The Global Cinema Federation (GCF), an advocacy group of cinema operators and trade bodies from across the world, on Wednesday said that there is a need for a collective response with tens of thousands of screens worldwide forced to close, resulting in financial losses, and many cinema employees facing hardship after losing their jobs.

PVR Cinemas from India is one of the 11 executive members of the federation.

“Those hundreds of thousands of people that make our sector so special must be our
foremost concern, given that they are at the core of delivering the big screen experience to their communities. The swift and effective response offered by many
national governments in providing them and other similar frontline workers appropriate support is therefore hugely welcome,” the industry body said.

The GCF said that some approaches already taken include deferred business taxes, wage support, unemployment compensation, loans and loan guarantees, rent support and general rescue packages to help with fixed costs and the relaxation of state aid rules.

“The coronavirus knows no borders. With different regions experiencing varying levels of severity, it is crucial that each territory uses all of the means at its disposal to deliver the most effective response to the unparalleled challenges we face,” it adds.

The body says that it will work together through the weeks and months to come to ensure that cinemas survive these testing times. “It is crucial that the entire industry unites in rallying against the threat to our collective well being and that we tackle the crisis head on for the sake of our audiences as well as our workers, the lifeblood of the industry,” it said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful to the studios, directors and everyone involved in the motion picture industry that has shown their faith in cinema exhibition over the past weeks.”

Last week, India’s Multiplex Association of India (MAI), a national multiplex trade body representing more than 18 regional and national multiplex chains, said that due to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent shutdown of the entire cinema industry across the country, “the industry is going through an unprecedented crisis that threatens our very existence”.

The MAI, which represents around 90% of the multiplex industry in India and operates more than 600 multiplexes, said that as compared to some other businesses, which
have seen a revenue drop, multiplex revenues have overnight become zero. “This has put us in a very grim situation as we struggle to meet our commitments to pay our staff salaries on time and meet our fixed overheads,” it said.

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