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SCCA 2001 Annual Convention

October 26th, 27th, and 28th

    Your Executive is always trying to do something different in an attempt to attract a larger turnout to our conventions. In recent years we have had big conventions in hotels, less expensive conventions in universities and art galleries, and really cheap regional meetings in big and small halls. We have had a wide variety of guest speakers, including an IMAX pioneer, the inventor of the WESCAM, an Academy Award winner, and too many others to mention here. We have also offered optional trips to a Special Effects Studio, a pioneering television studio, a foley theatre, 3D IMAX, and a tour with the president of Immersion Studios, whose latest interactive production Vital Space at the Smithsonian Institution is wowing Washington.

    Well, this year, we’re doing it again – "it" being "Something entirely different"! This year we will completely eschew computers, nonlinear editing, and digital goobledegook. Our theme will be Looking Back, and we’re moving out of the big cities to the heart of "cottage country", where we will team up twice with the Barrie Film Festival, visit one of Canada’s most historic places, and trek well off the beaten path to a most remarkable home theatre/movie museum.

Orillia, Midland, Barrie, Kinmount
    We hope the autumn leaves are at their peak because we’ll be spending a lot of time among them! Our home base will be Orillia, pop. 27,800, the home of Stephen Leacock and the Mariposa Festival, nestled on the shores of Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching, and centrally situated between our three areas of operation, Barrie, Midland and Kinmount. Here we have found a lovely hotel at bargain prices (just after the end of the tourist season).

Ouendat Village    Those who arrive at the hotel early enough (1:00 PM., Friday, October 26th) can join us for a car trip to Midland and go back 500 years on a guided tour of the Huron/Ouendat Village (Canada’s first recreated Native Village), and the Huronia Museum, with artifacts dating back 10,000 years.
Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons    We’ll then tour nearby Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons, where the history of Ontario began (right across from the famous Martyrs’ Shrine which we will see but won’t be able to enter because it will be closed for the season).
For those who don’t know the history, the Sainte-Marie web site describes it succinctly. "Sainte-Marie among the Hurons is an internationally significant historic site and a must-see national treasure! Sainte-Marie was the 17th century fortress and headquarters for the French Jesuit mission to the Huron nation and was Ontario's first European community.
    In 1639 the Jesuits, along with lay workers, began construction of this palisaded community Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons that would include barracks, a church, workshops, residences, and a sheltered area for Native visitors. Sainte-Marie Among the HuronsBy 1648, Sainte-Marie was a wilderness home to 66 Frenchmen, representing one-fifth of the entire population of New France. Sainte-Marie's history culminated in 1649 when a dramatic turn of events forced the community to abandon and burn their home of 10 years. After extensive archaeological and historical research, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons now stands recreated on the original site where its compelling story is brought to life once again."

    And you’ll kick yourself if you don’t bring your camcorder along on this trip!

Champlain, Couchiching Beach Park, OrilliaCasino Rama Sign    Those who can’t arrive in Orillia early enough to join us in Midland can while away the afternoon touring Orillia on their own. Among the sites: Stephen Leacock’s summer home and the magnificent bronze statue, one of the finest on the continent (in Couchiching Beach Park) of Samuel de Champlain, the first European to explore this region. Or, some may prefer to go directly to Casino Rama (not Las Vegas, but trying hard) just around the lake (Couchiching) on the Rama Reservation, to try their luck and wait for the rest of us who will all meet there for supper at 5:00 PM.

    After supper at the Casino we’ll move on to Barrie, where we will join the Film Festival for the 7:00 PM screening at the downtown theatre. Following the film (which hasn’t yet been chosen) we will join everyone at a Barrie restaurant for the Festival Opening Gala (read party with food!). Eventually, we’ll return to our beds in Orillia, so we can get an early start Saturday morning.

    At 9:00 AM. Saturday, October 27th, we start out on an hour’s drive east to Kinmount, on highway #49, north of Bobcageon but nearer to, and south of, Minden. "If the mountain won’t come to Mohamad …"

    Admittedly, Kinmount seems like an unlikely destination for a convention of video makers, but the village is the site of a home theatre to beat them all, and a wonderful collection of motion picture equipment, all on display in the home of the owner, Keith Stata!

Keith Stata    Quoting from Minden and Area ’98: "Highlands Cinemas, a five-theatre miniplex and museum at the west-end of tiny Kinmount (pop. 300), is the product of 19 years of ‘impoverished dedication,’ according to Stata. It all began in 1975 when he was building a home, ‘just up the hill from where I was born’. While laying out the plans for bathrooms, bedrooms, etc, he saved some room for a small 50-seat theatre. Now, there are those (save for Industry-types and the very wealthy) who would deem an in-home, 50-seat theatre as a little frivolous. For Stata, it was a natural extension of both his love for the movies and his skills as a contractor; a place to watch movies with friends...lots of them. Today, Stata's hobby has paid off. One of FIVE Highland Cinemas!    The one-time contractor/gift seller draws upwards of 40,000 movie fans a year to his home/miniplex/ museum at the top of a steep gravel hill just inside the Kinmount village limits. Viewer demand has forced Stata to continually expand his operation since the cinema took off in the mid-1980s, growing from one to two to five theatres within a decade. "We were sending so many people away some nights that I just had to grow to accommodate everyone," he says. "When I built that first theatre, I had never envisioned that it would end up like this. Highlands Cinemas is a fluke has no business thriving in a village so small."

    Stata has something of a history when it comes to the movies. He began entertaining the masses at the age of six when he set up a small Super-8 theatre in the family woodshed in Kinmount. "I'd charge all the village kids two cents a head to watch whatever movies I had," he said."

    We will let Keith finish his fascinating story himself, and take us on a personal guided tour of his collection. Every single item has a story which he remembers well, and some have several stories because Keith has lovingly assembled them from parts he has found all over North America.

    For several reasons, (our nostalgia theme, our limited time due to the hour trip to and from Kinmount and the desire to avoid travelling unfamiliar roads at night, and the distance between Kinmount and the places where experts usually congregate), we have decided against adding industry speakers to the program, and for a tight restriction on discussion of highly technical matters. The one exception will be a lecture or demonstration, by SCCA members, on methods, tips, and tricks to improve your film to video transfers.

    The rest of the program will include, of course, the Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers, a screening of some of the best of the old CIAFF films in the SCCA Film Library, and our only video program, the presentation of the winning videos from the Annual SCCA Film and Video Contest, and the awards to the makers.

    On Sunday morning (11:00 AM.) October 28th, we will attend the Directors’ Brunch organized by the Barrie Film Festival, at the brand new MacLaren Arts Centre in downtown Barrie.Almost ready MacLaren Art Centre, 37 Mulcaster St., Barrie

Mark Starowicz, Producer of Canada, A Peoples' History    After the brunch there will be a presentation by Mark Starowicz and Michael Sweeney CSC. Mark Starowicz was the Producer of, and driving force behind, the brilliant history series "Canada, A People’s History", co-produced by the CBC and Radio-Canada. Michael Sweeney was the Director of Cinematography for this remarkable series, so good it often brings tears to the eyes of Canadians who appreciate on screen excellence. Together they will tell us about the making of the series, answer questions, and perhaps screen some footage.
Michael Sweeney setting up a shot on the Plains of Abraham

    At 3:30 PM., also in the new MacLaren Arts Centre, the SCCA will present a public screening of some of the winning films or videos from the 2001 CIAFF, with the hope that some of the winners who may have been unable to attend the Campbell River Gala, will be able to reach Barrie to pick up their awards. This will be the only part of the convention at which we will not be Looking Back. Rather, we’re looking ahead in hope that the organizers of the Barrie Film Festival will choose to incorporate a CIAFF Awards Show as a regular feature in their future Festivals, and an Eastern counterpart to Campbell River will develop. This CIAFF screening will take place in the Sunday afternoon instead of evening in the hope that many of you will remain in Barrie and support this part of our program. While we know that some will need stay another night, more will be able to make it home after the afternoon CIAFF program than after an evening show.

Now we must turn to the hotel and the matter of costs.

Stone Gate Inn, 437 Lacklie St., Orillia    The hotel we have chosen in Orillia is the Stone Gate Inn, an all-suites (48) hotel at 437 Laclie Street (1-877-674-5542). The Stone Gate, only a year old, has Luxury Suites (with Fireplace and Jacuzzi - $169 - $209), Executive Suites (with Sitting Room and Kitchenette - $149 - $179), and the less expensive Studio Suites - $109 - $139). We have been offered the following prices for Studio Suites: Senior Rate (50 and over) - $99.00. For any age: any night we occupy 8 – 15 rooms, - $94.00 per night. For any night we occupy 16 or more rooms - $84.00 per night. (All prices are plus tax.)

Stone Gate Inn Reception Lobby    We would be surprised, and very pleased, to have 16 rooms booked for both Friday and Saturday nights, bringing the cost down to $84.00. Realistically, we should count on $109.00 per room, $99 for seniors, with a very good chance that 8 rooms will be booked bringing the cost down to $94 per night. It would be difficult to get rooms in a large chain hotel for less in Barrie, and these rooms have a king size bed or two double beds, 5-pc bathroom, wet bar with sink, small refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and toaster, 27-inch television, iron and board, hairdryer, and bathrobes, work desk with separate data lines for easy internet access, an extensive Continental breakfast, complimentary Toronto Star delivered to your door, and Evening Turn Down Service. (Where’s the chocolate?) Oh yes, they also have a small heated indoor pool.

Heated Indoor Pool    We don’t expect Ben Andrew, who lives in Barrie, to stay at the hotel! There may be others who can make special arrangements in the area. Others might be tempted to look for a small and cheaper hotel, and we are sure that they can be found. (I’m reminded of the sign I once saw in a garage: "I have no quarrel with the man who charges less than I do. He knows better than anyone what his work is worth!") If you take this direction, you won’t be shunned, but we’d like to remind you that if your room is the one that would have dropped the price for others from $99 to $94, they’ll suffer for your gain, and pity the poor fellow under 50 who has to pay $109! Together, we’ll all do better.

    The Stone Gate will hold a block of rooms for us until September 15th and then they’ll be released to anyone else who calls for a room. If you miss the release date, there may still be a room available so try to book anyway. And please don’t forget to tell them that you are with the SCCA, so you and others may get the reduction.

    But lodging isn’t the only cost. We have kept the price structure as flexible as possible and left as much to your discretion as we can.

Casino Rama's Couchiching Court Buffet    For those arriving early enough on Friday to take the history tours there will be a cost of $12.00 for both places. In addition, there will be a $13.00 charge for the film at the Barrie Film Festival, but remember that that includes food in the evening. Supper will be at Casino Rama, at either the Couchiching Court, an All-You-Can-Eat buffet-style restaurant ($19.50 including Taxes) or the Legends Food Court (sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, etc.) where you can control how and what you order, and therefore your own bill.

    On Saturday you can get your breakfast at a local restaurant of your choice. (There is an inexpensive Hasty Tasty Diner within a five minute walk of the Stone Gate Inn.) There will be a charge for the entire day of $25.00 for the trip to Kinmount, and that will include a box lunch. We will take a supper break together at a local Chinese/Canadian restaurant in Kinmount (very little choice there), where you can control spending.

    Sunday we suggest that you postpone breakfast until the Breakfast Buffet in Barrie. The cost for all the activities at the MacLaren Art Centre (buffet, lecture, CIAFF) will be $15, but you probably won’t want to eat again until supper after the CIAFF show, where you can go anywhere in Barrie, or on the road home.

    That’s $25 Friday, $25 Saturday, and $15 Sunday, including food Friday evening, Saturday Lunch, and Sunday Morning, for a total of $65. You will see on the Registration Form that for those whose Registration for the entire package is received with payment before October 12th, there will be a $10 reduction.

    So like we did in the old days, let’s all get together in Orillia before the end of Daylight Saving Time, and you can be home for Halloween! And remember, the cut-off date for the set-aside rooms will be coming up quickly, so you better get on the horn (Toll Free 1-877-674-5542) very soon!

    You can print and mail the Convention Registration Form on this site.

    And while you're waiting to leave, return to this site regularly to keep updated with any last minute changes.