End of an era: FAMM winds up after 60+ years.

I have discovered today that the Federation of Australian Movie Makers (FAMM) has decided to wind up after some 60 odd years.

According to the President, Ron Farquharson,  in the organization’s monthly newsletter,  he says “This has been the result of sharply declining membership, some clubs closing down, the advanced age of many members, the impracticality of holding future Conventions, the inability to secure a new Music License and the expense to some members who have to carry the burden of attending AGM’s, which are mandatory with the inflexible, but necessary Limited by Guarantee company structure that FAMM Ltd has been operating under for some years.”

He also finished off by suggesting, “I feel that FAMM Ltd has outlived its usefulness to members and the windup was inevitable.”

Whilst I cannot say I am surprised at this, I personally feel nothing could be further from the truth. To make movies these days with the current technologies, along with the associated costs drops, is easier than it has never been easier, and many more people are doing it. This flies in concert with the ease with which people can now communicate – even over large distances.

(In fact, this could be done in the 1980s. The sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, Odyssey 2, was create with Arthur C Clarke keeping in constant communication with the director, Peter Hyams, by 2400 baud modem and email!)

Frankly, FAMM did not – or would not – keep up with the times, instead living in the memories of tape, razor blades and ancient Casablanca editing systems.

A look at the number of people in Australia alone in video / film making Facebook groups tells a far different story. FAMM hadn’t outlived its usefulness; it had simply not moved on it appears to me.

Just reading an article in the FAMM newsletter (where the announcement was made), from one Ned Cordery who is based in south west Utah, the US. He describes the demise of the old fashioned “video club” in his country but finishes the piece with “This is a brave new world; these are exciting times and we need to adapt, but amateur (non-commercial) film making has never been more active or productive; let creativity reign!”.

He also says how the amateur filmmaking industry in his area is booming. “The film makers here are not interested in structured organizations with chairs; treasurers; secretaries; etc. the traditional hierarchical system which is the basis of traditional clubs and organizations. Projects are announced on social media and actors and crew recruited for the production and then dissolved when completed”

This is where FAMM fell over I think. It simply didn’t realise this new paradigm was now in place.

 The entire article is at http://www.famm.org.au/39%20AFV%20Autumn%202018.pdf if anyone is interested on page 8.

In the early days of Australian Videocamera magazine (some 10 years back), we purposely sought out FAMM Clubs to get info off them such as newsletters, advice of competitions, copies of articles and the like. We placed lists of clubs in the magazine with contact information and dates and locations of meetings and even offered to attend meetings and show off new cameras and other gadgets we had received for review.

The response was an overwhelming silence. The feeling I got was the majority of members were quite happy to sit around and recall the glory days of film, chemicals and razor blades rather than embrace new technologies and actually use them.

So, we gave up.

In contrast, we now post reviews, tutorials, case studies, interviews and more to our own website and associated Facebook groups which have an interest in movie making – exactly the same aims as FAMM aspired to – and reach 45,000 people on a daily basis.

So yes, it is a brave new world. It’s just that it appears FAMM never kept up with it.

At this successor to Australian Videocamera, I am still happy to help promote individual clubs who are still running despite FAMM’s imminent closure. You just have to get in touch with me.

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