Federal cuts spell end to local film society

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

The Wanngardi Film Society has been showing classic films under the stars to the Alice Springs community for over 20 years.  This is about to end.

 

The Wanngardi Film Society has just been informed that funding for the lending service of the National Film and Sound Archive will be cut as part of the federal government’s new budget measures.

 

Film societies and communities across the country will no longer have access to this important institution.

 

This will mean the end of Wanngardi films, which is a unique community service providing people in Alice Springs the opportunity to see films they would never otherwise see.

 

Each month residents and tourists gather under the river gums and stars at Wanngardi Caravan Park on Ilparpa Road and, whether boiling or freezing, in dust or rain, they watch classic films on 16mm, on a screen attached to a mud brick shed.

 

Films like our first movie this year ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ – on which the acclaimed film ‘Blue Jasmine’ was based – will no longer be available for screening in our town.

 

We are strongly urging the government to reconsider this cut considering the amount of cultural and community damage it will do for a relatively paltry saving.

 

Roger Thompson

Secretary, Wanngardi Film Society

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Rachel Clements
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks Roger, for bringing this to our attention. The continuous funding cuts for the NFSA and other archivist orgs including AIATSIS, is dreadful and results are starting to show.
    I made a film last year that required a lot of archival material and it was disturbing to see how the cuts have affected the organisations.
    Staff are unable to work effectively and, because of the lack of resources available for content owners, many people have stopped depositing into the national archives.
    The digitisation of material by individual owners, which some claim is the answer, is only a stop gap. We need to protect the original source material to ensure that it is available for future use, as well as to be able to prove many years down the track that such material is true. I’m sorry to hear that Wanngardi is in trouble. Stupid bloody government.

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  2. Richard Bentley
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Authorised by the Commission of Audit? I wonder if the auditors understood the ripple effect of their recommendations?
    Seriously though we are going to be asked to swallow some bitter medicine. The qualifications of those prescribing this medicine is dubious and there are many who are warning that the medicine will cause more harm than the disease.
    We are all in for a wild ride over the next two years or so. It will be interesting to see what we make of it at the end. I suspect we will be joining the Wanngardi Film Society and making the judgment that pain far outweighed the benefits.

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