Presidents Report ~ 2013 National AGM Report

2013 National AGM Report

2013 NATIONAL AGM REPORT 15/9/2013

Good morning all…before we begin I would ask we stand and recognise the loss of Tasmanian Honorary Member, Jonathan Dawson, legendary gaffer; Bruce Gailey, Sound Recordist and friend of the Camera Department; Paul “Clackers” Clark, who all sadly passed away in August, and just recently we lost Melbourne cinematographer Bob Henderson and NSW member Esdra Giddy.

A very warm welcome to you all, and particularly to Jason Hargreaves ACS, Miguel Gallagher and Warwick Field.

Jason joins us as the new Queensland Branch President, taking over from Simon Russell, who has played a large part at this table, dealing with the revitalising of the web site and associated web matters. Thank you Simon. Welcome to new ACT President Miguel Rodriguez and to new Victorian President, Warwick Field. I thank you all for taking on the responsibilities of leading your Branches into the future. Of course with the election of someone new, we lose two very special people who have led with great distinction for many years. I refer to Robb Shaw – Velzen, aka Hyphen and Alan Cole ACS who have both stepped down as Branch Presidents. The commitment to the Society by both Robb and Alan is something they can be very proud of, and we should be very grateful for. Robb has served for over 10 years and Alan 5. I thank them both on behalf of all the members of the Society for their contribution, loyalty, leadership and playing such a large part in the growth of the Society in recent years.

That growth by the Society has been made possible by the work of many, not only at this table, but also within each and every Branch. We are a different Society now, and are perceived differently as well. Thank you to each and every one of you and your Branch committees for giving your time, dedication and energy so freely to the Society. It does not go unnoticed.

Since our Half Yearly in Canberra it has been a busy time for the Society. Our National membership numbers have grown to 1,541 and National Sponsorship has reached $110,000.00, which includes some sponsorship contra elements; an AFTRS camera assistant’s course, with this years recipient being Tim Wood from the NT Branch, Sony who supplied a monitor for the permanent Milli Award winners display in the HQ Library, Videocraft for ongoing improvements to the ACS HQ, DCP Studios to assist with facilities for the Victorian/Tasmanian awards judging, Simon Higgins at Showreelfinder for maximum coverage and awareness of all our ACS Awards results on the Showreelfinder web site, SUNSTUDIOS who provided facilities for the Boyle Workshop and other upcoming ACS events, Airview Xtreme who will provide the major door prize at the 2014 National Awards and our good friends at Speakeasy Teleprompt, who supply teleprompters for all Awards presentations that require them. Overall a little less than last year but nevertheless a really pleasing result, one that highlights that the ACS brand is viable and equitable, even in these still somewhat volatile economic times. Which brings me to the point about our National and Branch sponsors and supporters. It is our responsibility to support them in the same way they support us. So before you go to an overseas web site please look at iur ACS sponsors for any purchase you may decide to make.

One thing we should all be particularly proud of is the response received from the Branches in March regarding the Society assisting NSW Full member, Phil Balsden with his ongoing rehabilitation, after suffering a debilitating stroke. We received a total of $7000 which went towards a new wheelchair for Phil, and I was thrilled to see him at SMPTE enjoying himself so much. Thanks so much to all who have contributed and who have helped Phil in so many ways.

We recently had a rise in Membership fees, the first since 2008. In the future we need to consider these rises on a more regular basis, because we do need to have the capacity to pay our bills and to provide our members with various services that they expect. I endorse and support any motions for fee rises and ask that you give due consideration to voting yes whenever the motions are presented.

If you were to read my previous reports, you will see I emphasise the importance that we continue to build our reputation as a strong, forthright and viable Society. I urge you to contribute to the Society by suggesting events and ways to do things better and more efficiently. Don’t be reticent, step up and take a more “hands on” role coordinating an event yourself in order for it to succeed. Any input will be most welcome I assure you.

I also remind you that we as a Society must understand that there can be difficulties with consistent employment. For those who find themselves in this position, but are wishing to maintain their membership, the Society offers payment options, such as Student Membership cost for any member who needs assistance. We value all of our members and will do what is reasonable for members to continue their membership of the ACS. Be aware of this at your Branch level and always ensure that members know that options are available to them.

Our flagship, AC Magazine is a first class industry magazine that continues to elevate the status of the Society with every issue. The team is led by Editor, Dick Marks OAM, and new Editor; JoAnne Bouzianis –Sellick who was responsible for AC Mag 58 while Dick is away in Europe. Well done Bouzi!! Thanks also to the AC Mag editorial team of Heidi Tobin and Nicola Daley, supported by Head of Art; Brad Sampson along with contributing writers; Robert C. Morton, Glen McGarry, Dominic Case, Ranald Duhig, Geoff Burton ACS, Ian Baseby, James Cunningham and not forgetting Austcine Publishing Chair, Ted Rayment ACS and National Treasurer, Mylene Ludgate who continue to produce a magazine we can all be very proud of.

Accreditation screenings were held over the last two days, once again here at the ACS HQ. This year we had 17 applications for Accreditation, and there were 7 successful candidates. They were:

344# Simon Ozolins – VIC
345# Marcus Hides – NSW
346# Callan Green – NSW
347# Daniel Soekov – SA
348# Peter Holland – NSW
349# Gerard Lambkin – QLD
350# Mathew Allard – NSW

Congratulations to these members, who have earned the right to use the letters ACS after their name. It will be my great pleasure to present each of them with their Accreditation pin and certificate at their respective Awards presentations in November.

The Awards committee, Chaired by the indefatigable Ernie Clark ACS, have reviewed the Awards categories and incorporated some changes. In particular, due to the lack of entries, Multi Camera news has been dropped and because of that decision the category was no longer eligible for inclusion into the News Directors Award.
A new category has been introduced, CAT 10: Web & New Media: Narrative web content, fictional, documentary, or promotional material created for online release. Includes Webisodes, short docos & commercial content released on the web. “Spec” ads that do not have a paid media TV schedule should be entered into this category. Entry Fee: $50.00
The Virtual Cinematography Category in the National Awards is now only eligible for 1 Gold plaque and this has been updated into the National Awards Guidelines.

Also small increases and roundings to the entry fees were applied this year. We have also introduced a new online awards entry system, built by NSW member Aleksei Vanamois, which means only completed entry forms will generate an Entry number, hopefully this will make it easier when compiling the awards at the branch level. I have no doubt the categories and guidelines will continue to be monitored and change as new technologies are adopted. We will continue to refine our awards to be the fairest and the best in Australia that we can make them.

The 2013 ACS National Awards for Cinematography were a resounding success, hosted and organised superbly by the ACT Branch and thanks so much to Robb Shaw Velzen, Georgina Jenkins, Pearl Lee and the By George team along with the NSW Branch and the NFSA. The volume of time put into any Awards presentation is enormous, and in many cases for that period of time, lives are put on hold in order to ensure the success of these presentations. Thanks again to Robb, George and all who played a part.

The ACS Web Photo competition proved to be very popular and we received around 150 entries of photographs of cinematographers at work, to use on our ACS National Web site banner, and as material to be archived for future use. You will be able to see all the entries very soon on a designated web page, and on a rotational basis on the ACS web site home page banner.

Thanks to everyone who sent something in, it is a great source of interest and material for us all. While on the subject of the Web site, welcome and thanks to our new Web Manager, Lizz Vernon who is bringing the web site up to date and liaising with both Heidi Tobin and Toadshow to add additional features to provide more information to our members, including designated pages for the ACS Photo Gallery and ACS – fxphd Tech Talk.

The ACS Patrons “Wall of Can Do” continues to grow, and draws praise from all those who have paid a visit and enjoyed the hospitality afforded them here at the ACS HQ. Special thanks to our most recent contributors, Peter James ACS ASC, Pieter de Vries ACS and Ernie Clark ACS, who have given incredibly generously. The Wall of Can Do has raised an impressive amount of $73,300.00 since it’s inception.

The National HQ derives income from our permanent tenant and ACS HQ Gatekeeper, Ashley Roan along with others including Pieter De Vries ACS and Ian Nicholson. The income is greatly appreciated and assists us in so many ways. Recent additions in the Bruce Hillyard Room include a designated Sony video display to the ACS Milli winners and a lasting Memorial to fellow cinematographers and colleagues who have lost their lives in the pursuit of their craft. The Memorial was designed by JoAnne Bouzianis – Sellick and donated to the Society by a mystery patron. My thanks on behalf of us all go to our HQ Manager, the industrious Davis Lewis ACS, for his dedication and hard work. Assistant HQ Manager; Anna Howard ACS, along with Ted Rayment ACS, David Burr ACS, David & Marianne Wakeley, Ron Windon ACS and all those NSW members who take it upon themselves to look after all our interests and maintain the HQ to an incredible standard. This National Headquarters belongs to us all, every Branch and every member has a stake in it.

David Lewis ACS and our National Treasurer. Mylene Ludgate will both provide detailed reports later in the meeting relating to the HQ.

On behalf of the Society, I continue to assist Melbourne based film scholar and academic, Lindsay Coleman who is currently putting together a book on the world’s finest cinematographers, of which there are many Australian cinematographers to be included. The project is hopefully being expanded in the second series of the popular DVD Cinematographers Style. For this to go into production an undertaking is required from the ASC, and the American Film Institute and until that is forthcoming we wait patiently.

We also underwrote the Geoff Boyle RAW Workshops, which proved to a great success but no so financially. I take full responsibility for a number of errors that led to a loss to the Society in the region of $4,000.00.

The reasons included:
1. Not charging a large enough entry fee in the first place, although the risk was if it were too expensive many of those who attended would not have in the first place. It was always going to be an event that our members could afford, which was the case.

  1. I wasn’t prudent enough when it came to monitoring expenses.

Having said all that, the overall result, apart from the financial side, was a positive one given the feedback and response from all those who attended, and the overwhelming support from our sponsors, particularly Lemac was outstanding.

The Branches who hosted the individual RAW workshops were fantastic, and it was a delight to work with them all on such a worthwhile project.

SMPTE 2013 was a great success and congratulations go to the organisers for such a rewarding experience for all who were lucky enough to attend.

The ACS was directly responsible for six individual events including:

What Rules – Creativity or Technology? Why doesn’t the Cinematographer have ultimate control over what tools they use? CHAIR -Calvin Gardiner ACS
Moderator: Renee Brack –
Denson Baker ACS
Ben Allen ACS
Tom Gleeson
Editor Scott Gray ASE
Colourist – Adrian Hauser
Post Supervisor – Henry Karjalainen
Visual Effects Director – Chris Godfrey

“Show me the Magic” The life and career of legendary Australian cinematographer, Don McAlpine Director: Cathy Henkel
CHAIR/Moderator: Renee Brack

The Future Vision What’s next for Cinematographers today and for tomorrow, what changes are happening for students, entry level and established cinematographers when creating imagery for future generations. CHAIR/Moderator:Erika Addis
Dan Freene ACS
David Peers
Rob Morton
Vivyan Madigan
Callan Green
Kim Batterham ACS

Session Type/Title Session Synopsis Suggested Speakers
Shooting DSLR & more…Be Brave and push the boundaries. The DSLR revolution is challenging the way we shoot and operate. Which camera for which job, forget about the budget, how do I have the most flexible kit with out owning 4 camera’s and 5 rigs. In a hands on workshop Kim Batterham ACS will explore this maze and come up with some answers. Kim Batterham ACS

Discussion from The Ladies Lounge
Open discussion amongst the leading Australian female cinematographers about the role of women in today’s film & television induatry, and into the future. CHAIR/Moderator: Erika Addis
Katie Milwright
JoAnne Bouzianis – Sellick
Carolyn Constantine
Margie McClymont

Cinematographers John Seale ACS ASC, David Burr ACS, 3D Camera designer; Paul Nicola and Camera Department co-ordinator Michelle Pizanis talk about their collaboration on the new MAD MAX: FURY ROAD film. John Seale ACS ASC
David Burr ACS
Michelle Pizanis

All these ACS – SMPTE events were outstanding and promoted much discussion among those attending. I think we should follow up on a number of these topics in the future, particularly the one dealing with the Cinematographer and Post Production.

All but one of the ACS sessions were recorded, and I have asked the SMPTE organisors on numerous occasions how we can best access the material for our members. I will continue to ask until we have a positive answer.

Financially SMPTE was a bonus for the Society as we received a Consultancy fee of $4,000.00 for the events we contributed, along with merchandise sales and new memberships at the NSW Branch manned ACS Booth. My thanks to David Lewis and all those NSW committee members who worked tirelessly, held together by coffee from the Fujinon stand, to make the ACS booth a casual, friendly meeting place. This one SMPTE event, every two years increases the awareness of the Society to a much broader demographic than we could ever hope for otherwise.

The Society and the Guilds continued to work closely and it is hoped that the meetings held during the last year will continue, in order for all sections of our industry to become more unified. This was evident with our discussion and collaboration with AACTA regarding the restructuring of their Awards, to include more craft based categories.

There are some projects approved and others for consideration over the next 12 months. They include:

Annual State & Territory Awards

ACS National Awards 2014 in Brisbane hosted by the Queensland Branch, which will include a number of special events.

We are currently coordinating with the faculty of Griffith Film School, Queensland a 5 day intensive Masterclass with Robert Humphreys ACS and Ellery Ryan ACS, to be held shortly.

We continue to support various small Festivals and competitions
The 48 Hour Film Project – Melbourne based
WOW – World of Women Film Festival.
Australian Production Designers Guild Awards 2013.
KidsFlicks; The Sydney International Festival of Films by Children.

There will be a Christmas promotional push for The Shadowcatchers. With every book, a set of steak knives or similar!

Speaking of which, Sales of The Shadowcatchers is continuing. As you would be aware we have sold out of the 250 Limited Edition copies of the book and have thus far sold 1049 Standard Edition copies to bookshops, libraries and to members and the public, which is a combined total of 1460 copies, from a print run of 2000. The Shadowcatchers costs, to this point have been $96,975.46 and income from sales has been $119,956.24. We are currently showing a profit of $22,980.78.

The ACS Mentor – Attachment Scheme is available again this year, and has once again drawn much interest. Thus far, since it’s beginnings in 2012 we have had 15 placements, the most recent in August with David Manu being mentored by Martin McGrath ACS. The scheme has proven to be a valuable learning tool for those who participate on both sides of the lens.

Intellectual Property, Moral and Authorship rights for cinematographers will always be a work in progress simply because of the complexities of the law, particularly as it stands here in Australia and the resources we do not have to apply to the subject. Our continuing Associate membership of IMAGO does give me hope for the future as they are constantly lobbying and reviewing the subject in Europe. The Society is playing a part in the upcoming Imago Master class in Vienna, with Russell Boyd ACS ASC and Director, Peter Weir both participating as speakers. Thanks to them both for their support and their contribution to this excellent series of bi annual Master classes.

I also continue to monitor the ongoing status of the Associate Member countries of Imago, and hope that Full membership will become a reality later this year.

In closing I would like to remind you all that we must remain diligent and continue to foster growth, cohesion and change within the Society. It’s important we assist our members whenever possible to understand and come to terms with new technologies, and who a cinematographer is and what is the job description. We need to remain conscious of the fact that our members need to feel they are getting value for money, and that they do indeed get that value by the Society providing events for them. All Branches must provide events for members, no matter how large or how small. I would like to see that a minimum of 4 events be planned by each Branch for each calendar year. I don’t believe this is too much to expect, otherwise members will simply walk, and we run the risk of the Society not remaining a viable option.
My personal thanks to Ernie Clark ACS, David & Marianne Wakeley, Alan Cole ACS, Mylene Ludgate, Heidi Tobin, David Lewis ACS, David Burr ACS, Ron Windon ACS, Dick Marks OAM along with all the Branch President’s, Treasurers, Secretaries and Committees who give so freely of their time and their expertise to make the Society what is today.
I thank you all once again for the honour you have afforded me, by allowing me to be your National President over the past five years. It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience and I am very proud of the ACS itself, it’s role within our industry, the generosity of our members and the optimism we all have for the future.

It would be pleased to nominate once again for the National Presidency.

Ron Johanson ACS
National President

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