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Pandemic after-effect: Sam Mendes calls out Netflix, Amazon for making millions

Los Angeles: Director Sam Mendes, known for “Skyfall” and “1917”, says theatre and live entertainment are facing “grave danger” amid the coronavirus pandemic, and asked streaming services like Netflix and Amazon to help with the situation.

In an article for the Financial Times, the director suggested that companies that may have increased profits during the pandemic should come in front to financially support cinema halls, reports

“It would be deeply ironic if the streaming services – Netflix, Amazon Prime, et al – should be making lockdown millions from our finest acting, producing, writing and directing talent, while the very arts culture that nurtured that talent pool is allowed to die. Is there anyone among those people willing to use a fraction of their COVID-19 windfall to help those who have been mortally wounded?” he wrote.

“If so, I hope you’re reading this, and that you are able to think of the arts landscape as more than just a ‘content provider’, but instead as an ecosystem that supports us all,” he added.

Mendes also outlined a plan to save theatres in the UK.

Calling the current situation the “biggest challenge to Britain’s cultural life since the outbreak of the Second World War”, Mendes said: “The country’s theatres and actors, musicians and music venues, dancers and dance spaces, concert halls and opera houses are all under threat. The theatre needs a plan, and I believe we have one.”

Mendes feels the “continuance of social distancing makes the prospect of reopening simply impossible” for theatres.

He suggested that as theatres cannot re-open in the short term, a package must be created to “sustain the workforce of freelancers and self-employed artists”.

In the long-term, he suggested a “Cultural Investment Participation Scheme”, which includes a three-year increase in tax relief for the sector. It will also give an opportunity for the government to become an “angel” investor in theatrical productions.

“This is not a request for a handout, or for long-term life support. It is an offer for the government to become partners in a successful business,” he added.