"Local Production Companies Have Lost A Lot of Business..." EDGE Works With Film/TV Commission to Help Provide Relief to Businesses in Memphis' Rich Film Industry

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Memphis, Tenn. (June 12, 2020) – For three quarters of a century, API Photographers, Inc. has been a staple of the local photography and film industry. Now the company is struggling to pay the bills as its normally busy schedule sits almost empty.  

“We have had to put several jobs on hold as a result of the pandemic adding up to a big loss over the last few months, said API owner, William Carrier. “Without these funds coming in, my wife and I have had to use personal funds to keep things going.”

API Photographers found some relief in the form of a $6,000 NEED Grant today. The company is one of four grant recipients so far that were alerted about the aid through EDGE’s collaboration with Linn Sitler, Film Commissioner at the Memphis & Shelby County Film/TV Commission, to help save the many struggling businesses in this City’s film industry. Those include API, as well as Electraphonic Recording, Firefly Media LLC and Spotlight Productions. The Committee also approved a grant for WAFilms last month.

“COVID-19” has created a real problem for all businesses - but especially for film and television production companies," said Sitler. "Filming is by necessity such a 'high touch' industry that our local production companies have lost a lot of business. Now that production promises to pick up, these grants will allow Memphis & Shelby County production companies, along with at least one recording studio, to continue to create and innovate in this new normal."

Carrier is already innovating, coming up with new ways to conduct business. He is gathering photographic equipment dating back to the 1930s, costumes, props, tools, and creating an archive of older film and video collections to sell on ebay and to local photographers and producers. API is also working on a new way to video ZOOM meetings and webinars that they plan to roll out this month. 

In all, the EDGE Economic Development Finance Committee awarded $73,500 to 13 companies located throughout Memphis’ most distressed neighborhoods today, including salons, retail, restaurants and more.

To date, the Committee has awarded $377,500 to 67 businesses throughout Memphis's most vulnerable neighborhoods; 53 of those are minority and women-owned businesses. 

The Neighborhood Emergency Economic Development (NEED) Grant was created to provide relief to small businesses, located in Memphis’ most vulnerable neighborhoods that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eligible businesses can apply and find more information at NEEDGrant.org.

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