Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, appealing for more funding for cinemas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter – a follow-up to the U.K. Cinema Association’s Keep the Magic Alive campaign in December (2020) – states that while the British government has tried to help the struggling sector, it’s not enough to keep them afloat.
“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, also signed by filmmakers Guy Ritchie, Sam Mendes, Ridley Scott, Danny Boyle and Asif Kapadia, producers Barbara Broccoli and David Heyman, and actors Noel Clarke and Jude Law, reads. “We recognize the support that government has already been able to provide. But we fear that this will not be enough, with the challenges being most acute for those larger cinema operators who have not been able to access any tailored funding.
“These companies represent over 80 percent of the market, in many ways constituting its ‘critical mass’ and helping to drive the success of associated sectors such as film distribution and production coalesce. Without them, the future of the entire U.K. film industry would look extremely precarious.”
Due to COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.K., the majority of cinemas closed towards the end of 2020, and have yet to re-open. And while some of the smaller cinema operators have received funding through the British Film Institute, it’s thought that the larger companies – such as Cineworld and Odeon – haven’t been given any government support, other than generic business support such as the furlough scheme.
“U.K. cinema stands on the edge of an abyss. We urgently need targeted funding support to ensure that future generations can enjoy the magic of cinema,” the letter concludes.
In total, more than 40 figures from the U.K. film industry have signed the letter, which was printed in The Sunday Times newspaper.