More than 40 prominent U.K. film industry figures, including “Tenet” director Christopher Nolan and “Small Axe” filmmaker Steve McQueen, have written to U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak requesting further support for the beleaguered exhibition sector.
The letter in the Sunday Times, a follow up to the U.K. Cinema Association’s December 2020 ‘Keep the Magic Alive’ campaign, acknowledges the efforts of the U.K. government in helping cinemas stay afloat, but that these initiatives may not be enough.
The signatories also include “Maradona” director Asif Kapadia, “Slumdog Millionaire” filmmaker Danny Boyle, James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, and “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman. (A full list is below.)
“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 says. “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% 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,” the letter continues. “Without them, the future of the entire U.K. film industry would look extremely precarious.”
Thanks to a series of lockdowns caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cinemas across the U.K. remained closed through most of 2020 and continue to remain closed in the new year. All cinemas have benefited from generic business support like the furlough scheme, and smaller operators have seen some targeted funding through the British Film Institute. However, the larger operators like Cineworld, Odeon and Vue have not received any bespoke financial support from the U.K. government yet.
“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.
The signatories are Andrea Arnold, Amma Asante, Simon Beaufoy, Tim Bevan, Danny Boyle, Graham Broadbent, Barbara Broccoli, Iain Canning, Gurinder Chadha, Noel Clarke, Richard Curtis, Stephen Daldry, Gareth Edwards, Eric Fellner, Stephen Frears, Stephen Fry, Sarah Gavron, Jane Goldman, Paul Greengrass, David Heyman, Armando Iannucci, Asif Kapadia, Elizabeth Karlsen Duncan Kenworthy, Paul King, Jude Law, Philippa Lowthorpe, Andrew Macdonald, Kevin Macdonald, Steve McQueen, Sam Mendes, Peter Morgan, Christopher Nolan, Nira Park, David Puttnam, Lynne Ramsay, Guy Ritchie, Ridley Scott, Emma Thomas Matthew Vaughn, Ben Wheatley, Michael G. Wilson, Stephen Woolley, Edgar Wright, Joe Wright, and David Yates.