It seems that no corner of the world is safe from the coronavirus outbreak. While not everybody may have been directly impacted by the virus itself, its effects, are hitting everywhere. The global economy is at a near standstill, non-essential businesses are closed, and so even if coronavirus isn't attacking your health, it's likely attacking your financial well being.
Such is the case with anybody involved in the movie business. Theaters around the world are closed. Films scheduled for release have been postponed, many with new dates as far as a year away, but most with no replacement date at all, showing just how uncertain everything is.
The same uncertainty comes with all upcoming films, as most, if not all, film productions have come to a stop. This is a very difficult situation for the, largely independent, crews who work on those films. Anybody signed on to work for a particular film has now found themselves out of work, and with nothing else on the horizon, there's no place to replace that income. This has led the independent crew working at Studio Babelsberg in Germany to look to the studio for help.
Two major productions were on the verge of getting underway at Studio Babelsberg when everything shutdown. The Matrix 4, which had already begun filming was about to move from shooting in San Francisco to Germany, and Uncharted, the oft-delayed video game adaptation starring Tom Holland was finally about to go in front of cameras, but has been delayed once again.
Because of the production stoppage, temporary employment agreements with the various crew members were terminated.
The out of work crew members have come together under the banner of a group called Wir sind Babelsberg (We Are Babelsberg) to ask both the studio and the German government for help. Germany's Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media recently unveiled an aid package designed to support film workers. Unfortunately, because of the financing structure of the two films, Variety reports that its unlikely that anybody working on The Matrix 4 or Uncharted will be eligible for assistance. Because the films had not yet been started, they had only applied for German tax credits, not the funding grants that would have made the films eligible under the relief program.
There are, however, other relief programs recently introduced in Germany, with provisions similar to the ones recently offered in the U.S., that offer aid to the self-employed, which would include many independent people working in film crews.
Studio Babelsberg CEO Charlie Woebcken is quoted as saying the studio is "making every effort to find solutions" to the problem. Of course, the studio itself is having the same problems as the workers because the productions have stalled, and like the domestic film industry, there's simply no indication of when things will be getting back on track.
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