IAGA 2020 March 13th BSC Report
With an historic darkness rapidly descending on Europe the initial responsibility of the 40 delegates attending the Brussels IAGA from Societies around the World was to cancel the Imago Awards Ceremony due in three days. The cinematographers to be honoured, the guests and Sponsors of the Gala night had to be given every opportunity to abort their travel arrangements. Imago’s Awards night had been scheduled to honour amongst others, three BSC Cinematographers; following his Lifetime Achievement honours at Manaki and Camerimage Chris Menges ASC BSC, was set to receive Imago’s Award in recognition of his remarkable career. It was no surprise that Roger Deakins CBE ASC BSC had for the second year voted by his peers for the recently released 1917. For his work on Patrick Melrose 'Bad News' James Friend ASC BSC was victor in the Best Cinematography in TV Drama. The three years of Awards has each resulted in Best Cinematography in Features being voted to BSC members.
The decision to postpone the Awards Ceremony was unavoidable given the deuterating situation. A reduced ceremony may be held later this year to coincide with the election of a New President to replace Paul-Rene Roestad FNF. He will now continue until an election can be held at an extraordinary IAGA. Despite disappointment at the truncated IAGA, some important decisions were made during the one full day possible for debate. The return of founder-member the AFC was warmly welcomed. Any misgivings were soon dispelled by the sincerity of the dispositions of Gilles Porte AFC President and Eris Gautier AFC Vice-President in support of their Society re-entering the Federation. Neither had been involved in the schism of the original departure. Imago without French participation had been considerably weakened.
The BSC Board had initially urged Imago to ensure their return and under Paul-Rene Roestad success has been achieved. A new Society, the Uruguay, was welcomed and was the decision of the Colombian and Brazilian Societies to become full members.
The developing Coronavirus situation had resulted in the unavoidable absence of Kees Van-Oostrum ASC NSC, ASC President until the Summer who is one of two candidates for the position as Imago President. The ASC were nevertheless unanimously voted as new members of Imago. This made Thursday, March 13th 2020 an historic day in the Federation’s history.
The only European Society absent from Imago is the Czech ACK who are expected to vote to reapply at their Annual meeting in Prague in April. British involvement in the financial overseeing of Imago has been assured by the appointment of Roger Simonsz BSC as the New Treasurer. He unveiled a proposal for a new system of membership fees designed to be fairer to the smaller and poorer Societies. As this has yet to be properly debated, the fees remain unchanged. At the end of a disappointing day for the hosts, the SBC under their President Lou Berghmans and Louis-Philippe Capelle, whose hard work had not been in vain, delegates scrambled to rebook tickets to escape the ghost city of Brussels for a similar experience wherever their destination. It had all been a tragic but historical occasion.
Mike Eley BSC
Norwegian Solution to immediate future:
Following his return to Norway the Imago President Paul-Rene Roestad FNF has written to Societies the following message: “After important work done by the different cultural Unions and also by the Norwegian Society of Cinematographers, Norway has implemented new regulations which will secure the income of all artists, self-employed and freelancers, who will get 80% of their salary covered by the Government after 17 days quarantine, a salary which will be based on an average monthly income over the last three years. Not everyone has the same economic safety as Scandinavia, but IMAGO wishes to work with all our member Societies to make sure your Governments and Ministers are informed about the critical situation many independent authors, artists and film colleagues will be in shortly. It will be of utmost importance for national Governments to understand the need for granting special support packages to the film and culture sector in their country to secure their adequate survival in the months ahead. If this is not done in an adequate and satisfactory way, it will cause damaging and lasting negative implications for the whole film and culture sector of their countries which may take years to recover.”