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Thursday, 20 October 2016

AFTRS Update (6) - The mysteries of legal action

TThe final question asked of AFTRS by Senator Catryna Bilyk (ALP, Tasmania) in the February 2016 Senate Estimates hearing, related to legal action taken against the institution by former staff. This was no doubt prompted by this report  in Inside Film.

In brief the story says A former AFTRS executive is suing the school and head Sandra Levy for more than $1 million over claims that she bullied and micromanaged staff. Professor Katherine Blashki has launched legal action over claims she was forced to work outside normal operating hours at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School when she was initially told her hours could be flexible because of her intellectually disabled daughter.
So the Question was put in the following terms:
In the years from 2008 to 2015 how many former staff have taken legal action or lodged claims for compensation against AFTRS following their departure from the institution?
Was ‘unfair dismissal’ the common legal term associated with each of such claims?
How many cases were settled privately?
How many cases were the subject of court proceedings?
In how many cases was a settlement made which involved a payment by AFTRS to the individuals involved?
List all such payouts individually, and what was the total sum of any such payouts? What legal fees were incurred in relation to each case?
How much money was spent on recruiting replacements for people who left AFTRS in such circumstances?
And the answers: Well nothing to see here according to the info provided to the Senate. In brief, which was the form that AFTRS reverted to on this occasion, the answers are as follows and  presumably the case referred to in Inside Film all those years ago went nowhere…… Nothing to see here.
One. No. One. Nil. Nil. Not applicable. $6389.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

AFTRS Update (5) - Industry manpower

Its back to endless statistics for the next AFTRS tranche of info. This question lodged with a Senate Estimates Committee by Senator Catryna Bilyk (ALP, Tasmania) was  I believe intended to winkle out whether AFTRS was now, unlike in the past, graduating huge numbers and whether any of them went on to work at the elite levels, or indeed any level, of the film industry. Judge for yourself.

Question: The AFTRS now graduates up to 250 students a year. Please supply statistics on the number who found(a) permanent full time employment,(b) regular part-time employment, (c) some casual employment and (d) no employment in the film and associated industries over the last five years.

If these figures are not available how does AFTRS judge that it is providing services and personnel needed to sustain the film and associated industries?

In 2015, AFTRS graduated 205 students; in 2014, 237 students.

In 2011, the Ipsos Social Research Institute was commissioned to conduct research into AFTRS screen (not radio) graduates. The report contains data based on 1658 graduates; 89 percent reported employment in the industry. It is noted that the industry operates substantially on a freelance basis which was reflected in the data obtained. The answers have been correlated as closely as possible to the questions asked:
(a) Permanent full time employment42% reported that they were currently employed wholly in their chosen field.
(b) Regular part-time employment
20% stated that they were employed part of the time in their chosen field.

18% stated that they were mainly, but not always, working in their chosen field

9% reported that they were not employed at all in their chosen field, but were working in the industry.

(c) Some casual employment and n/a.

(d) No employment in the film and associated industries over the last five years.

9% indicated not being at all employed in the industry.

AFTRS collates information against other measures against which judge the provision of services and personnel needed to sustain the film and associated industries.

International Awards Success: Four alumni have won Academy Awards for a feature film category and five alumni have been nominated for an Academy Award for a feature film category.

Editor’s Note All these are graduates from before 2003 which was the point of the question studiously ignored by whomever has prepared the answer.

Three AFTRS student films have been nominated for Academy Awards in the student film category; and one has been nominated for the Student Academy Awards. One alumna has won a BAFTA for a feature film category, and three alumni have received nominations for television and new media categories. One alumnus has won a Primetime Emmy for main title design, and nominated twice for main title design.

Editor’s Note: Actually, two of these student films made at AFTRS were nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in the Academy Awards and the third for Best Animated Short Film.

International Film Festivals: AFTRS graduates have had their work selected for screening at the world’s most prestigious international film festivals, and have also won awards at these festivals. This is an objective measure of global success. This is list of the number of AFTRS graduates that have been winners or competitors at the following international festivals:
·  Cannes Film Festival, France: 26 graduates;
·  Berlinale, Germany: 23 graduates;
·  Sundance Film Festival, USA: 25 graduates;
·  Venice International Film Festival, Italy: 10 graduates;
·  Toronto International Film Festival: 31 graduates.

Top International Film School rating: for three separate years (2012, 2014, and 2015), industry journal The Hollywood Reporter has ranked AFTRS as one of the world’s top international film schools. 

Lynden Barber proposes to present screenings for cinephiles in Randwick

Lynden Barber
Lynden Barber is now a freelance critic, a former lead film critic for The Australian and the The Sydney Morning Herald and a former Director of the Sydney Film Festival.

I've pillaged this note from Lynden's Facebook page, with his permission.

Lynden writes: I'm running this one past informally to see if anyone Sydney is interested, and if so, how many? 
I'm looking to put together a series of film and TV lectures/ screenings open to the public, to take place at Randwick mostly in November) outside of work hours (evening and/ or weekend). Haven't decided on a thematic approach or program yet, but would screen entire films or large chunks, with analysis and group discussion led by me afterwards or using freeze-frame at key points. 
The total no. of hours of a few sessions would most likely be around 12-18. I'd need to get together the class myself using my networks.
Added incentive - it would be for FREE (TAFE has come up with some funding, god bless 'em). (By comparison, a 6 week course at WEA on Woody Allen cost punters $169).
I know this is a bit vague at present, but I'm testing the waters.

This link should get you to Lynden's Facebook page where you can leave a note indicating your interest.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Update - Reviving Tim Burstall's 1983 mini-series A DESCANT FOR GOSSIPS

Kaarin Fairfax 2nd from right in A Descant for Gossips*
My campaign to retrieve Tim Burstall’s A Descant for Gossips, a mini-series made by the ABC and aired back in 1983, has made a little progress and has yielded up some information about the state of things.

The series was made, as was much back in the day, on 16mm film and videotape. This is not a good format for preservation but sometime someone decided that a significant conservation step should be taken and transferred the original material onto one inch  Master tapes. 

These are apparently held somewhere in the vaults of the National Archives of Australia, the organisation charged with holding all ABC material. 

So I've put in a formal application to take a look, a process which is reasonably simple but I am advised that it will take some little time.

Progress will be reported. 

*Info welcome on the other actors in the scene.