£1.3m National Lottery funding, plus a £150,000 contribution from the Mayor of London’s Culture at Risk Business Support Fund, was made available to provide grants to those in critical financial need as they continue to face months of closure and uncertainty.
Film Hub South East targeted the fund to support exhibitors and festivals across the South East to ensure they can survive to provide a diverse and inclusive cultural offer to audiences when they can safely reopen.
Ben Luxford, Head of UK Audiences, BFI, said: “Redirecting National Lottery and Mayor of London funding to make emergency grants to our independent exhibitors has proved to be a lifeline, enabling our fantastic venues, cinemas and festivals across the UK to remain in business in the immediate term. However, it is clear that these vital and unique organisations, which are crucial to the rich cultural fabric of their local communities, are still in crisis. When allowed to reopen, safely implementing social distancing guidance will not only be logistically impossible for some, but many are also unlikely to cover their costs when operating at reduced capacity. Losing these exhibitors would be a huge cultural loss for UK audiences, so I am pleased FAN has been able to help them keep the lights on while we all face the oncoming challenges.”
The Fund has supported 130 FAN Members across the UK with awards ranging from £415 to £23,000 each. Helping to ensure they can survive is crucial, particularly to provide an offer to audiences to support wellbeing after a prolonged period of lockdown and isolation.
Awardees in the South East
Babylon ARTS, East Cambridgeshire
Cambridge Film Trust
Corn Exchange Wallingford
The Corn Hall, Norfolk
Creative Arts East
The Film Place, Buckingham
Kino Teatr, Hastings
Nordern Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead
Norwich Film Festival
The Palace, Broadstairs
The Picture House Uckfield
The Riverside Restaurant & Theatre, Woodbridge
Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne
Trinity Theatre & Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells
The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford
Natalie Jode, Executive Director, Creative Arts East said: “BFI FAN COVID-19 Resilience investment for Creative Arts East will make a significant difference to our survival, both this year and next. This year it will allow us to balance the books, maintain employment for our staff and continue to support our network of 64 community cinema groups with remote training and digital programming. Crucially, this investment affords us the time and capacity to move out of a financial firefight for 2020-21 and begin looking to and preparing solutions for the medium and longer-term challenges that we are facing alongside our colleagues in the wider arts and cultural sector.”
Lee Johnson, Operations Manager, The Corn Hall, Norfolk said: “Everyone at The Corn Hall from volunteers to staff are absolutely over the moon for this support from Film Hub South East and the BFI. This means that it will help The Corn Hall to continue when the worst of Covid-19 is over and that when The Corn Hall reopens we will be able to start showing the best of British and Internationally acclaimed films, from modern releases to classic vintage which our loyal audiences come to time and time again. Thank you”.
Micaela Tuckwell, Cinema General Manager, Ultimate Picture Palace said: “In our long history the Ultimate Picture Palace, built in 1911, has never faced a challenge quite like the one today. Over the last few months scores of audience members have been in touch to say that they cannot imagine their neighbourhood or their lives without us. They know that we, as well as countless other cinemas, theatres, music venues and festivals, face is collapse because of this crisis and they are desperate to know if we are going to be ok.
In a very real way, this BFI FAN grant has saved our historic cinema and I am extraordinarily grateful to everyone at the BFI for putting together this emergency grant so quickly and for choosing to support this country’s independent cinemas. Next year we will be celebrating our 110th birthday… and you are all invited! On behalf of our staff, volunteers, members and audiences, thank you.”