Thank you for supporting Independent Cinemas, we are happy to report that Minister Fletcher has honoured his commitment and has announced a second round of funding for independent cinemas. Read Minister Fletcher’s Press Release here
THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT IS SET TO TAKE BACK HALF THE COVID RELIEF FUNDS PROMISED YOUR LOCAL CINEMA
Help Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA) persuade the Government not to pocket half the promised relief on Christmas Eve and release the remaining money to help your local indie cinema keep its doors open.
On Christmas Eve the SCREEN Fund finishes with the Government set to pocket almost half of the $20 million it committed to keep the doors open at independent neighbourhood cinemas through the COVID crisis. Please help us make the Federal Government honour commitments made to small cinema businesses and the Australian movie going public. For months now we have been telling the Government that independent cinemas urgently need the full support promised them back in March 2021. Since that date, cinemas have been hit with the Delta variant, vaccine rollout delays, prolonged lockdowns, and consequent disruptions to movie supplies.
Many cinema businesses have closed permanently and now Adelaide will lose its last remaining drive-in. How many more cinemas need to close before the Government backs its original decision, stays the distance, and keeps local community cinemas open long enough to get back on their feet?
“We are not asking for more than our share” said Emma Addario, second generation owner of Roseville Cinema in Minister Fletcher’s electorate of Bradfield “just the full allocation of the money the Morrison Government announced we needed and would receive”.
“Local cinemas are only just starting to get back on their feet after months trading at 67% down on pre-pandemic revenue.” said Scott Seddon, President of ICA and owner of Scotty’s Cinemas Raymond Terrace and Heddon Greta Drive-in.
“Revenue is still 55% down on top of businesses facing increased costs to operate COVID-safe premises, no cashflow reserves and obligations for huge payback of debt including bank loans and almost two years of rent arrears. Those losses can’t be recovered overnight.”
“The good news is that the big movies are back, patrons are keen to return to their local cinemas and most local MPs appreciate the social and cultural importance of the local cinema in their community” said Benjamin Zeccola of Palace Cinemas.
“Given enough time, and the help the Government promised, these businesses will be fully recovered and operating to entertain and delight communities all over Australia.”
Tony Burke, Shadow Minister for the Arts is encouraging people to get out and support their local cinema in the 12 days before Christmas and all through the coming holidays:
“If the Government backs out on Christmas Eve and denies these neighbourhood cinemas the other half of the SCREEN Fund – $10 million promised to support them – where will Australians go to share their stories?”
On 26 March 2021 the Morrison Government announced it was “committing $20 million to assist independent cinema operators. The Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) Fund, administered by Screen Australia, will assist independent cinema operators who have experienced significant declines in revenue due to the pandemic.”
In the press release Minister Fletcher acknowledged that “the pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas who have struggled to recover due to circumstances outside their control…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.”
The SCREEN Fund is due to expire on 24 December, with almost $10 million still unallocated. To date, the Federal Government has resisted calls to use the remaining money to make a second round of funding available to independent cinemas who have been impacted by the Delta variant in 2021.
Independent cinemas employ thousands of Australians and contribute to the vibrancy of local communities and business precincts. They also play an important role in bringing Australian films to Australian audiences, particularly in regional Australia, where most cinemas are run by independent operators.
12 REASONS THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT TAKE AWAY HALF THE COVID RELIEF PROMISED TO YOUR LOCAL INDIE CINEMA.
- Cinema is the proven safest entertainment option in our community during COVID.
- Cinema is a huge driver of economic traffic to main street restaurants, pubs, and shopping centres, integral to regional centres and the night-time economy. Australians attend cinemas 85 million times per year or 1.6 million times per week (pre-COVID).
- Cinemas employ 13,000 people – 80% casuals – over $200 million in wages in 2011 (Access Economics) Current estimate $450 million in wages.
- Cinema is 4 times more effective at reducing anxiety and depression than the next nearest measured activity – watching live sport (ISER Working Paper 2005-14. Colchester: University of Essex).
- This is especially critical in regional areas at risk of losing their only cinema and with few alternatives for social engagement. Over 75% of Australia’s independent cinemas are in regional areas (Screen Australia/MPDAA).
- Independent cinema contributes over $250 million in box office revenue per year, over $110 million of which is in regional Australia.
- Cinemas deliver critical income, infrastructure and revenue for Australia’s feature film producers and distributors.
- Cinema is not elite – we cater to all socioeconomic groups, especially teens, families, older Australians, NDIS access, and school and charity fundraisers.
- Independent cinemas are particularly vulnerable and worthy of support since they provide the most diversity of choice in feature films and alternate content to Australian audiences (Deb Verhoeven: Deakin University) contributing the most box office to Australian feature films – up to 90% (Numero and Comscore).
- Cinemas have expensive, fragile digital equipment that may not re-start if the business fails and the equipment is not fired up weekly (Stephen Davis – Christie Network Operations Centre).
- ‘More Australians go to the movies than any other cultural venue or event’ (ABS 2019). Cinema is fundamental to the social and mental wellbeing of Australians. It is the most affordable and popular cultural pursuit in Australia providing an affordable and highly accessible social and community outlet (SARA Research).
- Australians need to know the Morrison Government can be trusted. Tell them not to not take back half the $20 million funds allocated to keep Australia’s independent cinemas doors open through COVID. Sign our petition.
ABOUT INDEPENDENT CINEMAS
ICA cinemas host more than 27 million visitors a year.
They inject some $250 million into our economy every year.
More than $110 million a year goes straight into regional Australia where our cinemas are the heart of the community contributing social engagement, keeping small towns vibrant and sustaining surrounding restaurants, shops, and businesses.
Independent cinemas are critical infrastructure for Australia’s cultural landscape and our local film industry. Despite the dominance of Hollywood movies, more Australian’s see Australian stories at independent cinemas than any other cinema location.
Independent cinemas contribute up to 90% or more of the box office for Australian feature films.
Due to COVID-19, Australia’s independent cinemas are currently trading around 50% to 70% less than in 2019.
ABOUT INDEPENDENT CINEMAS AUSTRALIA
ICA is a not-for-profit industry association that develops, supports, and represents the interests of independent cinemas and their affiliates across Australia and New Zealand. We represent 180 independent cinemas across 688 screens in Australia.
Independent cinemas are mostly small and family businesses, often multigenerational, located in every state and territory in Australia from single screens in rural areas through to metropolitan multiplex circuits and iconic arthouse cinemas including Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Cinema Nova, Randwick Ritz, Palace Cinemas, Dendy Cinemas, Grand Cinemas, Ace Cinemas, Luna Cinemas, Cineplex Cinemas, Wallis Cinemas, and Majestic Cinemas.
Over 75% of ICA’s independent cinemas are in regional Australia providing vital social and cultural infrastructure to their local communities.
Many independent cinemas are also in key metro locations. They are among Australia’s most iconic art-house cinemas ensuring high-quality cinema and diversity of choice for film lovers in every major city.