UK Gov Backs 43 Cinemas & Opens Production Restart Scheme; ‘Joker’ Tops New UK Digital Rental Chart; Pixomondo Virtual Studios — Global Briefs

UK government allocates money to 43 cinemas

The UK government has allocated £650,000 to 43 cinemas in the first awards from their Cultural Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas, set up to help venues cope with the impact of the pandemic. Cinemas are able to apply for ‘Safety Grants’, to help independent venues meet the additional costs of creating a safe and COVID-secure environment for staff and audiences, and ‘Business Sustainability’ grants of up to £200,000 to help stabilise venues as they reopen. Applications to the fund are open until 30 October. Meanwhile, applications to the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme can be made from 9am on Friday 2 October, though state aid approval is still required for the program. The full list of chosen cinemas is below:

  • Bellingham Film Palace, London                                                 £3,842

  • Hailsham Pavilion, Hailsham, East Sussex                                   £5,760

  • Hollywood Plaza, Scarborough, North Yorkshire                        £5,450

  • Boleyn Cinema, East Ham, London                                              £8,325

  • Lexi Cinema, north-west London                                                £8,439

  • Jam Jar Cinema, Whitley Bay, Northumberland                         £5,914

  • Keswick Alhambra, Keswick, Cumbria                                        £4,884

  • Saffron Walden, Essex                                                                 £6,921

  • Royston Picture Palace, Hertfordshire                                        £6,921

  • Showroom, Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber                    £10,000

  • Kino, Hawkhurst, Kent                                                                 £8,469

  • Kino, Rye, East Sussex                                                                 £8,469

  • Kino, Bermondsey, south-east London                                       £8,469

  • Regal Cinema, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire                           £8,375

  • Red Carpet Cinema, Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire   £9,973

  • Kinema in the Woods, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire                     £4,002

  • Totnes Cinema, Devon                                                                     £4,602

  • Savoy, Heaton Moor, Greater Manchester                                 £4,983

  • Orion Cinema, Burgess Hill, West Sussex                                      £5,254

  • Hollywood East, Dereham, Norfolk                                             £5,318

  • The Clifton Community Arts Centre, West Midlands                   £3,662

  • Rex Cinema, Wilmslow, Cheshire                                                £5,365

  • The Northern Lights Cinema, Derbyshire                                    £8,050

  • The Regent, Christchurch, Dorset                                               £5,292

  • Backyard Cinema, south-west London                                       £8,207

  • Sherborne Cinema, Gloucester                                                     £8,940

  • Ritz Cinema, Derbyshire £10,000

  • Reel Cinemas £139,951

Borehamwood (Hertfordshire), Chippenham (Wiltshire), Chorley (Lancashire), Dudley (West Midlands), Kidderminster (Worcestershire), Kingston Upon Hull (Yorkshire and the Humber), Loughborough (Leicestershire), Morecambe (Lancashire), Plymouth (Devon), Rochdale (Greater Manchester), Wakefield (West Yorkshire), Widnes (Lancashire), Hollywood Park (Burnley, Lancashire), Market Quay (Portsmouth, Hampshire)

  • Saffron Walden Community Cinema, Cambridgeshire                £85,271*

  • Catford Mews, south-east London                                          £252,697*

*The Saffron Walden Community Cinema and Catford Mews cinemas receive funding for  health and safety equipment and for business sustainability planning.

UK launches digital rental chart amid increased VOD demand

 The UK’s Official Charts Company is launching a new digital rental chart and data service. Digital retailers providing data for the new chart include Amazon, Apple, Rakuten, Sky Store and Talk Talk TV. The launch follows a period of rapid growth in VOD activity during the COVID-19 lockdown, with data for the first half of 2020 showing an average of 600,000 rentals per week before lockdown, rising to more than 1m rentals a week after lockdown was implemented. More than 21m rental transactions were made in the six months to June 30. Joker was the most-rented title with more than 600,000 rental transactions to June, closely followed by Jumanji: The Next Level with an impressive 450,000 rentals to June, with Rian Johnson’s Knives Out taking the number three position in the half year charts. Contagion was a surprise entrant in the top ten during the pandemic.

VFX firm Pixomondo constructs ‘virtual production studios’ in Toronto

The Mandalorian and Greenland VFX outfit Pixomondo (PXO) has begun construction on one of Canada’s first ‘virtual production studios’ in Toronto. The facility, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, will be overseen by PXO Toronto/Montreal Head of Studio, Mahmoud Rahnama. The company has designed a modular smart stage that includes multiple Toronto-based layouts. The stages will be available for shoots, and equipped with on-set PXO personnel for productions using the company’s 3D environment creation services. Virtual production includes virtual scouting, remote collaboration and the use of LED technology for “in-camera” visual effects. The structure allows for adequate social distancing of crews, reduced travel and for a range of production departments to collaborate virtually. PXO says it has already secured interest from a number of U.S. and Canadian productions to book the stage, beginning in early January 2021.

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