In an unprecedented step, the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund will distribute $99 million to some 17,000 members of the American Federation of Musicians and their beneficiaries on May 22 – more than five weeks ahead of the originally scheduled delivery date of July 1. The move is in response to the impact the coronavirus shutdown has had on professional musicians working in film and television production.
The non-profit Fund collects, allocates and distributes residuals to scoring musicians represented by the AFM from payments derived from the exhibition of theatrical, television and new media motion pictures in supplemental re-use markets.
“The millions of dollars being sent to musicians and their beneficiaries this week will hopefully serve as a critical lifeline to ease some of the stress on the industry’s scoring musicians who have been devastated by the unforeseen, abrupt and widespread job losses caused by this pandemic,” said Fund executive director Kim Roberts-Hedgpeth. “Professional musicians in film and television make their livings through a combination of session work and residual payments. We don’t know when, or if, session work as we’ve known it will return. As such, residuals are more important than ever. I am extremely proud of the Fund’s staff for their dedication to our musicians and their families by working through less than optimal circumstances to get this money out the door ahead of schedule.”
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“We weren’t sure we could pull off this accelerated distribution,” said Chris Kuhrt, director of Participant Services Operations. “The complex process of preparing and distributing these residuals and associated tax reporting, both domestically and internationally, is not suited for such a shortened schedule. It has taken a Herculean effort by our team to make this work.”
In addition to its annual distribution, normally scheduled for July 1 each year, the Fund distributes residuals derived from supplemental market exhibition of live and videotaped programs through a smaller “LTVF” sub-fund. FMSMF also processes and distributes unclaimed and “reissued” residual payments throughout the year, as well as an “omission” distribution each September. “Preparation work on these distributions, which had to be temporarily deferred in order to accelerate the annual FMSMF distribution, will resume to meet normal deadlines now that the larger distribution has been issued ahead of schedule,” the Fund said.
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