UK’s Indie Cinema Fund Supports 202 Venues & Will Award Further £14M In 2021

A government-backed fund set up to support UK independent cinemas during the pandemic has awarded £16M to a total of 202 venues to date.

The money is being allocated by the British Film Institute (BFI) and comes from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Venues can receive ‘safety grants’, to help them meet the immediate costs of implementing Covid-secure measures to protect staff and audiences, and larger ‘business sustainability grants’ to help stabilize sites financially.

The scheme will now be extended into the new year with a further £14M available for struggling cinemas. The BFI said the money will be to “support cinemas at imminent risk of collapse before the end of this financial year” and is designed to also cover re-opening costs between April and June. Cinemas that have already received grants will be able to apply for further money.

Separately, the BFI has also confirmed the extension of the UK’s Film and TV Production Restart Scheme, which is providing a £500M backstop to productions that are unable to secure insurance during the pandemic, to April 2021.

“The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they’re around for many Christmases to come. Alongside it, the extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme means the UK will be producing even more great content as the cinema industry recovers, keeping us at the forefront of the creative industries,” said UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

“Film is one of the most powerful and accessible art forms on earth – and for so many a local cinema is a place we know, love and have grown up with. A cinema is very often a vital part of any community and we need to support them in order to keep the art of film and the sense of community alive,” said Michael Caine, who is supporting the campaign.

“Across the country, local independent cinemas are hubs and lifelines for communities and often the only form of culture and entertainment. From educational programmes and workshops for young people, to screenings for the elderly and audiences with specialised needs, these cinemas play such an important role in people’s lives. The Culture Recovery Fund will mean that many of these cinemas survive the current crisis, and go on to play a vital role in the recovery of local economies and communities, bringing people together to offer joy, solace and the magic of the big screen,” added BFI chief executive Ben Roberts.

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