For 90 years now, the Motion Picture Industry Benevolent Society (MPIBS) has provided financial and emotional support for film industry colleagues in need.
Last year naturally was a particularly hard year for many in the screen sector. The society assisted several practitioners who suffered serious trauma and financial stress caused by the NSW bushfires and COVID-19.
However, the pandemic has also hampered the MPIBS’s fundraising efforts and has seen donations – on which its work is entirely dependent – decline.
At present the MPIBS has 25 ongoing beneficiaries. Financial assistance is provided according to individual needs and may include myriad things such as regular monthly assistance; quarterly gas, electricity, and phone subsidies; contributions to special hospital treatments; private health fund payments; pharmaceutical expenses; emergency computer upgrades; urgent house and car repairs; Cabcharge vouchers; Vital Call accounts and, in some cases, funeral expenses.
MPIBS chairman Murray Forrest tells IF the society has been well looked after over the years by colleagues across exhibition, distribution and production. However, in the last 12 months, many donors have been struggling themselves. Unless things turn around the society will need to dip into limited reserves in order to continue to provide support.
“Our income has been substantially reduced, which obviously will have a bearing in the long run – if this continues in this way – on our ability to look after the beneficiaries,” Forrest says.
The MPIBS was formed in 1931, the brainchild of a group of film industry distributors and publicists, known as ‘The 47 Club’, and a group of exhibitors known as the General Managers Club. The idea was that the society assist industry practitioners, past or present, from cinema exhibition or film distribution in NSW who were experiencing hardship.
In 2003, that remit was expanded to include colleagues from film production and post-production, based anywhere in Australia.
The MPIBS is run by a council of 14 members, eight men and six women, who work across distribution, exhibition, production and post-production. All assessments of need are made in strict confidence.
How to apply for assistance:
Current or retired film industry practitioners experiencing hardship or genuine need can apply to the MPIBS for financial assistance by contacting the chairman of investigation and relief, Tom Jeffrey, on 0404 260 274.
How to donate:
- Direct Deposit to MPIBS ANZ Bank Account: BSB: 012-010 / Account Number: 8643764.
- To donate via cheque/money order, please make payable to Motion Picture Industry Benevolent Society (no abbreviations) and send to:
Ross Barnard, secretary/treasurer, MPIBS
7 Keir Avenue
Hurlstone Park NSW 219
- All donors receive receipts from the MPIBS
- All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible