations and transportation.

Applicants will need to specify the relevant production and provide referees from that production, which Support Act will verify to prevent rorting.

Miller says there has been a good uptake from screen industry personnel to the Wellbeing Helpline, noting: “The message is getting out there; people are taking advantage of the service.”

Myleeta Aga, Netflix director of content for Australia and South East Asia, said: “We’re grateful to be able to work with Support Act to establish the Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund. We want to help those in the Australian screen industry who most need financial assistance, especially casual workers hit by the current crisis.”

In March, Netflix set up a $US100 million relief fund, since boosted to $US150 million, to support cast and crew who lost their jobs when Netflix-funded productions were shut down or delayed.

That included a $US30 million hardship fund to provide emergency relief to out-of-work crew in the film and TV industries in numerous countries including the UK, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, Mexico, Brazil and Thailand.

Applications can be made here after 9 am on Monday.

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