NFSA restructure still causing angst
The instigator of a petition calling on the National Film and Sound Archive to be more transparent in the restructure of the Archive and the resulting job losses is disappointed with the response from NFSA chair Gabrielle Trainor.
Former Melbourne Film Festival director Geoff Gardner says there is little in the letter he got from Trainor to suggest the issues raised in the petition are being addressed.
Signed by 140 directors, producers, writers, actors, academics and journalists, the petition called on the NFSA to release a business review carried out by CEO Michael Loebenstein and to hold a series of open forums before final decisions are made on terminations and personnel restructures.
The signatories include ACS president Ron Johanson, ADG president Ray Argall, producers Tony Buckley, Richard Brennan and Sue Milliken, actor Jack Thompson, former NFSA development manager Dominic Case, writer Frank Moorhouse, documentary makers Bob Connolly, Sharon Connolly, David Bradbury, Tom Zubrycki, Trevor Graham and Martha Ansara, and directors John Duigan, David Parker, Donald Crombie and Sophia Turkiewicz.
In April Loebenstein announced a restructuring entailing shedding jobs and reducing its touring program and the number of events at its Arc cinema in Canberra, blamed on increased operating costs as the archive continues to convert its library to digital.
The petition claims a proposal to reduce staff by more than 10% will lead to the sacking of some of the NFSA’s most experienced managers, administrators and industry-trained professionals. That's despite assurances from the CEO that there would be no forced lay-offs as the workforce is reduced from 206 to 178.
Trainor’s letter, posted on Gardner’s website Film Alert, says, “The restructure has been a very difficult time and job losses are acutely felt. We have tried to manage this with as much sensitivity… as possible, but it is always difficult for everyone- but mostly those affected and their families.
“The decisions have not been taken lightly. However we are confident the NFSA will come out as a stronger, more widely relevant organisation, better positioned to deliver our mission to collect, preserve and share Australia’s audiovisual heritage in the most meaningful way possible.”
Gardner and many of the petitioners are unconvinced. “The signatories are disappointed that there is no response to the specific issues raised in the original letter nor any reference to the fact that NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein has listed the letter for consideration when the NFSA Board meets next Monday,” he told IF.