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April / 2009

Executive Reports from the CSC Annual General Meeting
Held Wednesday, February 11, at Technicolor, 49 Ontario Street, Toronto

The President's Opening Remarks

I call this meeting to order. Welcome to the CSC annual general meeting for 2008. First, as is customary, let us take a moment to remember colleagues who passed away during the last year. Sadly, we lost full-life member Ivan Sarossy and well-known West Coast cinematographer Rod Parkhurst, a full member.

Ivan Sarossy, who accepted the 2004 Kodak New Century Award on behalf of his son, Paul Sarossy, died in Barrie, Ont., on April 4 at the age of 81. Rod Parkhurst died November 12 in Victoria, B.C., of cancer. He was 70. Parkhurst was an award-winning camera operator and director of photography. He worked with some of the greatest film directors of the age, including Robert Altman on McCabe and Mrs. Miller and Terrence Malick on Days of Heaven. I believe he was the operator for DOP Bert Dunk on the feature Klondike Fever. Let us bow our heads for a minute of silence to honour their memories. Thank you.

Following our call for nominations of elected officers this past year, no nominations were received for the executive board, and the current executive has agreed to serve for another year. Full members Dylan Macleod and D. Gregor Hagey have joined the executive as directors ex-officio. I would like to express my thanks to all the members of the executive board for their continuing dedication and hard work. Our auditors for this year are Bob Bocking and John Hodgson.

Last year was a year of transition for the CSC. We continued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Society with the publication of a commemorative book and an accompanying DVD of iconic photos and interviews with some of the early members of the CSC. Although the CSC was conceived in 1957, it wasn't officially born until 1958. Many thanks to the many volunteers who worked on the book: Jim Mercer and John Hodgson for camera interviews; Guido Kondruss for DVD interviews and edit; Nikos Evdemon for his ongoing computer expertise and support; and to all those members and widows who contributed their photographs. Thanks also to the professional design and layout by Rob Jones and George Willis, and the writing of Don Angus, whose words and historical research complemented the photos.

George Willis and other executive officers will give their reports in a few minutes, so I will be careful not to duplicate what they have to say. It would be an untruth to claim that 2008 was without challenges, for there were plenty. The CSC News magazine went through a rough patch, but we hired the former editor-in-chief of Take One: Film & Television in Canada to edit our publication. Wyndham Wise took over for the September issue and, despite a loss of some important advertising due to the recession, the magazine is being spruced up both inside and out. Editor emeritus Don Angus has been contributing to the magazine's content and looking after the advertising accounts. We also found a new printing company at a much better rate than we had been paying, partially offsetting the downturn in ad revenue.

Treasurer Joe Sunday will take us through the detailed financial report for 2008 that you have in your meeting kit. And awards chair Bob Bocking will tell us about the 2008 CSC Awards Gala, which was another success, and a bit shorter than 2007. The 2009 CSC Awards are April 4 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. We hope to see you there.

As usual, 2008 was a good year for CSC shooters at major awards competitions. Ousama Rawi, for his work on "The Tudors," won the Gemini Award for best photography in a dramatic program or series, while Serge Desrosiers was selected for best cinematography in the humour and variety category at Prix Gémeaux. Rawi also won the CSC Award for best television series for "The Tudors."

I would like to close my remarks by thanking all the members of the executive and advisory board, our executive director Susan Saranchuk, who juggles so may responsibilities and somehow never drops any, and Nikos Evdemon, who continues to amaze with his redesign and improved functionality of the CSC website. Thanks, too, to our new editor Wyndham Wise for his innovative ideas and to Don Angus for continuing to support the magazine.

Joan Hutton csc, President, Canadian Society of Cinematographers

Vice President's Report - 2008

2008 in the film and television industry seems to have come and gone with not a lot to show for itself except for much wailing, breast-beating and gnashing of teeth. Notwithstanding the negative impact we have seen on our industry due to factors well beyond our ability to even understand, let alone control, we must use this opportunity to at least attempt to show our support and willingness to weather this (global) crisis.

We, the membership of the CSC and indeed the film industry as a whole, must try to look beyond this financial catastrophe and trust that there will be a light at the end of this long tunnel and know that it will not necessarily be "a train." Though this might sound "glib," such is not the intent. It is merely to act in a positive manner and show that we are ready, willing and able to pick up where we have been forced to leave off; that our resolve has not diminished and that we stand with light meters in hand and, when the time comes will ply our trade as never before.

If there is a positive aspect to this rather dark time it should be that we are aware of what our industry, for it really is our industry, is going through and that we must do whatever we can, even as individuals, to assist in keeping the flame alive. Things will improve and it may take a while but let's not ignore that there is still work to be done in maintaining the framework and integrity of an industry that we love to work in.

At the last CSC Awards Gala, the CSC "handed over" the reigns to the next generation of filmmakers with the hope that they will take the CSC into the next 50 years and beyond. I am extremely pleased to note and report that this has begun. We have moved along with the times and have embarked upon a course that is seeing a new wave of interest amongst CSC members and non-members alike. We have come of age but have also come into a new age, and I refer of course to Facebook.

At previous executive meetings we had spoken about the intention and wish to get with the on-line and digital age and the idea of Facebook was often discussed and bantered about. The merits were examined and found to be of a positive nature but that's where it became bogged down, and not because of anyone's fault really. And then things started to change.

During the course of the year two new members were added to the CSC executive and in tandem, taking on the roll/s of director ex-officio namely, D. Gregor Hagey and Dylan Macleod. It is thanks primarily to Dylan that we are now the proud "owners" of a Facebook page. Dylan assumed the initiative, took on the task and the net result was that within a few days we had hundreds of members signed up. Certainly a morale booster. As the Facebook page grows daily with many more new members we should welcome this new direction in the society and use the momentum to initiate new thoughts and forums for discussion. I believe that the founders of the CSC would be very proud of this new direction for it was they who gathered together, first in a very small group of like-minded individuals to "foster the art of cinematography." Let us continue their wishes and their vision.

The latest CSC Lighting Workshop took place in January 2009, and the immediate results of the Facebook connection is that some of the "students" who took part in this workshop, found the information on Facebook. We have started along a new path. Technologically, we have also come a long way since our beginnings and there is every reason not only to hold onto the established technologies but also to move forward and embrace what is new, current and look forward to all that is yet to come.

During 2008 a number of meeting were held for the CSC membership. The first of these took place in B.C. It was "An Afternoon with Dean Semler acs, asc." This event was held on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 12.30 p.m. at the Vancity Theatre, Vancouver International Film Centre. The next meeting held on September 23, 2008 at Technicolor in Toronto featured the screening of Emotional Arithmetic. Director of photography, Luc Montpellier, who was a 2008 CSC feature cinematography award nominee was present to comment on his cinematography and answer questions from the audience.

The screening of Civic Duty, held at Deluxe in Toronto on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, followed this event. Director of photography, Dylan Macleod the 2008 feature cinematography award winner presented his work and also answered questions related to this film. Feature cinematography award nominee Vic Sarin was in attendance to present his cinematographic work for Partition. The date for this event was Tuesday, November 18, 2008 and took place at Technicolor in Vancouver, B.C.

At this juncture, and while being reluctant to do so, I feel, however, that I must draw attention to something that is of major concern to the CSC. One of our mandates, which we do most willingly and look forward to, is organizing meetings with our sponsors. The main reason of course is to afford them the opportunity to showcase their products and services. Many of the recent (sponsor) evenings realized an extremely poor turnout of the membership, which was very embarrassing to us and of course a great disappointment to the sponsor involved.

We realize and understand that dates and times can result in conflicting schedules but to have (literally) two CSC members attend a sponsor meeting is cause for concern on our part. The generosity and loyalty of the sponsorship is absolutely vital to the on-going operation and indeed the future of the CSC. Without them we would probably cease to exist as an organization and I therefore appeal to all of the membership to not only acknowledge the important role that the sponsors play but also to support them wherever and whenever possible.

I trust that 2009 will see the film and television industry improve. We hold high hopes that the writers will write, that the actors will act, the producers produce and the directors direct and that the cinematographers have the opportunities to wave their meters about, and that there will be employment opportunities for all of the others who love to work in this great business. And while the politicians do their work, let us do ours.

George Willis csc, sasc, vice president

Secretary's Report

The executive board met on January 7, February 11, June 6, October 21, and December 10. Meetings were held at the CSC Clubhouse at William F. White. The minutes of all meetings may be viewed upon request. The audio recordings of the meetings are at the CSC Clubhouse at WFW, arrangements to listen to them can be made at any time. All business at CSC meetings was conducted as per Roberts Rules of Order.

Antonin Lhotsky csc, secretary

Financial Report Summary

The CSC continues to face severe financial challenges, and must address those challengers with basic understanding of the underlying national and global economies. Certainly the number of projects for our members has been greatly reduced, and their income has subsequently been reduced. Our sponsors all face greater budgetary restrictions, both to maintain their own ongoing health and to adapt to financial markets that were unimagined only a year ago. We are trying to adapt as well to this new reality, in a way that is sympathetic to our members, our sponsors, our staff, and your executive.

2007 was the CSC's 50th anniversary, and significant expenditures had been committed specifically to commemorate this momentous occasion, leading to an accumulated deficit of nearly $21,000 for the start of 2008. In 2008, the fabulous anniversary book was finally completed and distributed, with a large amount of volunteer work by George Willis and several other members of the executive; the publication added an extraordinary amount of nearly $49,000 to our net costs, even after associated revenue from advertisements in the book. Even though this was an essential projected supported by all of the executive, it is fortunate that you only turn 50 once.

One ongoing area for concern is the continued reduction in advertising revenues for the CSC News (now known as Canadian Cinematographer), down by over $10,000 this year. This drop in advertising in one publication while sponsors did spend on advertising in the anniversary book does demonstrate how different items are really intermingled. Our future plans and new spending commitments will be sensitive to the constraints on our generous sponsors, so that we do no strain our valued relationships.

As well, the CSC administration continued to purge our list of members whose dues were not being paid. We had previously anticipated the drop in real revenue (now and for the future), but a reduction in any revenue area means that overall operating costs must be reduced simultaneously. I congratulate our executive director Susan Saranchuk for guiding even the CSC executive to modify all plans and expectations to levels that can be sustained with our financial reality. Nikos Evdemon's extensive work on the CSC website has both reduced its costs and delivered a superbly attractive experience that is generating a huge number of hits. Joan Hutton's direction for changes to the CSC News have, likewise, produced a better publication and reduced its costs.

Due to all this vigilance, we managed to reduce the accumulated deficit at the end of 2008 to just over $18,000. This is still an excessive accumulated deficit and that must be addressed in everything we do. However, it is praiseworthy that it was reduced (even slightly) during this year. Finally, I normally do request a modest increase in fees for the year following each AGM, but I would like to defer such a request this year in recognition of the difficulties our members are experiencing.

Joseph Sunday phd, treasurer

Membership Report

The membership committee met twice in 2008 to review submissions of those who wished to upgrade to full membership. As usual we followed the standards laid out in our bylaws and regulations and unanimously approved the following six cinematographers, who have been granted full-member status: D. Gregor Hagey, Antonin Lhotsky, Kent Nason, Mitchell Ness, Jérôme Sabourin and Pieter Stathis.

In the interest of having a more democratic and fair process for the selecting of new full members I propose that the regulations by which the membership committee operates be changed. In order for a candidate to succeed, the decision should henceforth be based on a simple majority vote rather than a unanimous one.

In the last year there was a considerable drop in our membership numbers partially due to the annual purging of lapsed members from our database but partly due to the troubled economic times we are living in. At year-end our membership stood at 375, which is down 51 from last year, which continues a six-year trend of diminishing numbers. 68 members have either let their memberships lapse, have retired or moved on in some way; this is counterbalanced by the seven new people joining in all categories in 2008.

Thank you to those who volunteered your time to the membership committee last year. Jim Aquila, Arthur Cooper, Bert Dunk, Antonio Galloro, George Hosek, Carlos Esteves, Jim Jeffrey, Branimir Ruzic, Michael Savoie and Andrew Watt. Also thanks to the entire executive for their efforts on behalf of the membership, and a thank you especially to Susan Saranchuk for being the glue that holds it all together.

Philip Earnshaw csc, membership chair

Awards Report

The 2008 CSC Awards Night was held Saturday, March 29 at the Ballroom at the Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto. The gala event was attended by 317 members, sponsors and friends, and the evening was hosted by actor John Bourgeois.

The decisions regarding the awards were made by the awards committee, who are Robert Bocking, chair, Jim Mercer, George Hosek, John Hodgson and Susan Saranchuk. There were 147 entries. All of the finalists are listed in the printed program that is enclosed with this report. The juries were held in Toronto. The juries were co-chaired by Jim and John. All the categories were judged at the CSC Clubhouse at Wm. F. White International and Deluxe in Toronto, and Jim and John produced and edited the Awards Gala show tape. The Awards Gala takes months to organize and we are indebted to many people for their assistance. I would like to thank the following: Jim and John who donated one full week of their time to co-chair the juries, and Susan and Karen Longland who produced the Awards Gala. David Oliver of Soho, who volunteered his time to do the show reel edit. Affiliate member Ian McLaren, who was the camera operator.

In conclusion I would like to thank the CSC members for their participation in the awards. The entries they submit in this competition give us the opportunity to show off the high quality of work being produced by cinematographers in this country. The membership salutes its peers for their efforts and their results.

Robert Bocking csc, awards committee chair

Education Report

The Intermediate Lighting Workshop was held May 24 and 25, 2008, at William F. White. There were 11 participants, one from Montreal and the rest from Ontario. The workshop cost $325 for non-members and $225 for members. Ernie Kestler taught theory and did some hands-on on day one; George Willis and Ernie Kestler did hands-on with the group on day two.

The lighting workshop was made possible thanks to the generous support of: Cinequip, DSA: Design Sets Assembly, Lee Filters Canada, Rosco, Tellavision and William F White. Special thanks to: Heinz Gloss, gaffer, and George Willis. The workshop participants were: David Bradshaw, Michael Jari Davidson, Cylvan Desrouleaux, Zachery Finkelstein, Marc Fortunato, Scott Kenneth Hall, Michael Henriques, Michael Jasen, Bill Mantas, Michael Soos and Paul Telford.

The CSC Clubhouse, located at William F. White, houses an extensive collection of books, manuals, magazines and paraphernalia related to film and video production. The cataloging of all of these items is still ongoing and volunteers willing to help out would be welcomed. If you would like to arrange for a tour or if you can volunteer a few hours of your time, please contact Susan Saranchuk, George Willis or myself.

Ernie Kestler, education chair

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