Independent cinema operators across the country are set to receive vital assistance to help keep their doors open, with the Australian Government committing $20 million from the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund to provide business support to the industry.
The Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund is expected to support up to 390 cinemas across the country through the significant economic, health and social impacts they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas, which have struggled to recover due to circumstances – felt worldwide – that were out of their control, such as capacity restrictions and a reduced flow of new release films by major distributors.
Independent cinemas represent around 30 per cent of the cinema exhibition sector in Australia, and play a key role by providing a popular, low-cost and COVID-safe way for people to go out and enjoy a movie as part of a community particularly in regional areas.
This funding is being introduced to get operators back on track and to enable them to remain viable while the vaccine rollout progresses and Australia moves towards higher audience capacities. The SCREEN Fund builds on the Government’s investment of over $800 million in additional arts and entertainment funding announced in 2020, on top of its annual investment of around $750 million in regular funding.