PANDEMIC SUPPORT RESPONSE
COVID-19 INDUSTRY RESOURCE LIBRARY
We're maintaining a list of resources to assist entertainment industry professionals during this unprecedented time. TimeJump Media cares deeply about the well-being and safety of the people who keep our industry going. While this is not an exhaustive list, we will continue to update this page as more resources are available. These links are provided for your reference and education only. Kindly note that TimeJump Media is unable to intercede or expedite any requests on your behalf. Should you need assistance, whenever possible, we will attempt to point you in the right direction.
FILM INDUSTRY PANDEMIC RESOURCES BY TERRITORY
FILM RESCUE PACKAGES BY COUNTRY
FRANCE COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
Both the French state and the National Center for Cinema and Animated Image (CNC) - a public establishment under the authority of the Ministry of Culture, in charge of public policy in cinema and other animated image arts – have adopted emergency measures to help businesses, authors and self-employed workers of the film and cinema industry (see 1 and 2 below).
Moreover, as a response to the closure of cinemas during the COVID-19 lockdown, the French Parliament adopted an emergency law in March 2020 that provides for exceptional shorter time conditions for movie broadcasting and on-demand access (see 3 below).
Emergency measures deployed by the CNC
Among the measures deployed by the CNC, are the following:
Tax suspension: Suspension of the cinemas’ obligation to pay tax on entries to cinemas for March and April 2020.
Early payments: The CNC has made several forms of financial aid available earlier than initially planned. At the beginning of April 2020, the CNC provided financial aid to arthouse theaters (€16.5 million) and selective distribution financial aid (€5.5 million). As early as May 2020, the CNC will provide financial aid to independent theaters offering quality content and operating under challenging competition (“salles à programmation difficile”) (€1.7 million).
Anticipated access to financial support: The CNC offered the possibility to any company holding an “automatic financial support account” with the CNC – such as producers, distributors, operators, video editors, and exporters – to obtain advance access to 30% of the sum of the account, even before being in a position to develop new projects. This measure offers financial relief to businesses facing pressing cash needs following the COVID-19 crisis.
Subsidies: The CNC continues to maintain subsidies to events – including festivals – that have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
Solidarity funds: The CNC has financially contributed to two solidarity funds: (i) the solidarity fund of the “SACD” (“Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques”, a not-for-profit society that defends authors’ rights) and (ii) the solidary fund of the “SCAM” (“Société civile des auteurs multimedia”, a not-for-profit society that defends multimedia authors’ rights). The solidarity funds will be used to provide emergency financial aid of €1500 per month to authors, supported by the CNC, whose activity is particularly affected by COVID-19, and who are not eligible for the solidary fund created by the French government to benefit very small businesses and self-employed professionals.
Emergency measures deployed by the French state
The French state has implemented various emergency measures to help the film and cinema industry, to prevent any cessation of payments that could lead to permanent shut down of activity and redundancies. These measures include the following:
Part-time working: Possibility to use part-time working with 100% state financial coverage up to 4,5 times the minimum wage (“Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance”, or “SMIC”), for non-salaried workers of the entertainment industry (“intermittents”).
Solidarity funds: Creation of a solidarity fund dedicated to very small businesses and self-employed workers, who are experiencing financial difficulties because of their administrative closure or a reduction of more than 50% of their activity. Very small businesses and self-employed workers can receive financial aid of €1500 per month, and benefit from deferrals of rent, water, electricity and gas bills.
Additional time to pay social and tax installments, and, for those in the most difficult situations, direct tax rebates which can be granted on a case-by-case basis after individual assessment.
Early repayment of tax credits (“credits d’impôts”). This applies to the national and international cinema and audio-visual tax credits, the video games tax credits and VAT credits.
State-guaranteed loans: Access to state-guaranteed loans from all banks, for a total amount of €300 billion, with the possibility of benefiting from deferred repayment.
Public Investment Bank facilities: Access to facilities from the Public Investment Bank (“dispositifs spécifiques de la Banque publique d’investissement”), including loans and overdraft facility guarantees.
Exceptional shorter time conditions for movie broadcasting and on-demand access
On March 23, 2020, the "emergency law to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic" (available here in French) was published. It includes an exceptional derogation to the “media chronology” (“chronologie des medias”) rule imposed on movie broadcasting.
This derogation aims at allowing the public to continue to enjoy newly released movies following the closure of cinemas in France from April 14, 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The emergency law of April 23, 2020 allows the President of the CNC to decide, on an exceptional basis, to reduce the statutory time period (usually 4 months) within which a movie cannot be shown in video or on audio-visual media – which includes both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand audio-visual media services – after its release in cinemas.
This exception applies to movies that were still being screened in cinemas on March 14, 2020.
Consequently, movies that were not released in cinemas by March 14, 2020 are not eligible for this exception. However, with respect to movies whose release in cinemas was planned after March 14, 2020 and thus during the COVID-19 lockdown, their producers and distributors who wish to release them as videos-on-demand can be exempted from reimbursing the state “cinema” financial aid that they would normally be required to reimburse.
To date, according to the CNC’s website, the President of the CNC has authorized the early release of more than 50 movies (the list of which can be found here, in French).
GERMANY COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
The federal and state film funding agencies have developed a joint aid program with measures for production, distribution and cinema, which is meant to be implemented quickly and with little bureaucracy. The aid program, worth €15 million, is jointly supported by eight state funding agencies as well as the German Federal Film Board and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media. It will apply to projects jointly funded by different funding institutions, which have not benefitted from any other federal and state aid measures and funding programs set up in the context of the pandemic.
Measures to support the production sector include:
Aid for projects with a planned start of production by 30 June 2020, for which a written funding commitment or notice of approval had already been submitted by 18 March 2020;
Waiver of the reimbursement of funds already disbursed and used for the intended purpose in the event of a pandemic-related interruption of shooting; and
Special aid for additional costs in case of pandemic-related interruption and postponement of shootings.
However, details, for example, with regard to application requirements are still unclear.
Furthermore, the Executive Board and Administrative Board of the German Federal Film Board (FFA) have decided on a (separate) comprehensive package of measures to support the German film and cinema industry. The package must still be approved by the FFA legal supervisory authority, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. In case of approval, the program shall include, amongst others, the deferral of loans and outstanding tax payments for cinemas from the cut-off date of 1 March 2020. Dunning procedures shall not be pursued further for the time being.
In addition, the German federal and state governments have implemented various aid programs for creatives, artists and the self-employed, which can be applicable to individuals working in the German film and media industry.
HUNGARY COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
Hungary ranks as Europe’s second most popular filming destination after the United Kingdom. The Hungarian government has introduced new regulations due to COVID-19, which provide tax exemptions for film, media and other entertainment industries and a moratorium on lease agreements concluded by legal entities from such industries, operating in Hungary:
1. Tax exemptions and tax reductions
The Hungarian government has introduced a number of sector-specific tax exemptions and tax reductions with respect to certain economic sectors. These tax exemptions and reductions are applicable – inter alia – to employers carrying out the following activities as their main activity:
Motion picture, video and television program production, sound recording and music publishing activities;
Programming and broadcasting activities; and
Creative, arts and entertainment activities.
Employers conducting the above business activities are exempt from paying social contribution tax and vocational training contribution. In addition, the government has also introduced a temporary reduction of social security contributions normally deducted from gross salaries by employers by introducing a cap of HUF 7,710 (approximately EUR 20) per employee for the in-kind health insurance contribution, and by suspending the collection of pension contributions and labor market contributions.
The above temporary exemptions, reductions and tax base calculation rules will apply from March to June 2020. They are available on the condition that most, but at least 30% of the employer’s overall income of the past 6 months was realized as a result of one of the activities listed above and such activity was actually conducted as the main activity.
2. Ban of termination of lease contracts
In the tourism, catering, entertainment, gambling, film industry, performing arts, event organization and sporting services sectors, lease contracts for non-residential premises cannot be terminated by a party until June 30, 2020. The landlord may not raise rent until the end of the state of emergency.
Employers in the above sectors are exempt from the payment of wage taxes from March to June 2020, except for the in-kind health insurance contribution, which is capped at HUF 7,710 (approximately EUR 20) per employee per month.
ITALY COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
Several incentive measures (direct and indirect support) have been implemented through the “Italia Care” (Cura Italia) Law Decree no. 18/2020 for theatrical and audio-visual sectors, as follows:
1. Direct support
Compensation for entertainment workers (lavoratori dello spettacolo). Compensation (indennità) is granted to entertainment workers enrolled with the Entertainment Workers Pension Fund having at least 30 daily contributions paid in 2019 and an overall income up to €50,000 (and provided that they do not have salary or pension income).
Enhancing Fund for entertainment, cinema and audio-visual (“FUS”). FUS is a public fund managed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage (Ministry), financing production and programming in music, cinema, and theatres. This Fund has been enhanced through a current and capital funds, valued at €130 million for 2020 (€80 million for the current fund, €50 million for the capital fund).
Supporting authors and artists. 10% of the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers’ (SIAE) revenues collected in 2019 and generated from fair value on private copying (equo compenso) shall be assigned to authors, artists, performers and autonomous workers engaged in the collection of revenues generated from copyright.
2. Indirect support (tax incentives)
“Covid” Tax Credit. All companies and self-employed artists and professionals are entitled to a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the cost of sanitizing workplaces and equipment up to a maximum of €20,000.
Suspension of tax payments. Many operators (including individual/entities managing cinemas, theaters concert halls, etc.) have been granted with a tax suspension for:
withholding tax payments on employees’ salaries and similar;
mandatory formalities and payments of social security and welfare contributions and premiums for compulsory insurance.
Tax premiums for employees. Employees with an annual gross salary lower than €40,000 are given a €100 tax-exempt additional salary for March 2020, which is calculated in relation to workdays.
POLAND COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
The Polish government has amended the Act on Cinematography of 30 June 2005 and the Act on Financial Support of Audio-visual Production of 9 November 2018 (AFSAVP). The Law on Cinematography governs the ‘selective’ grant system available to producers, while the AFSAVP provides cash rebates to Polish co-producers and service providers:
Article 4, Section 1 of the Act on Cinematography amends the definition of a film. This means that those films that are not going to be shown in cinemas are still eligible for grants.
Article 18 Sections 2 and 7, Article 20 Sections 5 and 20 of the AFSAVP were amended. The amendments extend the period of the application for financial support, allow additional flexibility on the documents to serve as the basis for considering the application, the easement in the process of evaluating qualified costs and executing the appropriate contract. Moreover, the government has guaranteed that funding budgeted for the cash rebates will not be adjusted downwards.
In addition, operational programs of the Polish Film Institute have been amended to support producers during the pandemic, and a new system of stipends has been introduced for creative industry individuals.
As of April 1st 2020 the Anticrisis Shield Act, which implements special solutions for enterprises and employees in relation to the crisis caused by the pandemic, entered into force in Poland. These measures are also relevant to the film production industry.
SCOTLAND COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
Screen Scotland, a government-backed screen industry partnership, which forms part of Creative Scotland, has recently announced several major funding packages to support Scotland's independent film industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
Single Project Development Funding
A total of £1,000,000 in funding will be made available to independent film and TV production companies. This funding will be split evenly between two distinct routes - one for each of film and broadcast - with both offering development grants of between £3,000 and £50,000 to successful applicants.
The basic criteria for application are as follows:
Supports both live-action and animation
Covers both scripted and unscripted genres
Prioritises projects, which (i) are focused on UK networks and Subscription Video on Demand, (ii) have existing commissioner engagement, and (iii) have the potential to scale a company and create multi-part and/or returning series
Applications which reflect Scottish culture, creativity, diversity and language, or which offer opportunities to under-represented groups within the sector, will also be looked upon favorably.
Applications can be made through the existing Broadcast Content Fund.
Available to single feature film projects
Supports live-action, animation and documentary
Prioritises filmmakers based in Scotland, as well as projects that promote Scottish culture, creativity and diversity
Applications can be made through the existing Film Development and Production Fund.
The intention behind the funding is to enable successful applicants to use the next 3-6 month period to plan future creative projects, with production resuming only when Government guidance permits. Applicants should note that, under both funding routes, Producer fees may only constitute up to 25% of the total project costs (capped at £5,000).
Bridging Bursary Fund
Screen Scotland has also launched a major funding package for those working in the Scottish film and television industry on PAYE or self-employed basis. Individuals will be able to apply to the Bridging Bursary Fund for grants of between £500 and £2,500, with a total of £1.5 million in potential funding available.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that a significant proportion of their work is dedicated to the Scottish screen sector. There is also a strong focus on creativity, with the fund expressly precluding applicants whose income is derived solely from commercial projects (such as advertisements, corporate videos or music videos).
Further guidance on the Bridging Bursary Fund, which opened for applications on Monday, March 30, 2020, is available here.
SOUTH AFRICA COVID-19 FILM RESCUE PACKAGES
Last month President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the COVID-19 Risk Adjusted Strategy that provides a framework for a responsive guide to the social, educational and economic activities which can be undertaken during the state of national disaster.
These Directions apply in addition to the existing restrictions and rules that are in place across all sectors and alert levels including COVID-19 health protocols and sanitation requirements.
The following sectors and sub-sectors are permitted to be operational under Alert Level 4:
Electronic communications services and network services (telecommunications services and infrastructure).
Manufacturing of telecommunications infrastructure including electronic communications facilities and end-user and subscriber equipment.
Construction and related services such as telecommunications infrastructure, electronic communications facilities including the resumption of construction and fitting out of data centres currently being built.
Wholesale and retail, including stores, spaza shops, e-Commerce and informal traders for the production and sale of airtime and data, online and physical retail sale, delivery, collection and replacement of ICT equipment, network equipment, end-user and subscriber equipment and ancillary equipment to support level 4 services as well as to facilitate work-from-home arrangements. Access to broadcasting including set-top-boxes, computers, mobile telephones and other home office equipment, including installation, maintenance and repair.
Information and Communications Technology services for all private and business customers.
Broadcasting services, online services, productions for local broadcast and live streaming, advertising agencies, film and television productions using local cast and crew are permitted to operate under alert level 4.
Postal and courier services related to the transportation of medical products, ICT equipment and other end-user and subscriber equipment and to support other level services are also permitted under alert level 4.
Financial services such as the provision of banking services by the South African Post Bank and payment of social grants by the South African Postbank, through the South African Post Office branches and other methods shall continue to be operational.
The South African Guild of Editors (SAGE) and the South Africa Guild of Actors (SAGA) have been posting links on social media where people who belong to the entertainment industry can apply for financial relief, as well as information on additional funding.
The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) as well as the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is providing financial relief to entertainment companies or individuals who have had to cancel productions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The DSAC has made R150 million available for the relief while the NFVF has made R5m available.
SAGA teamed up with the Theatre Benevolent Fund (TBF) to provide a food fund for struggling and freelance actors within the industry. They are also providing food stamps for actors to redeem.
Broadcasters have also set aside an amount to aid their productions. MultiChoice and M-Net have allocated R80m towards those who are involved with their productions. SABC, e.tv and Netflix have not disclosed any amounts.