The Annual General Meeting of the Fundy Film Society
Studio-Z, March 3, 2015 for the Sept 1, 2013–Aug 31, 2014 Fiscal Year
The President’s Annual Report (2013–2014) – The 12th!:
The Fundy Film Society had an extraordinary 12th year, regarding both excellent films in general and an unusual number of extremely memorable Special screenings:
• October 23, 2013, brought the Small World Project of Montréal to the Al Whittle Theatre (AWT) stage with their original music to accompany the 1926 silent Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Ahmed) by German director and animator, Lotte Reininger (1899–1981). This was the most monumental undertaking of the Society ever, and was it ever well worth it!
• Jason Young joined Fundy Film for his new documentary, Bad Coyote on October 29. He introduced the film and held a Q &A after the screenings. Presented in co-operation with the National Film Board of Canada, a total of 225 people attended the two screenings.
• On Wed, November 6, Jennifer Baichwal co-director of Watermarks (with photographer Edward Burtynsky) joined us to introduce the film and a Q&A after. TIFF Film Circuit’s Laura Good accompanied her. Turnout resulted in a second screening with Q & A.
• In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the formation of Nunavit (April 1, 2014), Fundy Film presented a “Nunavut Trilogy” with documentaries The Experimental Eskimos (Wed, Jan 8) and John Walker’s Arctic Defenders (Wed, Jan 15). Fundy Film also arranged the first animated feature from Québec, The Legend of Sarila (based on Inuit lore) for a children’s matinee (Sat, Jan 18). The screening was supported with WACKY funds.
• Fundy Film screened Frédéric Back: Grandeur Nature (The Nature of Frédéric Back) on April 9, what would have been the 90th birthday of the internationally renown Québec animator, artist and director who died, Dec, 2013). Three of his most famous animations were also screened (Oscar winners The Man Who Planted Trees and Crac! and Oscar nominee, The Mighty River) as an unannounced “private screening.” A very special evening, indeed!
These were the top attendance films: Philomena (342), Blue Jasmine (290) and Grand Budapest Hotel (271) for regular features (two screenings); Dallas Buyers Club (157) for single screening feature; Watermark (205) for regular documentary with two screenings and Ain’t In It for My Health (100), single screening documentary. And in all, Fundy Film presented 98 screenings of 66 films that yielded a total audience of almost 7000, a slight decline from the preceding year. The increased number of screenings were due to the new series, weird (now whimsical) Wednesdays (wW), for films too long for Sundays or more suited to a single screening. Even with multiple “blizzard Wednesdays” which seriously cut audience numbers for Documentary/wW films, FFS remained in the top ten of the Film Circuitis member groups, based on total audience numbers—exceptional given our audience population area compared to those of the other top ten. Rising expenses, however, especially increasing distributor “minimums”, along with declining audience numbers per film, continued to make a significant impact on the Society’s finances. As a result, the board at its Aug 5, meeting, finally decided to increase admissions by $1/ticket across the board beginning with the new fiscal year, Sept 1, 2014. This increase would come after maintaining original ticket prices since the Society’s initial series (Jan, 2002).
Fundy Film’s volunteers:
Though obvious that to date FFS only exists because of extraordinary volunteer contribution, the AGM report provides an opportunity to acknowledge and express gratitude for the many hands and hours that bring fine film to the AWT screen.
Board members for the AGM year included Rachel Brickner, Mary Costello, S. J. Hauer, Mark Tipperman, Noemi Volovics, Bill Zimmerman and Honorary Board Member, Al Whittle.
This year, founding Board member, past Treasurer and current President, Bill Zimmerman managed the website content and posted on valleyevents.ca. He took responsibility for tickets, brochure and poster layout and printing, and created the pre-screen slides for new series “the coming” films, encouraging viewer loyalty. He also took responsibility for the posters/date strips in the lobby stanchions and the Main Street window. Bill made all deposits in the Credit Union (New Minas) and oversaw print traffic communications, while covering film shipping when Trevor Dalgliesh was away.
Noemi Volovics (Board Corporate Secretary/Treasurer) joined Fundy Film in 2007. This year she again arranged each screening cash box and filed each box office report; payed all Society bills and did local banking while keeping the Society’s books. In addition, Noemi took on the creation/production of the popular series video montage as well as preparing trailer packages for each screening. She continued as liaison for Fundy Film to the ACC/Al Whittle Theatre manager and again assisted with PR (brochure editing and website film descriptions). She also continued to chair the Film Selection Committee which included Bill Zimmerman, Eamonn and Malachy Schwartz, Mark Tipperman, Mary Costello and Susan Hauer (past Selection Committee chair – 2002–2013).
Publicity & PR: Founding Board member and V-P Susan Hauer (Past Board Chair – 2002–2010) managed P & P, overseeing the production of all print materials, and weekly website and media postings. She also continued to book films, covered public, guest and TIFF Film Circuit relations, and helped Karen Maser with poster & brochure distribution. Board member Rachel Brickner, FFS liaison to the Acadia faculty was on sabbatical so AU Art Gallery Director Laurie Dalton filled in to place Susan’s PSAs on ACE/FYI and ALL mailing lists, while students Amanda Shea (AXE Radio), Lindsay Doucet (ASU) did the same. Felipe Grossi tried to enhance FFS profile with monthly posters distributed to AU dorms. In the end, he felt this had not done much. A sad note: Community Events of the Annapolis Valley list-serve ended in June after fourteen years of service. When a federal government ruling required all senders to get receivers’ permission, current administrator, Bruce Dienes decided to “close shop.” Fundy Film greatly appreciated this volunteer-run list serve which Heather Holm created (Mar, 2000) and thanks administrators, Heather, Jasmine Land and Bruce for their time and efforts to bring “what’s happening” news to people of the Annapolis Valley. Ned Zimmerman, who set up the original Fundy Film website as a teenager (2002), is always available for internet/web tech help and promises a complete site design overhaul when he returns to NS in 2015. His ongoing updates to the site have made work ever easier.
Founding Board member, Mary Costello resigned from the Board in August. The Society thanked and thanks Mary for the many ways in which she served Fundy Film over the years. She agreed to keep lining up volunteers for the Box Office until succession. Al Whittle remained a fixture (4 p.m. Sundays), greeting viewers while taking tickets. Olivia Frampton, Sonya Forman, Eamonn and Malachy Schwartz, Susan Hauer, Noemi Volovics, Mark Tipperman, Lorna Williams and Bill Zimmerman all served as Screening/Box Office Volunteers.
Board member, Mark Tipperman, faithfully carried out the duties of Recording Secretary taking minutes for Board and Annual General Meetings while serving on the Selection Committee and as a screening volunteer.
Nancy Saul-Demers managed FFS’s social media for yet another year, from wherever she was, keeping Fundy Film hip!
And last but never least, five years now, conscientious “roadwarrior” Trevor Dalgleish has handled film shipment with hefty doses of responsibility and good humour.
Fundy Film Society and the Acadia Cinema Cooperative / Al Whittle Theatre:
The Board discussed that the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Al Whittle Theatre would be a focus for screening celebrations the week of Nov 7, 2014. A screening of the National Film Board of Canada’s 75th Anniversary (2014) documentary Shamless Propaganda would be a part of the festivities in a cooperative adventure with the NFB and Laurie Dalton (AU Art Gallery Director/Curator) who was planning an Autumn exhibit that the film would compliment.
The Fundy Film Society is grateful for the positive relationship shared with the Acadia Cinema Cooperative (under Board Chair Steven Slipp), Al Whittle Theatre manager, Mary Harwell and her staff event managers David Reidl, Jamie Loughead and Tony Napoli.
For a dozen years, the Fundy Film Society has worked to fulfill its mandate successfully and the Society’s 12th year was certainly exemplary. Increased ticket prices should provide financial stability in the near term but a further increase may be required in the not too distant future. The next year will be a year of transition as Bill Zimmerman and Susan Hauer gradually step back from the day-to-day operations of Fundy Film and Noemi Volovics continues to assume their responsibilities under new terms of operation, to be determined. With any luck, this will be the final annual report you will have to endure from the Hauer/Zimmerman team. Thank you everyone for another great year!
William B. Zimmerman, President (2013–2014), with S. J. Hauer, FFS archivist