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CANBERRA, AAP – Independent cinemas are being thrown a $20 million coronavirus lifeline through a creatively named grants program.

Somebody appears to have swallowed a dictionary when coming up with the SCREEN rescue package.

The eye-catching acronym stands for Supporting Cinemas’ Retention Endurance and Enhancement of Neighbourhoods.

The scheme is expected to support 390 cinemas across the country with one-off grants of up to $85,000.

Arts Minister Paul Fletcher is hoping the fund will be enough to keep cinemas afloat while business conditions return to normal.

“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on cinemas, who have struggled to recover due to circumstances that were out of their control, such as capacity restrictions and a reduced flow of new release films by major distributors,” Mr Fletcher said on Friday.