Following on from the previous post, Leth Maitland the Secretary of the WEA Sydney Film Society has been in touch to advise that for the smallest among us who like to get together, watch and discuss movies and who for decades have relied first on the National Library and later the National Film & Sound Archive to supply classics old and new, rarities, otherwise unavailable Australian films, experimental work and more, things are getting increasingly difficult in very practical ways.
Leth writes to show how sometimes it’s not made easy at all for enthusiasts. "The WEA Sydney Film Society wanted to screen THE 39 STEPS (Alfred Hitchcock, UK, 1935). The NFSA however cancelled the booking because they had let the rights lapse. The local art film distributor Madman has released the film locally on DVD, but said they had no non-theatrical rights. NFSA had originally directed would-be borrowers to Madman, but if not, Park Circus, the Glasgow based company which controls the world rights should be contacted. Park Circus responded very promptly and courteously, but in answer to our request to license a screening for likely to between 10 and 20 people, the answer was 250 Australian dollars payable by Paypal.
Films from European sources are even more problematic.
The exception is Goethe-Institut. It is coming to our rescue by still licensing titles worldwide but they are kind of the last in what was once a significant source of programing for film societies in Australia.
Finally, the NFSA is now not licensing Australian titles if they are "commercially available" which is a bit of a movable feast.
Leth has just sent round the WEA Sydney Film Society's fortnightly program for August to December 2015. If you would like to receive a copy by email setting out all the details and accompanied by some excellent program notes contact email@example.com