Amazon has donated £1.5 million ($2 million) to two emergency relief funds for people in the film, TV, and theatre industries in the UK who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pledges were the first in a $6m commitment to help workers in the industry right across Europe, reported Deadline.
The two UK funds receiving the money were the COVID-19 Response Fund established by the UK’s Film and TV Charity and the Theatre Community Fund, set up by Fleabag stars Olivia Colman and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Francesca Moody.
The Film and TV Charity is aiming to raise £3.2m for its new fund, which will be distributed to out-of-work freelancers in the industry, who can apply for grants of up to £4,500. Amazon hoped its pledge would help kickstart a new wave of fundraising after applications far exceeded the original £3.3m in the first fund.
Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film And TV Charity, said they were “incredibly grateful” for Amazon’s pledges.
As well, Amazon was donating £500,000 to the Theatre Community Fund. Colman, Waller-Bridge and Moody said they were “blown away” by Amazon’s contribution. “Our theatre community has never been more threatened or fragile and this donation, alongside those from other industry individuals, is a game changer,” they said in a statement.
Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, remarked that the creative community in Europe had “been vital to our success in producing high-quality Amazon Original TV series and movies for our global audience”.
She added “it was essential for us to help that community through this pandemic.
“We’ve made our first donations of £1.5 million today to provide support to the talented freelancers from the UK’s creative community who have been directly affected by the closure of theatres and halt in TV and film production. As we gear up production on a number of Amazon Original series across the UK and Europe in the coming months, we’re committed to continuing to support Europe’s talented creative community through this crisis.”
In 2019 Waller-Bridge signed an exclusive deal to produce shows for Amazon.
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