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To All Member Societies

Page history last edited by David Lindsay 1 year, 2 months ago


The recommendations in the enclosed papers on the future organisation and funding of the Federation are to be considered and, if approved, adopted at a Special General Meeting of the Federation to be held at 7.00 p.m. on Saturday, 19th July, on the 3rd Floor of Book House, Boulcott Street, Wellington. Fares of delegates representing Member Societies will be subsidised. The meeting will be the most important held by the Federation since its foundation in 1945. The paper represents the unanimous views of the Working Committee which believes the Film Society movement is on the verge of an exciting breakthrough in its activities.

Reason for Urgency

If the Federation remains as it is currently organised it is virtually certain that the supply of films to Member Societies for 1976 will break down completely. The rapid growth of demand - 600 programmes are presently being supplied - has outstripped the capacity of our amateur spare-time organisation and we have already experienced some unfortunate breakdowns in the system this year. The Working Committee, therefore, wishes to see a full-time Secretary appointed by October to ensure that Societies receive their programmes next year. To this end, financial support must be obtained from outside sources and it has been made clear to us that this depends on the Federation receiving a substantially increased income from its members. We cannot afford to wait for the usual constitutional processes of next year's annual conference since the commitment to an increased capitation rate is required this year.


Two Questions

1.    Does your Society agree with the six recommendations unanimously adopted by the Working Committee? If not, you are asked to suggest practical alternatives.
2.    Is the proposed capitation system acceptable? (See page 4 of report).

Federation's Principal Task

This is to provide programmes for Member Societies. All the other things we do or would like to do are ancillary, however important
they are. The Working Committee's proposal is designed to accomplish the Federation's principal function by employing a full-time secretary. When that has been done, other things will follow and work can start on securing the resources to employ a full-time director. Not the least of the benefits flowing from this will be a stepping up of recruitment to Member Societies and this in turn will strengthen our financial base. To the extent that some of the ancillary objectives may be of greater direct benefit to the Wellington Film Society than to other Societies we will expect a further increment of support from that Society. It needs to be said, however, that the Federation is already heavily indebted in various ways to the Wellington Society which comes close to providing half the membership of all Film Societies.

The Capitation Fee

The proposed increase is substantial by comparison with the existing level. Four points should be made, however:
1.    An increase of 150% in the capitation fee does not mean an increase of anything like 150% in your Society's membership subscription.
2.    The capitation will be related more realistically to the amount of use that is made of the Federation's services. Members currently pay the same capitation whether they see nine or eighteen programmes. The proposed fee is also weighted even further, and properly in our view, in favour of small Societies.
3.    Members currently see some of the world's best film for about 30 cents a programme! Members of comparable organisations pay at least $2 and some pay a great deal more.
4.    The Working Committee looked at two levels of increase. It believes that since an increase is required anyway, it is preferable to adopt the higher level. The small difference between the levels makes an enormous difference to the amount of film that can be purchased.

What it amounts to in the end is this: up to now the heroic, skilled and unpaid work of one or two people has given Film Society members an undeservedly marvellous service. Members will no longer get such service on the cheap and must pay a realistic sum for full-time professional staff. The choice is quite stark. Your Society is asked to give careful consideration to the proposals and, if possible, send a delegate to the Special General Meeting. Funds are short (surprise!) but the maximum possible subsidy will be given towards travel costs.
If you are unable to send a delegate your Society's views should still be forwarded for consideration. Silence would be regarded as assent but is not nearly as satisfactory as an opinion clearly expressed one way or another. If you wish to have clarification of any points before the meeting in Wellington please let me know.

Harold White

Acting Chairman

18 June 1975



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