Over 40 filmmakers, including Christopher Nolan, Asif Kapadia, Danny Boyle, and David Yates, wrote an open letter on Monday to Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, seeking financial aid for cinemas in the UK, in a bid to rescue the film industry.
— Jon Wardle (@jonwardle) January 17, 2021
“All our careers have been built in large part on the benefits brought by the UK’s cinemas. But they are among the venues that have been hit hardest by Covid-19. They need further support if they are to survive,” stated the letter, which was published in The Sunday Times.
“Cinema going offers proven benefits in terms of jobs, high-street footfall and community cohesion as well as mental health benefits that are now more important than ever. This is all at risk. There is no doubt that if supported to survive, the sector will recover and once again thrive. But the need for direct financial support is pressing,” the letter said.
“We recognise the support the government has already provided, but fear it will not be enough. The challenges are most acute for large cinema operators that have not been eligible for tailored funding. Representing more than 80% of the market, they constitute its critical mass and help to drive the success of film distribution and production. Without them the future of the entire UK film industry would look extremely precarious,” the letter added, referring to the recent aid of 500 million pounds given to the cause of Film and TV Production Restart Scheme.
The scheme, that was launched on January 12, aims at covering Covid-19-related insurance costs for productions that are struggling to restart. Claims can be backdated to July 28, 2020. The deadline for productions to register for the scheme and restart shooting has been extended from December 2020 until 28 February, 2021 to help more productions to access the scheme. The funding is available to all productions made by companies where at least half of the production budget is spent in the UK, as per a press release by the UK’s finance ministry.
“UK cinema stands on the edge of an abyss. We urgently need targeted support to ensure that future generations can enjoy the magic of cinema,” the filmmakers’ letter said.
The UK is still under lockdown after a second strain of the Covid-19 was identified late in 2020.