Article: Round 2 of Culture Recovery Fund sees grants awarded to 92 independent cinemas

Grants have been awarded to 92 independent cinemas in England thanks to a second round of  funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.

A second round of funding from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund will provide grants totalling £6.5 million to 92 independent cinemas from Newcastle to Wadebridge. This takes the total of grant funding allocated by the BFI to independent cinemas in England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to £27.6 million supporting a total of 209 individual cinemas.

The fund has supported cinemas in every part of the country with 87% of the funding going to cinemas located outside London. Further funding has also been allocated by Arts Council England to independent cinemas which operate as part of mixed art venues. Cinemas allocated funding in this second round include the Barn Cinema in Dartington, which is uniquely housed in a renovated 14th century barn (£45,640); the Cinemac in Macclesfield which screens blockbusters, independent British films and also supports the local film society (£45,997), the 90 year-old Regent Marple which is a draw for its local diverse audiences (£19,155); and Birmingham’s Mockingbird Cinema which is the only specialised independent cinema in the city centre (£54,150).

London cinemas awarded grants include the Genesis Mile End, voted the best cinema in the capital in 2019 by Time Out (£558,585) and the art deco Phoenix, East Finchley, which provides a rich and diverse cultural programme including new independent and foreign language films, as well as specially curated silent film screenings with live musical accompaniment (£138,333).

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced. Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Ben Roberts, BFI Chief Executive, said: “People have been missing the big screen experience and we know they are looking forward to cinemas being able to reopen from 17 May onwards. The Culture Recovery Fund has been a lifeline to survival for local independent cinemas up and down the country, ensuring that they will be able to welcome their audiences back to see the latest films from blockbusters to British films, new discoveries from around the world, and screen classics.“

Venue quotes

“The Electric Palace in Hastings is a very special place with a rich and colourful history spanning 18 years, and it has brought so many people together. This funding enables our staff and volunteers to continue welcoming our audience to safely enjoy the transformative power of watching a film together in a darkened room.” Rebecca E Marshall, Electric Palace Cinema, Hastings

“We believe even in the age of mass streaming that films deserve and need to be seen in cinemas as a collective experience. Films become something else without cinemas and lockdown has shown us that people still crave that communal gathering and the exchange of ideas that happen before and after screenings. This grant enables us to adapt and survive – long after this pandemic is over we believe we will still be here screening films and other content for a local and London-wide audience.” Tyrone Walker-Hebborn, Genesis Cinema, Mile End

“Being able to share a new film with friends and family is what makes cinema a truly exciting and communal experience and after a year of lockdowns I think we can all appreciate how special a community cinema really is. The future of independent film remains vibrant, exciting and experimental with film releases that will be a sparkling tonic to lockdown monotony and I am so glad that we will be able to show them on the big screen in the way that they were intended to be seen.” Ali Donkin, The Barn Cinema, Dartington

Full list of cinema awards (Round 2)

(Main image: Barn Cinema, Dartington Hall)

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