Oscar-winning Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu joined actress Salma Hayek to set up a fund to help support movie industry workers out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mexican Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences announced the fund Thursday. Gonzalez Inarritu spoke via a video call.
“This was an act of solidarity with our colleagues in this industry, without asking anybody else besides ourselves,” Gonzalez Inarritu said.
The audiovisual emergency fund is called Sifonoforo and has raised about $440,000 (Dh1.6 million) so far, and more donations are expected. The fund will be distributed based on need. Each beneficiary will get a one-time payment of about $885.
“Those of us who make films are a fragile tribe, with many people who carry out ordinary jobs that are, in turn, extraordinary in their specificity and the years of preparation it takes to learn them. This pause that we are experiencing endangers this tribe of gypsies who are all of us who make cinema,” Inarritu said at the launch of the initiative.
The money will go first to technical workers like the set, costume, sound, and visual employees left without work after most productions stopped filming amid the pandemic. First in line will be those who are suffering from health problems or who are sole breadwinners.
According to the AMACC, over 30,000 families have lost their source of income as a result of the industry shutdown. Sifonoforo is made up of filmmakers and actors and intends to join forces with the AMACC and assist people.
La Corriente del Golfo, a company founded by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, also contributed to the fund, as did many other Mexican and international production companies.
“What’s unique about this fund is that it was born out of the enthusiasm of each of the individuals in this community, without expecting any governmental support or from any corporation, to contribute as much money as each of us can,” Inarritu told.
“While we have all been affected, this is a way to create a safety net for our most vulnerable colleagues who are most at risk of hitting the ground face first. It’s about protecting those people who are most fragile. This unique willingness as civilians and collaborators that comes from the solidarity in the Mexican film industry is very particular. I don’t think it happens everywhere in the world,” he added.