ED, July-August 2003

From the Executive Director

Necessity is the mother of invention.

We have always thought at LIFT that this proverb neatly applies to filmmakers since we always seem to encounter problems during film shoots that require some ingenious solution or we are always trying to figure out a new way of creating a visual masterpiece with the simplest of tools.

Similarly, LIFT is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the membership and technological changes that are redefining the medium and the way in which we can run the co-op.

Recently, LIFT has had to “invent” new policies to deal with a significant deficit that we incurred in 2002. Typically, not-for-profits like LIFT who experience a deficit have had to cut services and/or eliminate or cut back on staff in some way to address the crisis that a deficit creates. Often organizations that take these drastic measures can suffer for many years, even after the deficit has been addressed because they are no longer in the position to offer the same level of service or, for that matter, even expand into new areas.  A significant deficit can cripple an organization and prolong the time it takes to take years of recover.

We have decided that the best strategy to counter LIFT’s deficit will be to invest in what we do best. We have devised a business plan that will focus on a number of important areas that (hopefully) will generate additional revenue and address the needs of our membership.

1. Our workshops and film courses have growth dramatically over the past 5 years to the point that they generate the greatest amount of self-generated revenue. In order to deal with the administration and technical aspects of the workshops and courses, we have added Shenaz Baksh to the LIFT staff.  Shenaz has — in a short period of time, improved the level of service to those participating in the courses and workshops. Her expertise in filmmaking and digital picture and sound editing will have a profound effect in the quality and scope of the fall workshop and course schedule.

2. We have created an organizational membership for local not-for–profit exhibition organizations and film festivals. We now can offer these organizations a variety of new services and discounts on newsletter ads and inserts.  We have also expanded our website to include actor’s headshots and a crewlist that includes resumes. Both of these services have been successful in a short period of time.

3. As of August 1, 2003 we are introducing a new policy where accessing members pay for production and post-production rentals either in advance or at the time of their booking.  LIFT unfortunately carries a large accounts receivables that primarily consists of small debts under $100.  This policy will actually benefit of members twofold: members who pay by cash or debit will automatically receive a 10% discount on their rental; with less time dedicated to collecting outstanding bills, the staff will have more time to directly assist the membership while they are working on their film projects at LIFT.

4. We have consolidated the Salon des Refuses and the Annual Silent Auction into one grand fundraiser called Shine it On! taking place on Wednesday September 3 at Latvian Hall. This promises to be an extraordinary evening of passed over gems from the Toronto International Film festival and the best deals ever (from over 150 donors!) available in the Silent Auction. If you are planning a film project or you just want a great deal on anything from a fancy dinner to yoga lessons, there is something for you at the silent auction.

Of course, these policies and new events will never affect our primary goal at LIFT to improve film service to the membership.  We want to help you figure out the best way to make your film masterpiece.

Shine it On,

Roberto Ariganello

Executive Director