THREE Mornington Peninsula cinemas will share in $130,000 of federal government money to support the recovery of the arts and entertainment sector after three years of COVID-related disruptions to operations.
Peninsula Cinemas Rosebud and Sorrento, as well as the Dromana 3 Drive-in, received between $35,000 and $60,000 each under the second round of the $20 million Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods (SCREEN) fund.
Dromana 3 Drive-In owner Paul Whitaker said the drive-in had weathered the “perfect storm” of difficult times and was grateful for the support.
“COVID-19 has seen us under mandatory lockdowns of more than 300 nights then, during the periods when we were able to operate, increased demand along with staff shortages,” he said.
“The SCREEN fund grant will help to secure the business into the future, employing more staff (when available), upgrading technology and long-awaited repairs to infrastructure.
“The association with Screen Australia through the SCREEN fund will make the presentation of many more Australian Made movies a reality.”
Mr Whitaker said he believed 2022 was going to be a great year for the cinemas, with restrictions over and his drive-in’s 60th anniversary fast approaching.
He said there would be a community celebration on 21 December to mark the occasion.
Flinders MP Greg Hunt said the money would allow independent cinema owners to keep their projectors rolling COVID-safely.
“Local independent cinemas are key parts of our community, bringing friends, family and partners together for so many years,” he said.
“Local places like the Dromana 3 Drive-In and Peninsula Cinemas have a history of entertaining locals for decades and it’s important that they haven’t been left behind in the COVID-19 pandemic.”