December 13, 2023

Guy Godfree csc: A look back at 2023

In 2021, the CSC undertook an unprecedented plan to transform itself to be more engaged in projects coast to coast, prioritizing outreach to communities underrepresented in the film and television industry.  In year two of a three-year plan, chair of the board, Guy Godfree csc, looks back on 2023, reflecting on the highlights and the challenges experienced by the industry and the CSC itself. 

“The past three years have been as turbulent as any we have ever experienced professionally,” says Godfree. “The pandemic in 2020 and 2021, which changed all our lives, and then the strike in 2023 created a great deal of uncertainty in the industry – and in people’s personal lives.”

Yet, Godfree says, “it is important to the CSC to not lose sight of its goals and purpose. We have so much to show so far for the hard work so many have put into the effort.”

  1.  Being able to open spaces in Vancouver and Montreal, in addition to Toronto.  “We can do this because of our partnerships with rental houses in those cities. We operate CSC Vancouver out of Keslow Camera.  CSC Montreal, just launched on Nov 3, operates out of CineGround. And CSC Toronto is based at William F. White International, where it has been for 16 years.
  2. We have been able to have a positive impact on the careers of emerging and mid-career camera artists. CSC’s Field of View Mentorship Program, now in the middle of its third cohort is creating opportunities while beginning to mitigate inequity.  While 80% of the Mentors are white men (reflecting industrywide dynamics), 66% of the Mentees are BIPOC, women or non-binary. The Future is Calling Intern Initiative put 15 BIPOC, non-binary individuals and women through a paid 12-week internship. Many of these interns are currently working in the industry. We are seeing the arc of equity bend right before our eyes.
  3. CSC has developed comprehensive curriculum in Virtual Production. Based on the work of Philip Lanyon csc, with an assist from Buckethead creators Marco Bossow and Andy Brown, the curriculum for an extensive three-day Virtual Production Masterclass, the first of its kind in North America, was created. The first Masterclass was held in Toronto in July and plans for a Vancouver class will be announced shortly. We were also able to offer—among other excellent workshops — an Exterior Night Lighting Masterclass facilitated by Jeremy Benning CSC and Brendan Steacy CSC ASC, giving members the benefit of experienced and top-flight instruction.
  4. Canadian Cinematographer was completely re-designed.  Canadian Cinematographer has, in one format or another, been the magazine of CSC for more than 50 years.  In 2022, its concept had been reworked from front to back. Its art book format is as much of a replication of cinematography as you can have in print. Response to the re-design has been generous and positive.
  5. The CSC was able to raise—and continues to raise—an unprecedented amount of revenue to support its work. With The Future is Calling Campaign raising over three million dollars in three years, the CSC, with the generous and enthusiastic help of our sponsors, funders, and supporters, has been able to realize so much of its vision.

“But” says Godfree, “as with filmmaking and storytelling there are lessons too. And some of that comes with hard decisions and more hard work.”

  1. The path to equity in the arts is long.  While we are having important successes in our initiatives, we are far from being successful. Systemic obstacles are often not obvious, and we must listen to and learn from the people who experience them. Persistence with strategies and keeping our eyes on the ‘long game’ is needed to make real change. Most importantly, creating true change means working from the ground up, and helping create entrances to the industry that are in themselves sustainable.
  2. Raising more money means you are spending more money. The CSC is fortunate to have been able to raise the funds needed to make progress on our goals. The corollary is the CSC is also spending more money than ever. This balance – in the year of the strike – was, and continues to be, a delicate one requiring much of our attention, and a few sleepless nights. Like many people in the industry, we had to temporarily lay-off much-loved employees—and ask for sacrifices from others, for which we remain both humble and grateful.
  3. Some things need to go back into the shop for retooling.  The re-designed magazine was perhaps one of the most visible changes the CSC made in the last couple of years. It is also one of the most expensive. And, right now, the print version of the magazine is undergoing a re-think to make it successful in the modern media landscape.  The digital version will continue to be offered at a date to be determined in January. The fall issue is available here.

“I want to emphasize that I don’t list these challenges to discourage other organizations from making the sometimes-disruptive change that is necessary to create transformation,” says Godfree. “One of the best things that’s come out of 2023 is the amazing partnerships we’ve been able to sustain – with industry, community, and government. We know there is power and solace in nurturing community and have found that to have held true for us in 2023.”

Please click on the CSC website for its partnership list.

“On behalf of the CSC, board, volunteers and staff, I want to wish everyone a great holiday.”