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ACS South Australian Branch


 December 2019


2019 Annual SA branch Christmas Drinks
Hotel Mumbai screening & Q&A wrap up

Profile Tom Smeets

From the Pres
Welcome to our December Newsletter, the end of the year is fast approaching and so are our 2019 Christmas Drinks.  I do hope you can make it if you are a financial ACS member - if you are book your spot via the link further down the newsletter.

If I don't catch you at the Xmas drinks may I take this opportunity to thank you for being actively involved in our branch and may you have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and I hope we'll see you at some of our events in 2020. 

Please remember the success of the branch rests on its members. Cheers, here's to a great New Year!

I spotted the sign above at ACS HQ recently, interesting message really.

Congratulations go to one of our really shocked SA Vice President's, Mark Evans, he was awarded the prestigious Silver Watering Can at the recent AADC awards held at the National Wine Centre here in Adelaide. Thoroughly deserved Mark, it was great to see you recognised in this way!

Here's a picture of a proud Mark flanked by his two tall sons, Jack and Harry, or maybe Mark's standing in a trench!

Also congratulations got to our own Jack Davies. Based on the 2019 ACS National Awards results our 4 entries from those awards into the relevant IMAGO Awards categories will include: Student - LANGUAGE - Jack Davis (SA), Feature - SONG LANG - Bob Nguyen ACS (Victoria), TV Drama - VICTORIA - Denson Baker ACS NZCS (WA), Emerging Cinematographer - TBC. We wish Jack and the other Australian cinematographers all the best in this huge competition.

The ARRI Mini LF demo held at Gold ACS sponsor Picture Hire on Monday night November 4 was really great. Sean Dooley from ARRI Australia gave in depth and very good presentation. We had about 26 attending with over 80% being from our branch, great to see so many members including some newbies learning for the experts.
SA Branch Annual Christmas Drinks

Ho, Ho, Ho, our annual SA Christmas drinks are on once again on Monday 9 December 2019 at 6:00pm!

Come and help us celebrate another great cinematographic year by joining us for Christmas drinks at The Colonist Hotel.

FREE but open to financial ACS Members only! Please note: Booking required - no booking; no entry into door prizes!

Door Prizes may include a free annual ACS SA membership, a free entry into the 2020 SA & WA Awards, a dinner voucher for $100, 2 Hotel Mumbai BluRays, an ACS merch pack and a FujiFilm XXL sleeveless Musto sailing jacket (sorry no size swap on this one so you may have to put on weight over Chrissie!).

Where: The Colonist Hotel 44 The Parade, Norwood, SA 5067
When: Monday December 9 at 6pm.
Food: Finger food provided
Drinks: Yep!
Price: Free but only for ACS members!
Booking: essential via this link!

Hotel Mumbai screening & Q&A wrap up
What a great session, 37 attended and there were lots of great questions and answers all washed down with a drink and some pizza provided by the SA branch of the ACS.  Many thanks go out to DoP Nick Matthews ACS for taking the time out on his short trip back to Adelaide to present this event.

Thanks very much to RSP & Alex Meddick for allowing us to use the theatre once again, this time for our Hotel Mumbai Screening & Q&A.

It was a pleasure to finally present Nick personally with his gold Award and the 2019 Milton Ingerson Award for the Best Entry since he now resides overseas. Since the excess baggage is quite $xy it will reside at Kojo until our awards next year, they did most of the Visual Effects and the grade (another great job Marty!).
South Australian Film & TV Guilds Christmas Catch Up

It’s time to celebrate all the great things we do here in South Australia...together. 

On behalf of the ASE (Australian Screen Editors) and VES (Visual Effects Society) please join in for a casual end of year Christmas catch up. Post past, grab a drink and share a conversation with a diverse range of industry colleagues. Entry is free with drinks and food available for purchase.

Venue: Roxie’s Garden Bar & Eatery, 188 Grenfell St., Adelaide

Date: Thursday 19th December

Time: 6pm onwards

RSVP: Via this link

Submissions Open for GCFF

Submissions are now open for the Gold Coast Film Festival 2020! GCFF are calling for entries from feature films, short films, web series and feature scripts with $20,000+ in cash and prizes up for grabs for filmmakers! Find out more at

Prizes include:

Feature films – PKF Best Australian Film Award open to all Australian features & Blackmagic Design Best Australian Indie Film Award with $4,000+ in camera equipment awarded to an independent Australian film
Short films - $8,000 in cash prizes across 7 categories at SIPFest short film festival, screened right on the sand in Surfers Paradise
Web Series – Best Australian Web Series ($500 cash) and Best International Web Series
Feature film scripts - Queensland Screenwriting Award with $5,000 cash awarded to 1st place and $500 each to 2nd & 3rd. Got be in it to win it!

Tom Smeets Profile

Gidday Tom, how did you come to work in our industry?
I'd always had an interest in films but I didn't think that having a career in filmmaking was ever a viable option. So after high school I decided to study marine biology, although I took an elective in screen studies and it quickly became my favourite subject. I swiftly dropped out of marine biology... and then I enrolled in... nursing?! Which I completed, and spent four years working in hospitals in Adelaide and Melbourne. 

Tom finishes off the day in style after a day of filming recipes in the Northern Territory.

All the while, I still held a strong desire to work in film. Alongside nursing I was playing in bands and involved in the music scene, so I became exposed to the process of making music videos. It solidified my interest in filmmaking and inspired me to return to school to study. I enrolled in the Swinburne (Melbourne) Film and TV course, and graduated with an advanced diploma. I won a directing award at school but was always most at home on the camera. I was also lucky enough to travel to India to make a documentary in Mumbai during this time. Once I graduated, I was fortunate to land a job straight away editing a cooking show for a small company in Melbourne. This led to camera work where I shot two 90-episode series of a cooking show for Network Ten, and travelled to the US, Fiji, Thailand and Indonesia shooting a travel show. I was also shooting music videos 'for fun' - highlights included Gang of Youths, Brendan Maclean and Odette.

Tom at the monitor on a music video setup for Okenyo

What has been your most interesting or challenging project so far?
Camera op'ing on the cooking show for two seasons was a tremendously enjoyable slog and one that ingrained a lot of my skills. I was the sole operator on the show and managed two cameras (a Sony F55 and Sony FS7) whilst also managing the lighting and audio for the two (sometimes three!) hosts. We would shoot 8am - 4pm, Monday - Friday, for a few months, filming something like 250 recipes in that time.
Similarly, traveling overseas with the lifestyle program was also a challenging but super rewarding experience. Our crew was very small and consisted of a producer, a host and myself. I remember filming at the most popular pad thai restaurant in Bangkok, Thipsamai - it was close to 40', incredibly humid and busy. We'd finished our pieces to camera so the host and producer were trying out some of the food while I was off getting some b roll. My hand slipped while adjusting the tripod and I crushed my finger in one of the legs. It was so painful and with the combination of the heat, smells and sound I thought I was going to faint, so I laid myself down on the ground. The producer came over to find me under the tripod and thought I was trying to get a quick nap in before our location move! Not long after my fingernail fell off, so that showed them.
Tom where do you think your future lies?
 I moved back to Adelaide from Melbourne in 2017 and am currently working at Floodlight Media as a camera operator and editor. This role takes me all over Australia, often working on renewable energy projects.

I'm really interested in expanding my skills in drama, and last year was lucky enough to shoot my first two short films as cinematographer for Tamara Hardman (They Sleep Inside Your Head) and Morgan Wright (Full Stop). So in a dream world, I'd be working on feature films or narrative TV.


Tom filming Full Stop with 1st AC James Wire

Proudest moment?
Definitely during the short film work I did last year - they were new experiences for me in which I learnt a lot. I was really welcomed into the Adelaide filmmaking community, which I hadn't previously been a part of as I had studied in Melbourne, and it was great to build connections with so many people who were really passionate and experienced (compared to me!) I was proud to be a part of a community that was so supportive, knowledgeable and friendly. 
What is your favourite film?
I can't narrow it down to just one but there are three films that have always stuck with me: Beau Travail (1999), Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Night of the Hunter (1955). The experiences of seeing these films for the first time were so powerful for me, I haven't gone back to watch them again. The best film I've seen recently is Parasite (2019). 
Has anyone had an influence on your career?
Sherwin Akbarzadeh was a tutor at my school and gave me a lot of early extra-curricular opportunities, which I was very grateful for. We worked on an early Troye Sivan music video, spots for Nike and even a feature film. Sherwin's work is so strong and it was great to be around someone working at that level - nothing beats learning from experience.
What's something people don't know about you?
I'm colour-blind - which can make grading tricky sometimes, and is something I'm a bit self-conscious about. I also played Big Day Out and Laneway Festival as a drummer with my bands.
What's next?
I've got projects with both Tamara Hardman and Morgan Wright in the works, and I'm looking forward to shooting more high-end commercial work for Floodlight in the future.

Tom shooting a TVC for Floodlight Media on TrackShots tracking trailer. 

Thanks Tom, great you made the move back to SA and congratulations on recently being a 'finalist in the Craft in Film Cinematography (Campaign) category' at the AADC awards.

ACS Facebook Group

We've started a Facebook Group where all current financial ACS members can join. Members can post their work, connect across states, link to events, ask for advice, and put up equipment for sale etc. here. To join, simply follow the link below and request to join, and one of your local committee members will approve your request.

Click to go to ACS Members Facebook Group page

Some Upcoming Dates

December 2 Committee Meeting
December 9 SA Branch annual Christmas Drinks
December 12 SAFC SA Screen Industry End of Year Celebration @ SAFC

December 19 SA Guilds 1st Xmas Drinks

February 3 Committee Meeting
March 2 Committee Meeting
April 6 Committee Meeting
May 4 Committee Meeting
May 15 National AGM in Canberra
May 16 National Awards for Cinematography in Canberra plus Meet the Nominees
May 17 Post Awards Brunch
May 31 Invoice membership renewals
June 1 Committee Meeting
June 30 Membership fees due
July 6 Committee Meeting
August 1 to August 21 State Awards entry window
August 10 SA AGM
September 1 to Sept 30 Accreditation Applications window
September 7 Committee Meeting
October 5 Committee Meeting
October 9 & 7 Accreditation Assessments @ ACS HQ
October 10 National  AGM @ HQ

October 31 40th Annual SA & WA ACS Awards for Cinematography

South Australia Major Sponsor
South Australian Film Corporation logo

South Australia Gold Sponsors
AADC logo        AMPCO Studios logo        Kojo logo        Pro AV Solutions logo

South Australia Silver Sponsors
Anifex logo        Digital Pigeon logo        Media Resource Centre logo        Picture Hire Australia logo

South Australia Bronze Sponsors
Adelaide Town Hall logo        Best FX logo        Cameraquip logo        Websters logo

National Major Sponsor
FujiFilm logo

National Platinum Sponsors
Atomos logo        Black Magic Design logo        Canon logo        LaCie logo        Panasonic logo
Panavision logo        Silver Track Digital logo        Sony logo

National Gold Sponsors
AFTRS logo        Arri Australia logo        C R Kennedy & Company PTY LTD logo        Gear Head logo        Kayell Australia logo
Leitz Cine Wetzlar logo        Lemac logo        Showreel Finder logo        Sun Studios logo        The Post Lounge logo
Well Above logo

National ACS CineKids Sponsor
Videocraft logo

National Silver Sponsors
Miller Australia logo        Rosco logo        Rotor Head logo        VA logo

National Bronze Sponsors
Blonde Robot logo        Camerahire logo        Dragon Image logo        EE Group logo        Kino Flo logo
RED logo        Sura logo        Vimo Cine logo

National Supporters
AACTA logo        Black Bishop logo        MPIBS logo        NFSA logo        Stage & Screen logo
The Production Book logo

South Australian Branch
Australian Cinematographers Society
PO Box 212, KENT TOWN, SA 5071

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