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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

National Film & Sound Archive - Expatriate Rick Hawthorne weighs in to support Tony Buckley regarding the next CEO Appointment

Having come across the recent article by Anthony Buckley and having read it over and over, my blood began to race. However, before I add my tuppence worth I’d like to assure fellow readers that I am not xenophobic. I have had the luxury of working overseas for 34 years; living and assimilating in another culture; quite different in many ways to mine and surviving quite well I have to say, whether it is driving to work each day, training and managing staff, sitting on the Board of Advertising and Film Industry associations or dealing with Corporations and the Political elite.

Rick Hawthorne
The article clearly points out an insidious dilemma and lack of leadership, lacklustre may be a kinder word, but the failure to appoint an Australian Director for the NFSA is unjustifiable this time around given the track record of the previous Directors. The obvious gap of eight months between appointments is a complete insult and begs the question of interest in Australia’s film culture and history that our leaders in Government should have. The dedicated NFSA staff has unfairly been holding the facility together with passion and a prayer.

It seems clearly that the interest in our film culture is shallow compared with the other visual arts, which get real budgets and International recognition. Perhaps art galleries are a better venue for champagne and hobnobbing. This selective focus on the arts is appalling.

An Australian Director with a passion for his or her craft, literate and knowledge of our film history is a far better fit,  and for which I strongly advocate. Management skills can be trained and instead of caving into budget cuts the Director should be able throw enough weight and justification towards the Minister of the Arts to garner respectable working budgets.


A properly crafted Vision and Mission Statement would see the DNA of the NFSA be set for this and future Governments to adhere to and support.

Rick Hawthorne
Business Partner
Central Digital Lab
Manila, Philippines

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