This is the BLOG.

More than 65 guests attended the annual Cooke Evening on April 13, 2011 to mingle and discuss the state of the motion picture industry. They converged on Del Frisco’s Steak House, where the wine and beverages flowed smoother than workflow, the steaks were Jurassic in size, and the conversation was better than most seminars. The evening quickly became a moveable feast as industry leaders from around the world traded places to swap ideas with colleagues. One of the high points was when Geoffrey Chappell, Sales for Cooke Optics, made a toast and called upon the unwary and unprepared to give a short talk on the state of the industry.

Speeches were made by John Bowring ACS, Danys Bruyere, TSF ; Juan Pablo Fabres, JPF Cine; Barry Measure, Take 2 Films; Tarun Kumar, Anand Cine Service; Ernesto Musitelli, Musitelli Film And Digital; Thomas Järn, Dagsljus; Noah Weinzweig, Redgate Rentals; Denny Clairmont, Clairmont Camera; Robert Howard, CCEO Cooke Optics; Jon Fauer; Les Zellan, Chairman Of Cooke Optics; Geoffrey Chappell, Sales For Cooke Optics.

Noah’s speech:

GEOFFREY: Okay, now something very unusual. A Canadian going to China and setting up a rental business.

NOAH WEINZWEIG, Redgate Rentals, China: Two Canadians.

GEOFFREY: That sounds strange, but two Canadians going to China, learning Chinese, and taking on the Chinese! And taking them into the new phase in art and cinematography. It’s a very exciting time in China. We’ve seen enormous TV studios, film studios being built, the size I’ve never seen before anywhere in the world. I thought in India, Ramoji Film City, which is the largest film city in the world, already was quite mind boggling.

But recently, Les and I were in China and we visited the Chinese film studios, with 17 sound stages some even larger than the 007 stage at Pinewood, England. I mean, it is phenomenal. With their own freeway leading to the studios! Plus hotels. You have to see it to believe it. I’m going to call upon Noah who’s got a rental company with his partner Benjamin Graham, and who’s here this evening, to give us an overview of how they are finding business and how they’re making their way through the maze of, dare I say, red tape in China.

NOAH: I think you actually know more about China than we do. Okay, here we go. [Noah delivers short speech in Chinese]

GEOFFREY: I agree.

NOAH: Yes. [Laughter] That’s my speech.
Okay, the late Deng Xiaoping, leader of China, famously once said “Black cat, white cat, it doesn’t matter as long as it catches the mouse.” This is China’s sort of artful pragmatic approach to life and business. In rental terms, the axle [stet] goes something like this. Axiom, sorry. I don’t get to speak English that often.

It goes like this:

Red camera, gray camera, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s under $500 dollars a day and the client can return it in a thousand broken pieces with no responsibility to the client, and no legal recourse to the rental house.

So I say to you, brothers and sisters of the rental world, noble equipment manufacturers, Redgate Rentals wants you all to know that we continue to toil in the frontier land, suffer the humiliation of poverty, and expensive international shipping costs. All of this is for you. So that one day, you may inherit the glory of a 1.3 billion strong market. Godspeed and good luck. And officially, from tomorrow on, Redgate Rentals is moving to Las Vegas. [Laughter and applause]

Read the full transcript in JON FAUER’S Film & Digital Times.