Earlier this year, Netflix announced its collaboration with the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) for a relief fund supporting Lebanon’s film and television industry. Now, the AFAC-Netflix Hardship Fund has revealed that 246 grants have been awarded to industry creatives in Lebanon.
The fund was valued in total at US $500,000, and aims to offer financial support to those within Lebanon’s film and television industry. The 246 individual grants of $2,000 have been primarily awarded to below-the-line crew, including the production crew and freelancers who have been struggling financially due to the country’s current economic crisis, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and the devastating port explosion in Beirut, on August 4.
Application for the AFAC-Netflix Hardship Fund opened on October 26, with a total of 390 submissions received by November. AFAC has stated that the submissions were from individuals based in Lebanon, from seven countries from around the region, with 97% being from freelancers in the industry and 58% from people aged between 25 and 35. Those receiving grants were chosen by an independent jury comprised of industry professionals, including director Amin Dora, and producers May Abi Raad and Sabine Sidawi Hamdan.
The development of Netflix‘s partnership with AFAC was first revealed in early October. “There is a real fear of loss of livelihoods for freelance artists, professionals, and practitioners, which may eventually lead to migration and creativity drain,” Rima Mismar, executive director of AFAC, said at the time of the announcement. “We hope that this support will offer the community of practitioners a sense of solidarity and something to hold on to while fighting its way out of this emergency situation.”
The AFAC-Netflix Hardship Fund was created under the $100 million fund that was launched by the streaming giant in March this year, to support the creative community that has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As impacts of the pandemic worsen throughout the world, the value of the fund has now been increased to $150 million.
Holding image photographed by Carmen Yahchouchi