SINGAPORE – The Singapore Association of Motion Picture Professionals (SAMPP) has launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to practitioners in the filmmaking industry, with an initial fund of $40,000.
SAMPP said in a press release on Friday (10 April) that it recognises the financial pressures that the filmmaking community is going through at the moment, and has set up the relief fund to support the hardest hit members of the community who have been directly affected by the loss of jobs and income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
SAMPP will offer cash grants of between $300 to $500 to needy members of the community. Applicants to the fund need to be registered members of SAMPP, but in light of the current crisis, the association has waived membership fees for the current year.
The initial $40,000 in its COVID-19 Relief Fund comprises $20,000 from the association itself, and a matching $20,000 from government agency Infocomm and Media Development Authority. SAMPP welcomes further donations to the fund.
Jasmine Ng, president of SAMPP and freelance executive producer-director, said, “Even though there have been government measures in place for small businesses and freelancers, we recognise that there are members of our community who may be ineligible or will need more urgent financial assistance.
“We hope our COVID-19 Relief Fund will be able to alleviate the hardships they are facing, as a stopgap.”
As of Friday, Singapore has confirmed 2,108 cases who tested positive for the coronavirus, and seven deaths from the COVID-19 disease. The government has implemented “circuit breaker” measures to prevent the spread of the virus, including the shutdown of non-essential businesses for a month and banning private and public gatherings.
SAMPP is an association for motion picture professionals in Singapore, comprising film, television and other new broadcast media. Vocations that it represents include directors, writers, producers, sound designers, and cinematographers.
Those in the film industry welcome the relief fund. Film director Anthony Chen, who is the vice-president of SAMPP, told Yahoo Lifestyle SEA, “We know it’s not a lot of money but we hope every little bit helps, especially in unprecedented times like this where many in our community are freelancers and had their jobs postponed or cancelled for weeks and months already.”
Low Ser En, a freelance film producer, added, “This period has been tough on us. We were hit by COVID-19 since Chinese New Year, and jobs have dramatically reduced. The jobs that I had for April were all cancelled so I have no income at all. I am single and don’t have children or housing loans, but for the freelancers who have family to take care of, it’s going to be really difficult. The SAMPP grant will really help those in need.”
Details on how to apply can be found on SAMPP’s website for its COVID-19 Relief Fund.