The Fundy Film Society President’s Annual Report (2014–2015)
Thank you for coming! This year, the Annual Report serves two purposes: like previous reports Part #1 will address one fiscal year in the life of the Fundy Film Society (FFS), its series and volunteers; but this report will also mark, in Part #2, the official final report of the Society as we have known it since the initial AGM in 2002. Thus this report may also include some elements beyond the Society’s 2014–2015 fiscal year, into the Autumn of 2015. I want to thank, up front, S. J. Hauer who, being the Society’s unofficial archivist, wrote this double-duty report on my behalf after we outlined it together.
Part #1: Highlights of the 2014–2015 fiscal year of the Fundy Film Society
It is always interesting to begin with statistics. Thank you to Noemi Volovics for providing the following. Our number of films and screenings is up slightly as is our total audience:
• Total attendance regular Feature and Documentary screenings – 2046
• Autumn 2014: 2984 (1091 6P + 1893 GA or 36.56 vs 63.44%)
• Winter 2015: 2025 (914 6P + 1111 GA or 45.14 vs 54.86%)
• Spring/Summer 2015: 2037
• Total attendance for Special (S) screenings: 187
•Shameless Propaganda/Québékoisie 50 and 56, respectively (but one rental)
- Total number of films screened: 69
2 S -(1 F, 1-Doc)
• Total number of screenings: 100
• Totals for best attended Features:
The 100-year-old Man… 227
• Totals for best attended Docs:
The Price We Pay 90
A People Uncounted 78
Tim’s Vermeer 67
• Totals for best attended wW features:
Still Alice 135
While We’re Young 108
Big Eyes 101
Sunshine on Leith 99
Due to the increasing difficulty to obtain film confirmations for the Winter (Oscar) season, the
Society went back to the former schedule and moved April into the Spring/Summer series.
Special events/collaborations/financial contributions
In addition to Special screenings of our own, the Fundy Film Society also takes pride in working with others and even, on occasion, providing a donation to a worthy cause, after expenses. The 2014–2015 year was no exception. Fundy Film initiated a short week of celebration for the 10th Anniversary of the opening of the Al Whittle Theatre (Nov 7, 2004). The Acadia Cinema Cooperative joined in with a screening of their own and Steven Slipp provided additional PR for all screenings of this celebration. The Fundy Film Society offered a special screening of Al’s favourite film, Rebecca and also with the National Film Board of Canada’s 75th Anniversary (2014) celebration documentary Shamless Propaganda. The latter was part of the festivities in a cooperative adventure with the NFB and Laurie Dalton (Acadia University’s Art Gallery Director/Curator) who opened an Autumn exhibit “Consuming Conflict” that the film complimented. During that same week, Fundy Film engaged in another cooperative screening with filmmakers Mélanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins and Acadia University’s 2nd Annual Aboriginal Arts & Literature Mawio’mi with a second screening of Québékoisie which generated a $152 donation to the Loretta Saunders Scholarship Fund. The Society also cooperated with the ACC (Mary Harwell, Steven Slipp) the Town of Wolfville and the WBDC to present The Shortest Day, a celebration of short Canadian films in a programme (three distinct age-related screenings), offered free across the country sponsored in Canada by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Quebec’s Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC) and Telefilm Canada. Kernel Luke Sanford’s popcorn was sold. Food and monetary donations went to the Wolfville Area Food Bank. Fundy Film’s final collaboration on Nov 3 was with This Changes Everything. Fundy Film’s Bill Zimmerman and Susan Hauer cooperated with Acadia students Robin Lawson and Raymond Wieser (Environmental & Sustainability Studies) to organize a panel/audience discussion post screening. Acknowledging our presence on unceded Mi’kmaq Territory and sharing about his recently established Cinéma Politique, marke slipp introduced moderator Dr. Alan Warner, who introduced panelists Dr. Andrew Biro, Dr. Edith Callaghan, Dr. Leo Elshof, Kayla Mansbridge, Marilyn Manzer and George Philp.
The world of film and distribution is rapidly changing but in spite of all this, some pretty challenging weather on screening dates and an unexpected power loss, the Fundy Film Society managed to come out of this fiscal year in the black. Thank you to Treasurer Noemi, who also looked after the details of the cashbox and banking week-to-week. We owe a special note of gratitude to Paul Callaghan, who carried out an external examination of the Society’s finances, providing an A-OK report.
As the 15th Winter season of the Fundy Film Society loomed (Jan 2016) S. J. Hauer and Bill Zimmerman (the only remaining links to the Society’s origins still working day-to-day) made it clear that for them, this current relationship with the Fundy Film Society would be drawing to a close. The FFS Board worked diligently during this fiscal year to reach a resolution that would be presented at this AGM for a new future for the film series. For this and their patience, we thank the Board. We especially wish to acknowledge Noemi Volovics for assuming an increasingly larger role in FFS over the past few years in preparation for this moment and thank her for her passion, interest and willingness to keep the film series going as a personal undertaking and part-time business, thus allowing Bill and Susan to retire. The continuation of the film series is vital to the health of the Acadia Cinema Cooperative because FFS has been the anchor tenant since the theatre project began.
Annual thank yous
Expressing all the Thanks to ourselves and others is always a significant part of each Annual Report because as an all-volunteer society FFS could not function without the generous contribution of many and the weighty contribution of some. So. . . again thank you to our Board: Acadia Liaison Rachel Brickner, V-P S. J. Hauer, Recording Secretary Mark Tipperman, Corporate Secretary/Treasurer Noemi Volovics, President Bill Zimmerman and Honorary Board Member and faithful Sunday 4 pm volunteer, Al Whittle. Our status as a society has depended on your efforts.
Mary Costello for the final time, after many years, has scheduled Screening Box Office Volunteers who included, Lilly Bateman, Rachel Brickner, Olivia Frampton, Rebekah Friesen, Sonya Forman, Susan Hauer, Eamonn and Malachy Schwartz, Noemi Volovics, Mark Tipperman, Lorna Williams, Al Whittle and Bill Zimmerman.
Rachel Brickner, Tyler Nelson (AXE Radio) and Suzanne Gray (ASU) helped get Fundy Film announcements to the Acadia Campus and Karen Mazer distributed brochures and posters along with S.J. Hauer, Bill Zimmerman and Noemi Volovics. Nancy Saul-Demers faithfully looked after our Facebook page and Twitter accounts and did so when she was far away for many months. Trevor Dalgliesh continued to get our films shipped out with regular efficiency working with Bill Zimmerman who headed up print traffic and Mary Harwell who kept her eye on all this (once picking up a film at the postal sorting station in Halifax) and who also ingested the films weekly and kept on top of any technical problems that surfaced. We also thank theatre technicians Tony Napoli, David Reidl and Jamie Loughead who kept our screenings running smoothly.
Susan Hauer, Noemi Volovics and Bill Zimmerman teamed up on most aspects of publicity—from the website and brochures to the weekly PSAs. Fundy Film decided to stop posting weekly PSAs on Valley Events because Valley Events insisted on tampering with our entries, at times listing inappropriate and incorrect information. Since no compromise could be reached after many forms of communication, FFS decided that there was no choice but to withdraw entirely. In another publicity decision, FFS decided that in order to have the capital for the new transition, Fundy Film would no longer place a paid ad in The Grapevine. The Society had supported the publication from its earliest days and received excellent service from them over the years but this ad was the Society’s only discretionary expense and was needed elsewhere approaching transition. The Society hoped we would be able to continue to use the free “What’s Happening” section in each Grapevine. Ned Zimmerman continued as the Society’s web master (2002–2015), reliably offering upgrades and being at hand when needed.
This trio (above), along with with Mark Tipperman and Mary Constello shared responsibility for Film Selection over the year with Noemi at the helm. Film selection is vital to the life of the series requiring research, perseverance and intelligent choices for a balanced sustainable programme.
Thank you, one and all for another and this final excellent year and a half!
Part #2: Past and Future
The Fundy Film Society’s new role
If the proposed resolution passes this evening, Fundy Film will still exist but will wear a new hat. Initially the new Board will take some well deserved time off after selecting officers and submitting required paper work and the annual registration fee to Joint Stocks. From then on, the Society will no longer be responsible for the series and will be retained in a maintenance mode so that, if desired, it could respond to possible future activity including:
• consider any support needed by Noemi.
• consider support for any Special screening events that Noemi may not wish to tackle herself but might recommend;
• consider support for those who may want to create a children’s series;
• consider creating, as per the earliest Annual Reports of the Society, a History of Film series to acquaint future generations with the origins of Big Screen film.
• manage the Society’s assets
• consider any other possibilities that might arise
FFS will maintain assets (ACC shares, W.A.C.K.Y. funds in trust, cash) which could be available to support these activities.
Farewell acknowledgements – a Society overview in brief
As this stage of the Society’s life ends, it is appropriate to acknowledge in brief all those contained in the annals of the Fundy Film Society who helped make the Society and the series possible. If you are interested in these year-to-year details, you can find names and contexts in the Annual Reports posted on our website (www.fundyfilm.ca)
- Many community enterprises provided free listings for weekly screenings.
- Acadia University through ACE-FYI/ALL, the Students’ Union, AXE Radio, the Art Gallery, Dean of Arts, specific professors and students made weekly contributions over the years to help spread news of Fundy Film and its series. The Acadia Print Shop under Dan Sweeney faithfully provided excellent service.
- Ned Zimmerman got our first website up and running within days of our initial screening (January 2002) and revised it regularly over time, making it easier to use by patrons and managers. He also took responsibility for our service provider selection and registration, finding the best and the most economic. Ned was always “on call” for Fundy Film, even when he lived out-of-Province.
Collaboration has been a part of the Society’s way of doing business. We are grateful to the many
individuals and organizations, near and far, who have entered into successful and satisfying cooperative ventures with the Fundy Film Society over the series’ lifetime. (Details of all of these can be found in the Annual Reports.) In particular we salute:
- the many emerging and established filmmakers who delt with Fundy Film directly;
- the National Film Board of Canada – in particular Annette Clarke, Patsy Coughran and Kent Martin of the Atlantic Canada division and Jane Gutteridge in Toronto;
- Acadia University, especially the Acadia University Art Gallery under Laurie Dalton;
- the Town of Wolfville;
- numerous community and county groups and organisations;
- and the Acadia Cinema Cooperative (especially under Steven Slipp’s leadership and his Boards), current theatre manager Mary Harwell with technicians Tony, Dave and Jamie (mentioned previously in this report). The Society cannot close this part of the ACC collaboration section in the final series-connected Annual Report without a Tip o’ the Hat to ACC’s volunteer theatre manager Bill Zimmerman who served pro-actively and faithfully for the future of film at the Al Whittle Theatre from 2006–2010.
Another aspect of Fundy Film’s collaboration includes the financial contributions that we have made from the earliest days. Not only did Fundy Film members initiate the Acadia Cinema Cooperative and the theatre project, (and a Fundy Film member (as a volunteer) designed both the Al Whittle Theatre and Studio-Z (Bill Zimmerman)) but the Society became one of the Coop’s single largest shareholders, providing essential capital in the Coop’s critical earliest days. Further, the Fundy Film Society initiated the Digital Cinema Projector Fund with the support of marke slipp through two Special Screenings of Jason Young’s Animals, courtesy of the NFB. With the ACC then taking the lead (soliciting directed shares from community members, obtaining and federal ACOA grant and money from the Town and the Province and community businesses by 2009 the Al Whittle Theatre had the projector putting it in the position of being one of the earliest independent theatres east of Montréal to have a digital cinema projection. Funny Film also gave the ACC a no-interest loan to purchase the digital cinema server. The Society provided Wolfville Area Cinema for Kids and Youth (W.A.C.K.Y.) with their start-up funding and over the years gave many, many dollars to numerous organisations and causes—local to global— through pay-what-you Special screenings. (See past AGM reports for all details.)
Partner and volunteers
In closing we want to recognise out partner and volunteers whose associations began from day one of the Society’s history. The Fundy Film Society became a member of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Film Circuit actually in 2001. Circuit members mentored us through our first Winter (2002) heady series helping arrange screenings at the New Minas Empire Cinema where we remained until the opening of the Al Whittle Theatre with one of our films. That first 2002 series grew exponentially week to week skyrocketing this new Maritime Circuit member early on into the top 10 in audience numbers of all 180 Circuit groups in 160 centres across Canada, some with access to populations five times larger than Wolfville. We remain there today. Overall the Circuit provided FFS with a liaison between our Society and the distributors from whom we get our films. While we have had our issues and differences over the years, through the Circuit we have made many conscientious friends who have served us well. And Fundy Film has always felt positive about being a notable member and strong supporter of this organization which brings Canadian, indie and foreign films to audiences from Canada’s urban hubs to its hinterland communities—coast to coast to coast.
Finally to every single volunteer who gave time, energy and skills to the Fundy Film Society from 2001 to the present, you are remembered and you made us what we are, allowing us to fulfill our mandate with great success. This is especially so of the 14 years of Board members who advised, guided and worked on behalf of the Society throughout its day-to-day life and ongoing evolution. Thank you, to each Board member and volunteer who can all be proud of what we collectively and individually have achieved and brought to the wider Wolfville community in the name of the moving image.
S. J. Hauer (past President and unofficial Archivist) with William B. Zimmerman (President)