A silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise and rise of Australian and independent cinema.
So says owner and managing director of The Picture Show Man cinema in Merimbula, on the NSW Far South Coast, Jesse Tankard.
Mr Tankard said he has always had a passion for cinema and it has been this love for films and his positive outlook that has made the owner so adaptable to the restrictions enforced on businesses like his in the last year.
He said big blockbuster films were not being distributed to Australia as much, given restrictions on cinema patrons and people only slowly returning to the big screen option.
That wasn't so much about safety issues as it was about making those all-important box office stats look rosier.
As a result, Mr Tankard said it had given a green light to independent and Australian films.
"It's done really well, especially with our demographic in this area, they respond very well to the Australian-grown talent," he said.
One example was recent release The Dry, starring Eric Bana and Genevieve O'Reilly.
The Picture Show Man first screened The Dry in early January, and now six weeks in it was still attracting large audience numbers - around 50 just last Tuesday Mr Tankard said.
Mr Tankard said he was very happy to see such a good response from the community with people heading back to the cinema again.
"So many people come here to be transported to other places and meet their friends over popcorn and drinks, we provide an experience," he said.
"The cinema here is a really important part of our community."
Mr Tankard encouraged people to enjoy the cinema again with all necessary procedures in place to make it COVID-safe.
Mr Tankard said he had also taken to screening old films on the big screen again, which have been doing well in Merimbula.
He said the cinema would continue bringing in old classics they think would resonate with audiences.
Old films have been made available to the public again as a result of distributors opening back up their back catalogues to cinemas, which in turn helps the businesses fill in empty gaps in their screen times, Mr Tankard said..
"We want to keep this cinema going in our community, get through this hard period and be there at the end of it," he said.