New funding and initiative launched to support the skills pool, development and sustainability of the screen sector
Johannesburg, 10th March 2021: A number of donors, including Sony Pictures Entertainment (through the Sony Global Relief Fund), the National Arts Council and the National Film and Video Foundation, have contributed towards a support fund established to provide direct financial relief for screen sector workers whose livelihoods are affected by the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.
The Fund, called the South African Screen Sector Support Fund (SASSSF), will specifically address the needs of individuals, SMMEs and organisations affected by the lockdown – which has had a significant impact on audio-visual content production in South Africa and on the many companies whose goods and services support that production activity.
The Screen Sector Support Fund is the initial project of the newly established South African Screen Sector Support Initiative (SASSSI), which has been set up jointly by The South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO), with programme and technical support from Gray Global Advisors LLC (GGA). SASSSI’s aim is to preserve screen sector jobs and the sector’s ecosystem in the wake of the pandemic and, in the medium term, to work with key stakeholders to support and encourage inward and local investment, the creation of sustainable jobs, skills development and transformation to deliver significant growth.
The screen sector encompasses all activity related to the production and distribution of film, television, visual and special effects, animation, advertising, and short-form and online video content. It covers everyone involved in creating, performing in, producing and distributing work intended to be viewed on screen. Eligibility criteria are published as different tranches of funding become available – and it is SASSSI’s hope that individuals and groups from as many areas of the sector as possible can be helped this year.
“SASSSI’s immediate objective is to harness collective action in order to support the screen sector community adversely affected by the lockdown,” says SASFED Executive Officer and Lobbyist, Unathi Malunga. “The intention is also to secure the screen sector so that it can be revived, revitalised and developed once the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is contributing USD250k to the Screen Sector Support Fund (around R3.8m) through the Sony Global Relief Fund, the National Arts Council is contributing R570k, and the National Film and Video Foundation is contributing R100k – all to help to provide much-needed relief to South Africa's screen sector. This new SASSSI-established Fund will sit alongside the Covid- 19 Film and Television Relief Fund that was established in collaboration with Netflix last year and funded with an initial USD500k donation from Netflix. Those initial Netflix funds have been admin- istered and disbursed already to over 550 below-the-line workers in the creative industry.
“We are so grateful for this extraordinary level of support for the local screen sector,” says the IPO’s Trish Downing. “It’s a testament to international producers’ confidence in our local sector and will go a long way towards preserving its value at this critical time.”
As with the Netflix-funded Covid-19 Film and Television Relief Fund, all applications to and disbursements from the new SASSSI Screen Sector Support Fund will be administered by Tshikululu Social Investments, the country’s oldest and leading social investment management company. As South Africa’s leading social investment fund manager and adviser, Tshikululu has vast experience in providing end-to-end fund management solutions, a service offering particularly relevant over the past year.
“In order to assist those hardest hit by the pandemic within the film and entertainment industry, Tshikululu Social Investments has been appointed to manage the fund,” says Sibonakaliso Mavuka, Manager: Special Projects at Tshikululu. “The final decision regarding fund allocation will be conducted by independent selection committees nominated by representatives of the local screen sector and Gray Global Advisors – and confirmed with the key donors.”
In addition to inviting new applications for some key categories, a portion of the funds will be used also to assist qualifying Industry Organisations that represent those who work in the screen sector.
The window for applications for grants from the Fund from individual applicants will open at 09:00 on Thursday, 11th March 2021 and will close at Midnight on Friday, 19th March 2021.
For applications for grants from Industry Associations/Organisations, the window opens also at 09:00 on Thursday 11th March and the deadline is Midnight on Monday, 5th April 2021.
Specific details of eligibility criteria and application forms are available on SASSSI’s web site www.sssi.co.za.
“Through this important initiative, we wish to help support the skills pool and supporting ecosys- tem that makes up the South African screen sector - which, apart from Hollywood, is the oldest in the world.” says Justin Gray of GGA. “The sector, which provides a wide range of services to both local and international companies – and brings important foreign investment into the country – is a significant contributor to the economy and job creation. It’s vital that we preserve it and support its further development to position it as a key component of South Africa’s post-COVID recovery.”
You can help too!
In order to reach and to help as many individuals and sector-focused organisations as possible, SASSSI is calling for contributions to the Sector Support Fund from individuals, companies and others committed to securing the sustainability of the country’s screen sector. The initial focus on relief for screen sector workers and organisations will continue as long as funding donated for that purpose is available. In addition, SASSSI will utilise any funding designated specifically for recovery and development programmes - with a focus on transformation, workforce and supplier development and on the infrastructure that will help to drive the sector forward.
Individuals, companies or organisations interested in contributing to the Screen Sector Support Fund are invited to visit the SASSSI website (www.sssi.co.za) or to contact email@example.com for further information.
General Media Enquiries: Melissa Douman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Fatima Ouanssaidi | email@example.com
Application Enquiries: www.sssi.co.za
SASFED Enquiries: Unathi Malunga | firstname.lastname@example.org
IPO Enquiries: Trish Downing | email@example.com
Gray Global Advisors Enquiries: Justin Gray | firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne Grant |email@example.com
The South African Screen Federation (SASFED) is the national federation of independent film, television and audio-visual content industry organisations in South Africa.
Founded in 2006 in response to Government’s call for the independent production sector to speak with a united voice, SASFED represents a broad spectrum of industry players - via affiliates - representing several thousand individual members and hundreds of member companies employing up to a hundred staff.
Full SASFED member organisations currently include: A.S.A. (Animation South Africa), The Documentary Filmmakers’ Association (DFA), The Independent Black Filmmakers Collective (IBFC), The Independent Producers’ Organisation (IPO), The Personal Managers' Association (PMA), South African Guild of Actors (SAGA), South African Guild of Editors (SAGE), Sisters Working In Film And Television (SWIFT) and Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA).
SASFED therefore proudly represents the collective core of South Africa’s creative sector, for the independent film and television industries.
The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) is a national organisation which represents, protects and promotes interests and needs of independent South African film, television and digital content producers.
It strives towards creating an empowered, transformed and representative industry by partnering with key stakeholders towards the advancement of a sustainable and enabling environment for producers and, recognizing their role and responsibilities as the engine drivers of work throughout the industry value chain, creating opportunities for workers across and suppliers to the sector.
The IPO aims to maximise the industry's potential to contribute to the country's economy, and to preserve and promote South Arica's national identity and stories. It currently represents over 70% of working producers in South Africa
About Gray Global Advisors LLC:
Gray Global Advisors LLC (GGA) is a business advisory firm with interests and associations within the United States, Africa, Asia and Europe. GGA was originally founded by Justin Gray and the late for- mer Congressman William (Bill) H. Gray (who, while Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, co-authored the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986).
GGA’s Media Practice advises and partners with major film studios, other media entities, govern- ments and non-governmental organizations on issues surrounding the development and sustaina- bility of Screen Sector (film, television, games, advertising, short and long form online video, anima- tion, broadcasting etc.) economies.