For Freelancers, Artists, Filmmakers and Those in the Film Industry Impacted by COVID-19

In the past couple of weeks, there have been many innovations and adaptions happening around us in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several organizations are coming together and stepping up to make a difference during this time to provide assistance, encouragement and hope for the future.

The Cherokee Nation Film Office is aware of the immense impact COVID-19 has had on the film industry, and we have been working to compile resources for those who may be directly or indirectly affected. As our team currently works from home, our office remains open and we’re here for support. While working together, the film industry can adjust to the times beyond our control and come back stronger than ever. Check out the resources we have found that you might be able to utilize below.


  • The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences put together a list of production resources for those in the film and television communities who may be impacted by COVID-19. Read the list of resources HERE.
  • Sundance Institute has announced a COVID-19 Respond and Reimagine Plan with $1Million in Emergency Relief for Independent Artists and Organizations. Read additional details on the criteria and application processes HERE. Applications are now open for the Artist Relief funds and can be found HERE.
  • Sundance Collab has assembled a number of COVID-19 resources specifically for filmmakers and other artists to help our community during these difficult times. Read the list of resources HERE. 

In Oklahoma

  • If you are self-employed, work part time, or are considered a “gig” worker: *Did you know that Oklahoma unemployment benefits will now be extended to self-employed and 1099 “gig” workers?* You can file for unemployment or visit the FAQ page HERE.
  • The Oklahoma Film + Music Office is actively updating their website on resources for people in the film and music industry in Oklahoma. OF+MO has suggested the top five action steps for the arts and entertainment industries workforce HERE. They have also gathered resources for workers in the film and music industries, including emergency assistance, small business guidance and loans. See the full list HERE. 

In Tulsa 

  • The Tulsa Regional Chamber has assembled a list of resources for businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19 HERE.

In the Cherokee Nation 

  • Among its many initiatives, the Cherokee Nation distributed food packages to 4,000 Cherokees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cherokee Nation has established the Cherokee Elder Food Hotline at 918-316-1670. Callers should be sure to have elders’ names, phone numbers and addresses when calling. Read more about what the Cherokee Nation is doing on Anadisgoi

Online Local Social Support 

  • Many have been creating and joining Facebook groups in their local areas for support. A local Cherokee filmmaker, Blake Brown, started the popular Tulsa Community Group on Facebook in an effort to connect local Tulsans and provide emotional or financial support for those affected by COVID-19 in the Tulsa community. 
  • If you are connected to the Oklahoma film and television industry, you can join the Oklahoma Film and TV Alliance Group on Facebook. This is an opportunity to connect with other filmmakers and people within the local industry and continue to grow the film industry in Oklahoma, even in these times of social distancing. 
  • If you are an actor who lives in the Tulsa area, there is a Tulsa Actors Support Group on Facebook. This group connects actors in the Tulsa area in all things regarding film, television and acting.


We’ve come across many silver linings in the past few weeks, including access to films and classes that otherwise would not have been available under normal circumstances. This is a great opportunity to learn skills that you’ve always wanted to and watch films that you may not have usually had time for.

Silver-Lining Opportunities

  • Sundance Institute Master Classes are now available online for FREE! From screenwriting classes to documentary filmmaking, this is an amazing opportunity to grow your filmmaking skills by learning from the experts.
  • Vision Maker Media and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting are streaming 40 Native films online for FREE. During this time of social distancing, this can be a great way to stay connected with Native culture and history. Visit the collection HERE.
  • Even though SXSW is cancelled, you can still #SupportTheShorts! Mailchimp launched a digital platform to give short filmmakers the visibility and support they deserve. Watch the short films HERE.
  • Entertainment Partners is offering FREE career enhancing production webinars (a $649 value) and other certified courses through May 15, 2020. View all of the sessions and register HERE.

The lists above may continue to evolve as things can change during these unprecedented times. We hope that you are staying safe and finding some peace. Keep the creativity and inspiration alive. Filmmakers and artists are the ones keeping families and people entertained while #StayingAtHome and practicing #SocialDistancing.

The Cherokee Nation Film Office is keeping you in our thoughts.

I would like to thank you for your support as the CNFO continues working toward our goals during these trying times. The CNFO is here for support. As every Oklahoman works to get through these trying times in their own way, we should remain calm and try to find some silver linings where we can. Film has always been, and will always be, a powerful tool in so many ways.

Wado (thank you in Cherokee),

Jennifer Loren

Director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office

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