Annual Report 2004-2005

July 1, 2004 — June 30, 2005

What a privilege it is to stand before this annual assemblage and share with you another utterly amazing year of accomplishment in the life of the Fundy Film Society. I say amazing, in part, because in preparing for today I reread the three previous reports I’ve presented — a trip unto itself! — and in particular, from our first AGM (October 2002) two points caught my eye. As I read them I know there will be smiles on the faces here gathered. The first quote: “We are also interested in using funds in any possible renovation and reopening of the Acadia Cinema building.” Indeed!

This past year, on November 7, 2004 nearly 450 viewers flocked to Since Otar Left, the Fundy Film Society’s opening film in the renovated and reopened Acadia Cinema building. Many more gathered on Main Street to delight in the official lighting of the newly restored Acadia marquee. Between December 2002 and this historic day, the Acadia Cinema Cooperative, Ltd. (ACC) (in financial partnership with Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-operative), had spearheaded the development of a new state-of-the-art facility in the Acadia Cinema building. And as the inspiration behind the formation of ACC and the cooperative’s largest single shareholder with $30,000 of investment ($9,000 in this past year alone), the Fundy Film Society also officially took residence on this momentous day and became anchor tenant of the cooperative’s Al Whittle Theatre. How appropriate!

For it was in September, 2002 as some of us sold prepaid tickets in the old theatre’s lobby for Fundy Film’s first Autumn series, that Al Whittle, seller of Sunday matinee tickets (natch), shared with us the news that the building was still available, that the hotel deal had fallen through and said with a twinkle in his eye, “maybe we could buy it and reopen the theatre.” At that moment, the seed for ACC Ltd. was planted and we never looked back.

The Fundy Film Society and this Board can be proud of the pivotal role our organization has played and continues to play in bringing about the creation and success of this incredible facility, a pride and joy of the greater Wolfville community. As your chair, I want to impress upon those of you who will be the next Board of the Fundy Film Society the grave responsibility we carry, that a significant component of ACC’s success rests both happily and heavily upon our shoulders.

And the second quote: “We are looking into future additional series including one based in documentary film.” In this past year, we made the decision to add a new third series to our established Main and ON THE EDGE series, DOCS WITHOUT BORDERS, without a doubt, making this Autumn’s programme our most ambitious to date. Regarding success, the jury is still out and will be until the new year at least. Since having our own theatre, however, we have gradually (a conscious Board decision) expanded our programmes to serve the public and so far without too much detriment to the health of the Society. These stats from 2003 — 2004 and this past year are worth mentioning:

Films screened: AGM ‘04 — 32; AGM ‘05 — 39
Screenings: AGM ‘04 — 67; AGM ’05 — 102
Patrons: AGM ‘04 — 6,700; AGM ’05 — 8,469

We have faithfully provided our scheduled films and served our viewers well when audiences were very small (I once lived in a community where the movie theatre manager would cancel the screening if he didn’t get his minimum!) or adding an extra screening when required. And even in the January blizzard, when viewers had to snow shoe or ski to the theatre, they were not disappointed: What Remains of Us rolled. We thank Board member and theatre manager, Bob Brown, and his projection team for their cooperative spirit.

Being in our own theatre has allowed us to go beyond the Society boarders in other ways. This past year, the Fundy Film Society has cooperated as a booking agent for Acadia University and community groups who have wanted to use the Al Whittle Theatre for a film event. I make a special mention of Casablanca (in honour of Al) for ACC’s official Grand Opening of the Al Whittle Theatre later in November 2004. Of note also is the Fundy Film Society’s support, on many levels, to Wolfville Area Cinema for Kids and Youth (WACKY). In addition to film choice advice, bookings and publicity, we provided an almost $1,800 subsidy for their initial season deficit.

Reaching out has been a theme of the Fundy Film Society’s past year. For one, we are slowly penetrating the walls of the Ivory Tower in the neighbourhood and proof sits before you in the form of James Nowlan and Cindy Tao our first Acadia student volunteers (Michelle Matthews aside!) and nominated new Board members. James served on the film selection committee this summer and he and Cindy are now trained box office volunteers. They have both advised us on strategies for better placement of Fundy Film materials and other plans for reaching both students and faculty. Action is now needed but we feel more confident with their advice. With our urging, professors are scanning the FFS schedule for films that compliment their course material and sending students to our films. We also continue to be in touch with the Acadia Students’ Union vice-president Zach Dayler (now a yearlong relationship). The Fundy Film Society and the Al Whittle Theatre and ACC were featured (in part thanks to Board Member Lee Lewis’s excellent and reliable PSAs) in a full page article “Reeling and Dealing” in the Frosh Edition of the student paper, The Athenaeum and in last week’s edition “seeing a film or live event at the Al Whittle Theatre” was #2 (after hiking Blomidon and Cape Split) in a list of 21 essential Acadia experiences to do before graduation. Peter Smith graciously included our small Fundy Film / ACC promotion in the Arts Acadia Calendar and we are very thankful for that. Finally, another new and exciting Acadia connection is afoot but that will have to wait as a possible entry for next year’s report. Stay tuned!

Other important examples in this year of boarder crossings include: we are cooperating with the National Film Board of Canada in their forthcoming Valley premier this October 28 which could result in a ongoing partnership; we placed an add in the 25th anniversary catalogue of the Atlantic Film Festival (AFF) and were further able to put these handsome bookmarks in 800 delegate packs. A connection with AFF is also a future possibility. Having mentioned the bookmark, we cannot continue without thanking Steven Slipp again for both our name and our logo but also because he took our bookmark design, gave it his final touches with a moment’s notice and recommended a production facility that could meet our deadline. Thank you, Steven.

Closer to home, we initiated a special student rate for September which brought some new faces from local high schools and Acadia to our films; board member Megan Haliburton, also an employee of Light and Shadow, has a special small section in the shop of Fundy Film Society’s films and at her urging, we’ve provided a complete list (over 100) of past FFS offerings for patrons to use. Many thanks, Megan, for this initiative that keeps Fundy Film in the public eye.

This list, which Ned Zimmerman generated, is now also available on our web site under a new feature of the navigation bar — “Past Programmes”, listing all films through spring 2005, both alphabetically and chronologically. With over 35,000 hits to date (including some lost during weeks of a disabled counter), the Fundy Film Society web site continues to evolve creatively undergoing a major revision this past year. Thank you to Ned Zimmerman who initiated the site in 2002 and continues to manage it. The Fundy Film web site is a very important communication link for a large number of our patrons.

Technologically speaking, the Fundy Film Society is grateful to have access to a variety of internet calendars, list serves and web sites that help us reach people and area groups with Fundy Film information in general and about individual films in particular.

The cooperation of the media is significant as well. Again faithfully supplied with Lee Lewis’s communiqués (Thank you, Lee, for your continued valuable contribution to the Society), in particular Adam Barnett of The Grapevine, Wendy Elliott of the Advertiser, the Chronicle-Herald and the CBC (when employees are not locked out!) keep our schedule and films before the community at large. We thank them all.

The transition to the new theatre in November had its challenges and I want to thank ACC and especially the café staff of Just Us! for their cooperation which eased our situation. I also want to acknowledge ourselves — the Board — who worked so well to adapt to all the changes our new home brought. And thank you Al, for finding and painting the original ticket box we now use each week.

I am grateful to each Board member for his or her advice by e-mail, attendance at and contributions to our meetings and box office volunteering. A very special thank you goes to those Board members who have reliably taken on regular jobs over this past year: Mary Costello, Olivia Frampton, Judith Love, Lee Lewis, Ned and Bill Zimmerman.

I am also grateful for the support of our patrons who make our work worthwhile and I offer a special tribute to Al Whittle, who has been with Fundy Film from the beginning and continues to inspire us. Thank you, Al.

Finally I want to thank my family, Wil and Ned Zimmerman, who took over my duties while I was away for so long looking after my ailing parents. Knowing that the Fundy Film Society and my position and duties were in good hands made my absence easier. It was a painful year to miss but what joy we have to share today. Thank you, all.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan J. Hauer, Chair