July 1, 2005 — June 30, 2006
I am honoured to present this annual report on behalf of the Fundy Film Society (FFS). Our fifth year has been a most distinguished one, with progress and plans to celebrate.
FFS continues to evolve slowly and successfully. At the five year mark, statistics are one way to view this. I offer these figures that would have been shared at respective AGMs:
Films screened: AGM ‘02 — 9; AGM ‘05 — 39; AGM ‘06 — 65
Total films screened as of August 31: 170
Screenings: AGM ‘02 — 20; AGM ‘05 — 102; AGM 06 — 124
Top attended films of ‘05 — ‘06: March of the Penguins — 528; The Constant Gardener — 485
Top attended films to date: Bowling for Columbine — over 800, The Pianist — 514
Growth of “Films screened” this year is the result of two changes: a weekly screening throughout the summer (our first) and the new Documentary series, initiated in September 2005. The Docs have been well received and are holding their own. After the Autumn season we changed the Doc screening from Monday to Wednesday evenings. A good move.
The Board regularly revisits decisions for evaluation. After the Autumn 2005 season we also canceled the 9:30 Monday Main series screening. It had a consistent loyal following, but numbers were not good enough to justify the expense. As part of this evaluation process we also continued the September Student Ticket Special this Autumn and again offered the new 6-Pack which we finally launched as a trial balloon in the Spring having discussed it for well over a year. As I said, we evolve slowly! For the Autumn launch, Ned Zimmerman designed a 6-Pack postcard and poster package for circulation and the web. Sales have been brisk.
Our web site is an important information source for many viewers. Even with several months of lost stats since its establishment (January 2002), our site has now rolled over its 50,000th hit. fundyfilm.ca has been evolving under Ned’s creative care and it took on another new face with universal standards during this year, including measures which enhance use for the visually impaired. Ned has also been doing all the site content since last spring, a great relief since I used to do it and I am web site challenged.
In an effort to fulfill our mandate the Society employs a diversity of methods. This past year we again:
- supported area arts groups (Atlantic Theatre Festival benefited with a 6-Pack for their auction)
- arranged screenings for local groups (The Rotary Club, Acadia University, a Wolfville School class reunion, Smoke Free Kings and Wolfville Newcomers Club were served)
- brought new opportunities to wider audiences
- In October, we coordinated two screenings for the NFB’s Valley Premier of Jason Young’s Animals. A very positive experience, we owe a special thanks to Marke Slipp for the role he played in facilitating this event and look forward to future partnerships with the NFB;
- in the early spring we subsidized Atlantic Film Festival’s Festival in a Van programme of shorts for local school children (very well received) and coordinated a screening of Atlantic Shorts for adults that evening both at the Al Whittle Theatre and boding well for future AFF-FFS events;
- and for two of the three summer months, we partnered with Ross Creek Centre for the Arts to bring in films to the Al Whittle Theatre with themes that complimented their summer programme. The Board will be evaluating our approach to next summer’s screenings in the spring.
- cooperated with community institutions
- MacDonald Museum: We contributed to an exhibit of Valley cinema history.
- Acadia University (AU): AU students James Nowlan and Cindy Tao were the first to join the FFS Board (2005 — 2006). (This fall, Azura Goodman has kindly agreed to be our AU Campus Liaison and may be enticed to join the board also.) We established a permanent FFS info board in the BAC lobby last Autumn; with some success, AU students came to films when we contacted department heads and profs about films that complimented their courses (we’re hoping to build on this); with the Acadia Students’ Union’s (ASU) OK, we got info into frosh packs this fall and had 6-Pack tickets and brochures at the SUB Info Desk.
- Kingstec: we worked out a barter deal with a student publication in our first official contact with Kingstec — an article about us and FFS film schedule ad for a pair of FFS tickets to offer at their fundraiser. The article’s author, Julie Harris is now taking our pr materials out there.
The Board also authorized Ned to place an FFS 6-Pack ad on Facebook to reach all area students.
To off-load volunteers during the summer, FFS hired Julie Harris to run our Box Office, do banking, file screening reports, and ship films. From our beginning the Society has discussed transferring some volunteer work over to an FFS employee. This first venture was very successful and we thank Julie.
We also had new volunteer help this past year: FFS supporters Julia Cochrane and Joe Foy each contributed their skills (editing and writing respectively) to our brochures. We are always very grateful to people who step forward to help. Penny Lake has now offered to get our materials to the Kentville Library where she works. Filmmaker Errol Williams has offered his assistance and if needed, Catherine Frazee will help facilitate with the NFB for a screening of a new film she is connected to.
Looking forward, a number of plans have been presented this year that will be bubbling away to eventual completion we hope. Highlights include:
- bringing the much discussed (and desired!) six hour Best of Youth to the Big Screen as a FFS Special Presentation with participation of local restaurants between Parts 1 & 2
- offering shorts for the Winter season;
- planning an NFB Valley Premier of Cottonland with Nance Ackerman et al as soon as it can be arranged;
- laying ground for a Fundy Film Festival featuring only Nova Scotia-connected material; and finally
- with an $865 startup fund from the freewill offering of Animals, beginning in ernest to explore means to obtain an appropriate (and costly) digital projector for the Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre — especially now that the money is in place for the Acadia Cinema building roof, due to the generosity of two shareholders who made significant share purchases recently. With requests for films on DVD or Digital Beta pouring in (a half dozen with local connections alone ) the need for a projector is decidedly indicated for the new facility.
Speaking of which, “Acadia Cinema’s Al Whittle Theatre” is now the official name of our new home, thanks to efforts of shareholder volunteers Heidi Priesnitz and Ken Shorley who orchestrated a comprehensive marketing package for ACC. It includes two distinct web sites also — alwhittletheatre.ca being the newest for the rental facility. The ACC Board requests that all renters use this name consistently in any publicity to help clarify for marketing and PR purposes. The Fundy Film Society is grateful to Heidi and Ken for their dedication and creative contribution to Acadia Cinema Coop and the theatre.
So, our future is bright indeed. I express my gratitude to each and every Board member for another year of exceptional service. To outgoing board members Judith Love, Michelle Matthews, James Nowlan and Cindy Tao, thank you for your time and contribution to the Fundy Film Society, and we hope to see you back with us in the future. We need a few more committed souls to share the load. If you know of anyone, do send them our way, will you?
Thank you, everyone.
Susan J. Hauer, still the Chair