With a reported 120,000 entertainment union members out of work as a result of social distancing measures to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the IATSE General Executive Board approved $2.5 million in donations to three entertainment charities Tuesday. The funding will go to the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund of Canada.
Matthew D. Loeb, International President of the IATSE, said, “These charities have been assisting and supporting IATSE members and entertainment industry workers for a very long time. They understand the needs of these workers, and are perfectly situated to act as our partners to help those experiencing hardship caused by the current health crisis.”
The IATSE is also working with employers on emergency measures and actively lobbying the federal government to ensure that displaced entertainment workers are included in relief.
Deadline reports that studio responses to production shutdowns vary broadly as the industry scrambles to find solutions for out of work crew. Some employers have promised two-week severance pay to full-time production staff, while others have offered promises to hold jobs secure until work resumes.
The Animation Guild (IATSE Local 839) posted a coronavirus FAQ to its blog on Friday, stating: “The safety and wellbeing of the animation community is a top priority. We have been actively reviewing California state, federal and global recommendations as we navigate this unprecedented situation. We recognize that many members may have questions and concerns and we’d like to address some of the most pressing issues.”
Guild members can find information on TAG’s plans as well as a quick reference to California’s enhanced benefits for workers affected by COVID-19. TAG is also encouraging all union employers to allow employees to work remotely during this emergency.
Independent animators in the U.S. now have a chance to snag funding for their projects. Despite cancelling the 2020 festival, the third edition of the GLAS Animation Grant is going ahead and has just opened for applications. For the 2020 cycle, two separate $2,500 grants (made possible with the support of an anonymous donor) are to be awarded to two individual filmmakers living and working in the United States to create independent short films.
GLAS has extended the deadline through to May 1, 2020. Full criteria and application requirements can be found here.