The State Theatre during Sydney Film Festival's summer season.

A $5 million theatre and film strategy and $1 million in film festival funding form part of an $86 million stimulus package from the NSW government designed to kickstart the state’s arts, screen, and cultural sectors.

To be delivered through Create NSW, the funding commitment also features $50 million to relaunch the performing arts sector, $25 million for established commercial and not-for-profit festivals, and $5 million to extend Sydney’s Culture Up Late initiative.

In addition to the package, the NSW Government has established an Event Saver Fund to support major festivals and events impacted by COVID-19 cancellations or postponements in 2022. 

NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin said the funds announced on Sunday would help provide certainty for the arts sector following lockdown.

“The arts and cultural sectors were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with many organisations unable to rehearse, plan or perform,” he said. 

“The arts are key to our economic recovery and critical for our wellbeing – uplifting and inspiring us in our times of need. I am proud the NSW Government is continuing to support the sector to help it get back on its feet.”

According to the NSW Government, the priorities of the film and theatre strategy are the development of film studio and theatre infrastructure plans that will help secure international productions and turn Sydney into the “Broadway of the Southern Hemisphere”.

It comes two months after NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes helped unveil plans for a $150 million film production precinct to be built at Penrith Lakes, while the state government is also working with Russell Crowe, Peter Montgomery, and Keith Rodger to deliver the Pacific Bay Resort Studios and Village in Coffs Harbour.

Some $1 million will be put towards support the delivery of local and international film festivals across Sydney, Western Sydney, and South Western Sydney in independent and commercial cinemas, and outdoors where possible.

Earlier this month, the Sydney Film Festival launched its full program for the 2021 event, which will take place in November after being pushed back twice from its usual June date.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the package would support individuals and businesses to reignite the economy through their cultural offerings.

“We have all been champing at the bit to see films in cinemas, our local bands on stage, and our favourite musicals in theatres,” he said.

“This funding commitment will allow the arts and cultural sector to relaunch with certainty and confidence to deliver works that audiences have missed over the past year.”

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