Independent Cinema Operators could receive up to $85,000 in Government Relief Package
As reported in The Australian by Matthew Westwood:
Independent cinema operators who have struggled through the pandemic with venue closures and fewer new movies to show will be able to share in a $20m grants package from the Morrison government.
Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the program would offer one-off business continuity grants of up to $85,000 each to cinema operators which have suffered loss of income. Box-office takings for independent and major cinema chains dropped by 83 per cent between March and December last year compared with 2019, according to the National Association of Cinema Operators.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas, who have struggled to recover due to circumstances that were out of their control, such as capacity restrictions and a reduced flow of new-release films by major distributors,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We’re introducing this funding to help support the viability of independent cinemas during this period when their business circumstances are still returning to normality, as the vaccine rollout progresses and Australia moves towards higher audience capacities.”
Independent cinemas account for about 30 per cent of Australia’s cinema industry and many are in regional areas.
The program, called Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN), will be administered by Screen Australia and is expected to help up to 390 cinemas across the country.
The assistance follows a $135m boost for the live entertainment sector announced on Thursday. The new cash will increase the RISE fund for arts and entertainment businesses by $125m to a total of $200m. About $60m already has been allocated to companies including The Australian Ballet, Byron Bay Bluesfest and Hamilton producer Michael Cassel.
The RISE program will be amended to give small business operators access to the grants, including booking agents and technicians.