Mexican 'Three Amigos' try to help amid virus

Directors Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro -- pictured with Lee Daniels (center) and, Julian Schnabel (2nd from right) -- said their fund was for anyone working in movies in need of financial help (AFP Photo/Charley Gallay)

Mexico City (AFP) - A trio of Oscar-winning Mexican film directors known as "The Three Amigos" launched a fund on Thursday to help workers in their industry hit hard by COVID-19.

Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron said their Audiovisual Emergency Fund ("Sifonoforo") was for anyone in movies in need of financial help amid the chaos caused by the coronavirus.

"This is finding a way, as an industry, as colleagues, as human beings, to hold hands... It is the power of the union without asking anyone for help," Inarritu said in a videoconference from Mexico City.

The fund, backed by the Mexican Film Academy and more than 40 production companies plus actress and businesswoman Salma Hayek, has raised 10 million pesos (about $455,000).

It will be distributed in payments of 20,000 pesos among technical workers affected by the epidemic, which has left some 30,000 families without income in the local industry.

The organization said that those interested in the aid should apply through the Mexican Film Academy's website.

The Three Amigos have five best director and two best picture Oscars between them, while their actors and crews have picked up numerous other Academy Awards.