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Independent cinemas given $7m lifeline amid Covid shutdowns

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The government has thrown cinemas a lifeline with a major funding announcement.

Hard-hit independent and regional cinemas have been thrown a lifeline by the government.

One hundred and twenty five cinemas across the country are set to share in more than $7 million in a bid to keep their doors open following a tough two years for the arts and entertainment sector.

Cinemas have spent much of the past two years either closed or operating under strict caps on the number of patrons allowed in the venue.

On top of that, cinemas were also had to contend with a slow down of releases from Hollywood, after studios delayed the release of many of their blockbuster hits due to the pandemic.

The money announced today is part of $20 million hand out from the government’s Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said the grants would assist independent and regional cinemas to remain viable.

“Independent cinemas are a vital component of Australia’s economic, social and cultural wellbeing, which is why we continue to provide one-off business continuity grants to support the cinemas resurgence from prolonged closures and capacity restrictions,” he said.

A second round of the fund was announced by the government in December, following a full-throated campaign from the sector.

The grants range from $35,000 to $85,000 and are administered by Screen Australia.

Chief executive Graeme Mason welcomed grants and said he hoped audiences would make a return to the theatre.

“With the pandemic continuing to impact independent cinema operators, we are pleased to continue to administer the SCREEN Fund to support the viability and recovery of Australian independent cinemas, and ultimately make it possible for Australians to keep enjoying the immersive big screen experience when they can safely do so,” he said.



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