The UK Cinema Association, the trade body representing cinema operators in the United Kingdom, has launched a new social media series aimed at securing additional government aid for its members.
Actor and writer Stephen Fry provides narration for the campaign’s centerpiece, a short film reminding viewers of the contribution cinemas make to an individual and community’s wellbeing. The clip ends with a call to action, asking viewers to contact their local government representative to voice their support for the sector.
Cinemas in the United Kingdom have been financially decimated by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. While smaller venues in the market have received funding through the BFI, concerns have emerged that it won’t be enough to outlast operating restrictions related to the health crisis. The UKCA notes that the United Kingdom’s largest cinema chains, which represent around 80 percent of the market, have thus far received no targeted support from government officials to help offset the pandemic’s financial toll.
“We are hugely grateful to the government for the furlough scheme and other business support, all of which has helped to see our members through the COVID crisis to date,” stated UKCA CEO Phil Clapp. “But given ongoing challenges, we believe that many cinemas will need further direct funding if they are to survive and recover in 2021.”
“For our smaller operator members, that may mean additional finance over and above that already provided through the Culture Recovery Fund. But crucially for our larger members, who have so far received no targeted support and account for the vast majority of employment and audiences, that means direct funding to help bridge the increasing revenue gap they are experiencing,” he continued. “The positive response from the public when cinemas were briefly allowed to re-open in Summer after the first lockdown was overwhelming. We now need to draw on that affection to ask people to make clear to their MP how much they would miss local cinemas if – as is still possible for many – they were required to permanently close. This is not just about cinemas as places of entertainment, important though that role is. They are also a vital contributor to many people’s mental health and, as well as being key local employers, particularly of young people, also act as a focal point for retail and hospitality activity on the high street, something which is now under pressure like never before.”
More details on the campaign can be found on the UKCA website.
Additional videos from the series are included below