At the June 11, 2013 meeting of the board of directors, WFG President Jennifer Bisch stepped down from the board mid-term due to personal commitments and Vice President Hersh Seth has now taken over as interim President.
At the meeting, Hersh Seth presented Jennifer Bisch with a token of appreciation from the organization for her five years? work on the WFG’s Executive Committee, first as Vice President and then as President. Additionally, as this transition created a vacancy in the Vice President position, the board additionally appointed Ryan Simmons to serve as interim Vice President.
During her tenure as Vice President and then President, Jennifer Bisch was able to contribute significantly to the organization towards meeting established strategic governance objectives and helping the WFG evolve a new, more adaptable and responsive organizational structure that is better able to both take advantage of and create opportunities that are in the best interest of the WFG and its mandate, now and into the future.
In the past several years, the WFG has been able to meet a number of significant achievements. Many of these achievements are outwardly visible to filmmakers, audiences and other clients of the organization, while others are less visible but no less significant.
•In the past three year period, the Winnipeg Film Group has been able to undertake a major equipment upgrade investment of over $175,000, the likes of which is unprecedented in the organization?s entire history. This upgrade to become fully HD and 4K compliant has been made possible with the important support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Winnipeg Foundation and Manitoba Lotteries through its Bingo allocations, as well as through internal contributions.
• Cinematheque is now fully DCP and 4K capable with the recent acquisition of a new Christie projector, as well as being able to now screen HDCAM and the legacy DigiBeta format for the first time. These equipment upgrades follow on the heels of a recent facility renovation scope which saw the installation of a new, environmentally-friendly air conditioning system, the development of a new box office kiosk, an accessible main entry, and a new stage to support artist talks and panel discussions, and upgrades to the sound and lighting systems, as well as building a professional grade kitchen to support special events.
• The Production Centre now has a fully centralized facility with the amalgamation of spaces that were previously split between the 3rd and 4th floors. With the purchase of a 4K camera that will be made very shortly, the Production Centre will have made the full transition into being able to support the new evolution of filmmaking with a digital classroom, digital editing suites with multiple professional-grade tape decks, and a full suite of HD and 4K cameras to select from, to complement the WFG’s traditional strength in supporting celluloid filmmaking practices.
• The Distribution Centre now has a comprehensive online catalogue available for all of its holdings and additionally has an archival vault to ensure the proper care of the works in its distribution collection. Additionally the Distribution Centre, through specific strategies, has been able to triple the amount of artist fees it distributes to filmmakers over the past six years.
• The WFG has additionally made significant strides in improving its capacity to support a diversity of filmmaking practices, including now exhibiting film performance and other expanded cinema practices at Cinematheque, and increasing participation organizationally in filmmaking from diverse communities. The organization’s Mosaic Women’s Film Project, initiated in 2008, has quickly become one of the most important incubators nationally to support the development of Aboriginal and culturally diverse independent women filmmakers. Among the filmmakers directly developed through this program include Caroline Monnet, Jody Leigh Pacey, Hagere Selam (Shimby) Zegeye-Gebrehiwot, Miriam Sainnawap and Rhayne Vermette.
For its achievements and its capacity to make meaningful interventions in the independent filmmaking milieu locally, the WFG has over the past several years been able to build upon its already significant standing pan-nationally within the sector. In its most recent assessment of the Winnipeg Film Group as an organization, the Canada Council’s peer assessment committee notes released in the summer of 2011 noted that “The Winnipeg Film Group is a significant, reputable organization providing excellent support to media artists through a multitude of services.”
As the new President of the WFG, Hersh Seth will now lead the governance development work of the board of directors, building upon its achievements over the past several years. He will guide the work of the board in meeting its stated objectives, which include increasing its capacity in the area of private fundraising to support the organization’s programming and equipment objectives, and increasing the board’s public relations role in acting as ambassadors of the organization out in the community, telling the story of the WFG and explaining why it merits support.
Winnipeg Film Group