You won’t have to hear me complain about it anymore. After several dissatisfying years as a card-carrying member, I’m now withdrawing from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television as of this July. The fact is I’m just not getting much (if any) bang for my buck. And that buck runs me $172.54 a year now. It’s too bad really, because I always wanted to be a member of some film academy, and it felt like a long hard journey to earn the privilege of voting on the jury for some major televised awards shows. But as the Academy celebrates its silver anniversary with a silver membership card, the sheen has dulled, and the colour under the chipped paint seems to be more of a shit brown shade.
You may have read about some of my grievances before, but there’s more. Here’s a few that have been added to the list (above and beyond me not getting any goddamn screeners). First, as a member, I’m supposed to get a modest discount at certain industry-related stores. Well, I’ve brought my card to the cash on a number of occasions at one of these stores in Toronto, and all I get are blank stares and cashiers telling me “we don’t accept these,” which is clearly not the case if you read the Academy’s literature. So much for making some of the annual fee back on savings.
More recently, the Famous Players theatre chain has arbitrarily decided not to accept the ACCT card anymore either. Half the attraction of being a member in the first place was seeing free movies. Now they won’t even let me in the door to see a freebie Canadian flick (which, believe me, nobody’s lining up for) let alone an Oscar contender. And since the main release venue for Canadian cinema in Montreal is (guess what) a Famous Players house, I’m locked out from seeing most of the movies I’m supposed to vote on at the end of the year. Not cool.
But they’re not even the only chain giving the Academy the finger. The Guzzo theaters never let us see anything for free, but we used to be able to get a couple of tickets anytime for the cheapie Tuesday price. Now that’s been reduced to one. So much for taking a guest out to a reasonably priced night at the movies. Too bad, because all their theatres are out in the middle of nowhere and I needed some sort of bait to con folks into driving my non-driver ass out there.
I’m a little bit sad about my short tenure as a member. Now and then, when I mentioned it, people sounded genuinely impressed. At least until I explained to them that no, this isn’t the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, so I won’t be able to vote for Johnny Depp to win an Oscar for Pirates of the Caribbean no matter how hard you petition me. But on the bright side, I’ll never again have to hold up a queue forever while some student worker phones a series of supervisors from the ticket booth, trying to find someone, anyone, who knows what my Academy card is for. It took me long enough but I, at least, have finally figured out what my card is for.