Netflix launches COVID-19 fund, as UAE, Bulgaria and Lithuania publish plans

COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on the arts, with venues indefinitely closed. However, more funds to support the arts through this difficult time have been announced in recent days.

Netflix has paired up with the The Netherlands Film Fund (TNFF) to support workers affected. The streaming platform, which has offices in Amsterdam, has donated €1m that will go to, “vulnerable freelancers, film makers, cast and crew and other film professionals.”

“Our goal is to continue the productivity of the Dutch film world and to ensure that the entire chain is maintained in such a way that beautiful Dutch productions can be seen this autumn and later,” said TNFF director Bero Beyer.

The criteria and application process will be announced by TNFF in the coming weeks, with details posted on its website.

Meanwhile Bulgarian minister of culture Boil Banov has said the country will make funds available to help independent artists, regional organisations and national cultural institutions. Freelance artists can apply for a minimum wage stipend for three months, while six months of subsidies will be made available for organisations. Details on how to apply can be found on the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture website.

Similar plans have been unveiled in Lithuania. Minister of culture Mindaugas Kvietkauskas has made a €700,000 fund available to compensate for loss of earnings for freelance cultural workers. He also announced a €3 million fund to develop new services that respond to the COVID-19 quarantine situation, as well as a €600,000 grant fund for individual artists and culture professionals.

Elsewhere, the Ministry of Culture for the United Arab Emirates is surveying individuals and institutions to find out what support they need. “We have launched this survey…to first get a better understanding of the challenges facing the talent in the creative sector at this time,” said minister of culture Noura Al Kaabi. “The next step will be to develop appropriate initiatives and incentives to ensure that the creative community is aptly supported to thrive.”

The survey is available online and is open until 28 April. The UAE Government has already bought AED1.5m (€375,000) worth of local art since March as an act of support for the sector.

Finally, UK music companies have donated GBP1.5m (€1.72m) to a hardship fund for musicians. Donors include PPL, Sony Music Entertainment UK, Warner Music UK, Universal Music UK, Cherry Red, Demon Music Group, the BRIT Awards and Amazon Music. The Coronavirus Financial Hardship Fund fund will be administered by Help Musicians.