In early 2001, a small group of film lovers (Susan Hauer, Anna Migliarisi, Joan and Gerry Parker, David Reid, Al Whittle, and Bill Zimmerman), gathered to see what could be done to build on a long history in the area of good alternative film viewing that had come to a complete halt with the the closure of the the Acadia Cinema. By meeting’s end, we took on tasks to investigate forming a registered society, look into financial considerations and contact other groups in the Maritimes for any ideas of structure and operation.
As a result of these investigations, we decided to consider becoming a member of the Toronto Film Circuit and meet with representatives coming through Nova Scotia in March, 2001. Michelle Matthews (who had joined us by this time), Susan Hauer, and David Reid met with Cam and Blair Haynes on March 9, 2001.
From the beginning, we had hoped to show our films at Acadia University, in a co-operative arrangement with the Acadia Students’ Union, the university, and our group since Al Whittle, former manager of the Acadia Cinema, had donated equipment to the ASU. We began negotiations with the university and the ASU that spring. We also intended to register our society’s name as the Acadia Cinema Society. Lee Lewis and Mary Costello also joined our little band.
After months of delay and disappointment, including having been told that Acadia University had complete control of the name Acadia, we met in December to take action and agreed to:
- Join the Film Circuit and have a series ready as early as possible in January 2002, to be viewed at Empire Cinema, New Minas;
- registered formally as the Fundy Film Society, the name Steven Slipp who designed our logo suggested;
- spend the time remaining to prepare publicity, tickets and sales for a six film series to be launched Sunday, January 20, every other week in a 120 seat theatre at Empire.
The rest is history. By the end of six weeks, we had grown from one screening at 120 to 144; then two screenings at 174; and 3 at 174. We had a website up and running and we planned a three film Spring series to end in early May.
By this time we had also set up an interim board with David Reid as treasurer, Mary Costello as secretary, and Susan Hauer and Joan Parker as chair and vice-chair respectively.
Over the summer Judith Love joined us and we planned a special screening of Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) in early September, before the Autumn Series commenced and then planned and executed a six film series based on the winter model. Michaele Kustudic also joined us.
As of our AGM, we have agreed upon a six film winter series; a four film spring series; and a three film interim series called “ON THE EDGE,” subject to negotiation with Empire Cinema. We will also be looking into future additional series including more EDGE screenings, one based in documentary film, and classics of film history.
The Fundy Film Society has also agreed to set up a bursary programme for film students. A committee has been struck to investigate and report to the Board.
We are also interested in using our funds in any possible renovation and reopening of the Acadia Cinema building.
Our future is very bright. We thank those of you who have supported us through membership in the Fundy Film Society and the series.
Susan Hauer, interim Chair, Fundy Film Society