June 12, 2020

Iñárritu, Del Toro, and Hayek Set Up Fund for Mexican Below-the-Line Workers

Mexican below-the-line workers now have a relief fund to help them out during the pandemic. 

The Mexican entertainment industry has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Things have felt dire for a while, but the issues have inspired Oscar-winning directors Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro, as well as actress and activist Salma Hayek to lend a helping hand. 

In a virtual press conference that featured Iñárritu; Monica Lozano, president of the Mexican Film Academy (AMACC); and producers Leonardo Zimbrón, Inna Payán, and Julio Chavezmontes, the relief fund was announced as a welcome reprieve to the current hardships. 

Sifonóforo, Fondo de Emergencia Audiovisual, is a new emergency fund for audiovisual workers that will provide affected below-the-line crew members with financial assistance. The initiative currently has accumulated $10 million pesos (around $445,000) and will offer $20,000 pesos (around $900) to each recipient. 

That is an amazing opportunity for the Mexican film community. 

As IndieWire writes, "Sifonóforo takes its symbolic name from a siphonophore, a floating colony of microorganisms, each with a highly specialized function carried out in harmony to survive in the ocean. The term directly relates to people who earn a living working on sets as part of a collective."

That's a powerful metaphor for all of us pulling together to help one another in this hard time. 

If you want to apply for the fund, you should apply through AMACC’s website. Applications will be accepted until the funds run out. But the good thing is...as donations stream in that fund lasts longer and longer. 

“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,” Iñárritu told Indiewire. “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.”

We applaud the initiative and are excited to know that there are people taking care of the workers. There will be film and television that needs to be made when this is all over. And we cannot wait to see all the inspiring projects that come out after this burden is over.      

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