President’s Report – September 2014

2014 NATIONAL AGM REPORT 15/9/2013

Before we begin I would ask we stand and recognise the loss of one of our industries great cinematographers, mentors and characters. I refer to Peter Menzies Senior ACS, who we lost a couple of weeks ago. Peter was admired and respected by many, and his loss is one of great significance. Our thoughts are also with the family of ACT member and Society stalwart, Raeburn Trindall ACS who passed during May, he was one of our original members and was a hard working, dedicated family man and cinematographer. We think about Queensland member and sponsor, Travis Trewin who lost his wife Diana, a brave young woman who contributed much to the industry through the film school she and Travis ran. Our thoughts are with all the families and friends of these good people, during these sad times.

A very warm welcome to you all, and particularly to Simon Akkerman ACS, who joins us as the new WA Branch President, taking over from Jason Thomas, who has led the Branch for the past five years and is now keen to pursue his career and spend more time with his family. A huge thanks to Jason for all his efforts.

I thank you all on behalf of all the members of the Society for your contribution, loyalty, leadership and for 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, and I thank 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 Brisbane our National membership numbers are sitting at 1,537 and National Sponsorship has reached $127,000.00, with Fujinon continuing their role as our Major National sponsor and includes some sponsorship contra elements from a number of our sponsors, including two AFTRS courses, with this years recipients being Olivia Dhimitri from the WA Branch and Grace Park from the ACT. Panasonic who supplied six television sets for each State & Territory Awards for our famous “Door Prizes”. Videocraft for providing six prizes for the Awards presentation as “Door Prizes”. Platinum sponsor DCP Studios to assist with facilities for the Victorian/Tasmanian awards judging, along with btheir verry generous support of our CineGear Expo trip earlier this year, Simon Higgins at Showreelfinder for maximum coverage and awareness of all our ACS Awards results on the Showreelfinder web site, SUNSTUDIOS who have offered facilities for a ACS event using their studio space, and our good friends at Speakeasy Teleprompt, who supply teleprompters for our Awards presentations. Finally, The Post Lounge who have created a new animated ACS logo, ACS Montage Reel and new ACS National Sponsors reel, which I will organise to have distributed to you all soon. Overall a really pleasing result, one that highlights that the ACS brand remains viable and equitable. 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. I know Mylene will talk about the Branch National sponsor disbursements at this meeting, given the fact we are wanting to give financial support to the NT Branch Awards, without disadvantaging the other Branches. I know Mylene and Ernie have resolved this perfectly, and Mylene will present the figures later, as well as her Treasurer’s report.

We continue to monitor our Membership fees, 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.

I continue to 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.

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.

The Society has been part of many initiatives both within the Society and as part of the greater industry. They include;
The publishing of of “THE IMAGE MAKERS: A Brief History of the Australian Cinematographers Society”. This wonderfully informative book of 160 pages was written by our ACS Historian and much loved Ron Windon ACS, who I commend for this truly outstanding publication, along with Heidi Tobin for her diligence and editorial skills and to David Wakeley for reviewing and proof reading the many versions before final printing.. It was also made possible to distribute free to all members because of the generosity of Paul Jackson at Panavision and Nick Buchner at Sony. Panavision and Sony, Sony and Panavision, thanks to you both.

We are currently part of an AACTA working party to formulate a series of special Q&A’s to time with the AACTA Awards next year – “MEET THE MAKERS”, those who make the films will be involved in a series of Q&A’s including our own ACS members as panelists. In recent days, I have been contacted by Hayley Davis from National Sponsor; DDP regarding the ACS assisting them with panelists, as part of the AACTA events.

IMAGO will soon release a new version of the Cinematographers Directory, which we are currently providing contact information for inclusion. If any at this table would like to be included, please let me know.

IMAGO have also asked us to nominate a representative to sit on the panel for the TEACHING OF CINEMATOGRAPHY Conference to be held in Brussels in November. I have nominated both Kim Batterham ACS and Erika Addis to be part of this event, and am waiting to hear if they are able to attend.

The ACS and Miller have had a relationship that goes back many decades, and that collaborative spirit has been confirmed with the creation of a new award:The Bob Miller – ACS Technical & Innovation Achievement Award, developed in honour and memory of the fluid head inventor Bob Miller. This prestigious, new award is a fitting tribute to the memory of Bob Miller and a great reward for the recipient, who will have contributed to the advancement of technology in cinematography as Bob himself once did with his inventive camera support solutions.

The Bob Miller – ACS Technical & Innovation Achievement Award will come with $1,000 cash and a $2,000 Miller product prize along with a framed certificate. The winner will also have his or her name engraved onto one of Miller’s LP ’54 Classic tripods, which will reside permanently on display at the ACS National Headquarters in Sydney.
The Bob Miller – ACS Technical & Innovation Achievement Award will be presented to an industry pioneer for the first time at the 2015 ACS National Awards for Cinematography in Hobart, Australia. Visit the ACS web site for more details, or submit a nomination to me.

Our flagship, AC Magazine is a first class industry magazine that continues to elevate the status of the Society with each and every issue. As you know wew are sadly losing our Editor, Dick Marks OAM, who along with the fantastic AC Magazine team, has produced a truly international publication. Comprising Heidi Tobin and Joanne Bouzianis-Sellick, supported by Head of Art; Brad Sampson along with many contributing writers; 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. I know Ted will have more to say, and some recommendations in his detailed HQ Report.

Accreditation screenings were held over the last two days, once again here at the ACS HQ. This year we had 23 applications for Accreditation, and there were 11 successful candidates. They were:

351 – (TAS ) ~ David Brill ACS
352 – (NSW) ~ Susan Stitt ACS
353 – (NSW) ~ David Cameron ACS
354 – (WA ) ~ Jim Frater ACS
355 – (NSW) ~ Nicola Daley ACS
356 – (QLD ) ~ Richard Fitzpatrick ACS
357 – (QLD ) ~ Matthew Peterson ACS
358 – (NSW) ~ Jo Pickering ACS
359 – (VIC ) ~ Adam Arkapaw ACS
360 – (TAS ) ~ Mark Dobbin ACS
361 – (NSW) ~ Iain MacKenzie ACS

Congratulations to all 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, and also at the National Awards in Hobart next year.

The Awards committee, Chaired by the still indefatigable Ernie Clark ACS, have reviewed the Awards categories and incorporated some revisions in order to streamline the process. Once again, small increases and roundings to the entry fees were applied this year, and the categories and guidelines will continue to be monitored and change as new technologies are adopted. We will continue to refine our awards to ensure they are the fairest and the best in Australia.

Created in June this year, ACS CineKids is a new membership category created to encourage and foster interested kids up to the age of 15 years to participate and take an active hands-on approach to Cinematography, and giving more young people the ability to experience the inspirational community that is the ACS. An ACS CineKids Member is a young person, 15 years or under, who has a passion for cameras and filmmaking. ACS CineKids will receive an ACS Welcome Pack with a membership certificate, membership card, note pad and pen, access to our E news both National & State, and various screenings and workshops, along with mentoring from our ACS cinematographers, via our association with KidzFlicks.
As part of our CineKids member category, we have asked Ms Kathy Gray, – Asst Manager Children’s Employment from the Office of the Children’s Guardian here in NSW to explain some of our responsibilities and the intricacies involved when working with children.

The 2014 ACS National Awards for Cinematography were a resounding success, hosted and organised superbly by the Queensland Branch and thanks so much to Jason Hargreaves ACS, Tony O’Loughlan and the Queensland Branch committee. 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 all who played a part. However there was one unfortunate incident that needs to be mentioned in order for it not to occur again, and that is the monitoring of the recording of the Awards presentation itself, for historical and archiving purposes. Sadly, for whatever reason, the first half of the Awards presentation was lost and we have no record at all of some of the historically important presentations that took part. Please for future reference ensure this is monitored closely to avoid it happening again. I emphasise this is not a sleight on the organising group, as I know the emotional distress it caused Tony O’Loughlan when it was discovered.

Speaking of Awards, our State and Territory Awards are approaching, and for the first time the Northern Territory Branch, under the inspired leadership of Andrew Hyde will host their own awards in Darwin on October 28. There will be many highlights which Andy will detail later in the meeting, but our congratulations to all those on the NT Committee, both in Alice Springs and Darwin. Our colleague, and founding President of the NT Branch, David Curl – The Good Doctor would be proud indeed to see this finally come to fruition.

Of course next year our ACS National Awards will be held in Hobart, and I know that Peter Curtis ACS has much to tell the meeting, so I will leave that up to him for later in the meeting.

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. In the Bruce Hillyard ACS Reading room, I remind you to see the 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 David Lewis ACS, for his dedication and hard work. Along with new Assistant HQ Manager; Richard Wilmot, and his predecessor; Anna Howard ACS, along with Ted Rayment ACS, David Burr ACS, David & Marianne Wakeley, Ron Windon ACS, Alecksei de Castagna 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 will both provide a detailed report later in the meeting relating to the HQ.

On behalf of the Society, I continue to assist Melbourne based film scholar, writer and academic, Lindsay Coleman who has finally attached SUNY as the publisher to his 100,000 word book “The Cinematographers Voice”, which includes interviews with over thirty cinematographers from around the globe, including some of our own. Renowned cinematographer, Roberto Schaeffer ASC AIC will be the co editor. It is due to be published next year and will include the ACS logo as a supporter of the project.

We have been asked once again to participate at SMPTE 2015, and as more details come to hand, I will keep you appraised.

Sales of The Shadowcatchers is continuing. Thus far sold 1300 Standard Edition copies to bookshops, libraries, members and the public from a print run of 1700. We are currently showing a profit of $39,906.00.

The ACS Mentor – Attachment Scheme has closed for this year, but has proven to be a valuable initiative. Thus far, since it’s beginnings in 2012 we have had twenty-three placements, the most recent this month with Victorian member, Sherwin Akbarzadeh being mentored by Greig Fraser ACS ASC. The scheme has closed for this year, and has continued to be a valuable learning tool for those who participate on both sides of the lens.

In closing I believe that we must 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 as many events as possible for them.

My personal thanks to my fellow Executive and Board members, and to 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 six years. I am very proud to be part of such a prestigious and important Society and it’s role within our industry, along with the generosity of our members and the optimism we all share for the future.

Ron Johanson OAM ACS
National President

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