Magazine article American Cinematographer

The 114th Smpte Conference and Equipment Exhibit

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The 114th Smpte Conference and Equipment Exhibit

Article excerpt

Though a bit short on papers of interest to film people, the event presented many significant items of new equipment

Held at the Americana Hotel in New York, October 14th through 19th, the 114th SMPTE Conference and Equipment Exhibit was, for reasons not readily explainable, not as well attended as in years past, though there seemed to be a greater number of international visitors-most notably, delegations from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China.

As for the technical program-depending upon whether you were a "film person" or a "video person", it could be regarded as either a boon or a bust. For example, of the five days of papers and seminars scheduled, one day was devoted to film methods, equipment and technology, one day to laboratory practices, and three days to video methods, technology and equipment. Many of the film people present felt that they came out on the short end-especially since the film program scheduled did not live up to its previously announced billing.

To explain the latter statement: The announced topic of the morning session of the first day was "Film Production Around the World With Latest Trends in China and Russia". Whoever dreamed that up obviously hadn't previewed any of the scheduled papers. The program for that morning, as it actually came off, dealt not at all with "Film Production Around the World", nor (with the exception of one paper on a universal frame format in use at Mosfilm Studios) did it even remotely concern itself with "Latest Trends in China and Russia".

The SMPTE should not be surprised if it receives a visit from the Fair Labeling people.

The first paper on the program, tantalizingly titled "Filming in China", promised much more than it delivered. The synopsis read:

"On April 17, 1973, a Women's Friendship Delegation, the first of its kind to be officially invited, left Los Angeles for the People's Republic of China. During the next three weeks, the twelve-woman delegation selected and headed up by Shir/ey MacLaine visited cultural and educational institutions (mostly in Canton, Shanghai and Peking) and met with many Chinese people, women in particular. Four of the twelve women on the delegation formed a crew that was busy full-time filming both China and the responses of the eight other women to what they were seeing."

So far, so good-but when Camerawoman-Director Claudia Weil got up to deliver her paper- if such it could be called- she devoted the time exclusively (in the gushing tones usually reserved for reminiscences of a sorority slumber party) to describing the other girls in the safari, what great kids they were and how grand it was to get to know them all. The only thing missing was a quick background chorus of "Getting To Know You". A reference to the fact that the four-woman crew shot "thousands of feet of film" was as close as "Ms." Weil got to "Filming in China".

Next up was a paper entitled: "When an Immovable Object Meets an Irresistible Force", and it was actually a kind of panel featuring personnel of the Hardtimes Movie Company, a group composed of three young married couples and one "single", who is presumably a kind of relief pitcher. Interestingly enough, the synopsis of the paper mentioned only the four women members of the group, implying that the three phantom males were kept around to perform an occasional bit of insemination and carry the equipment.

One of the chaps, Mike Gilligan, husband of the group's Director, Sonja Gilligan, gleefully reported that he was able to develop a close rapport because he "gets to sleep with the director"-hardly an original method of developing rapport in the film industry.

The "Immovable Object" of the title presumably referred to difficulties encountered in raising money to make films, while the "Irresistible Force" was the Hardtimes Movie Company's unswerving determination to get the films made, come hell or low finances.

They made it (by promoting funds from wealthy friends and "Wall Street" corporations) and Associate Producer Julie Motz (the "single" of the group) implied in her talk that "total togetherness" was the key to it all, with the women members preferably running the show. …

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