On Tuesday, January 17, Marjan Safinia was elected as IDA's new Board President. The other officers were re-elected to their current positions: Adam Chapnick as Vice-President, Moises Velez as Secretary, and Laurie Ann Schag as Treasurer.
Marjan Safinia is an Iranian documentary filmmaker. Her feature debut, Seeds, premiered as the Opening Night Film at SilverDocs and played at over 50 international film festivals. The film was broadcast in the US, UK, New Zealand, Jamaica and across the Arab world. Her first film, But You Speak Such Good English (UK), premiered at the prestigious Sheffield International Documentary Festival and played at over 20 festivals internationally, including the Margaret Mead Documentary Festival in New York, the acclaimed “Women in Iranian Film” festival at the Barbican Centre in London and the Asia Society in New York. Marjan is one of four co-hosts of The D-Word, the premiere online community for documentary professionals and was a Filmmaking Fellow for Jehane Noujaim’s global Pangea Day. She is based in Los Angeles where she frequently consults with filmmakers and produces work through her company, The Department of Expansion.
Marjan had this to say after her election to Board President this week:
"Over the last three years the IDA has done tremendous work under the leadership of Michael Lumpkin, Eddie Schmidt and our fantastic Board of Directors. I am so honored and excited to be taking over the reins from Eddie at this juncture. IDA today is more stable, more relevant and more active than it has ever been, and we continue to build on that stability with a growing vision for the future. I am particularly proud of the work we have done around Advocacy issues over the last three years, protecting and defending the rights of filmmakers to pursue their craft across borders.
It is no small feat that the IDA continues to flourish in the most challenging economic environment, where we have seen many similar organizations close their doors. This is because the services, education and community that we provide are invaluable for the documentary filmmaking community. Together with our exceptional Board of Directors, I am looking forward to honoring the 30 years of IDA that have come before us, and strengthening our foundations for another 30 years in our future."
Also at the Board meeting this week, Eddie Schmidt ended his three-year term as President and did not run for another three-year term as a Board member. Eddie sent this statement upon his exit from IDA’s Board of Directors:
"It's been an absolute privilege to 'give back' to my fellow filmmakers while serving as Board President of IDA these last three years. I'm especially proud of the advocacy efforts we achieved and the strong and vibrant community we've built up. And I feel confident stepping away knowing that Marj Safinia, with her boundless dedication and keen eye toward documentary issues and the specifics of the international stage, will take the organization to yet another level. It should be acknowledged that neither of us could possibly be as effective in our roles without the tremendous stewardship of IDA's Executive Director Michael Lumpkin, who makes us all want to be better docu-citizens."
Also not returning for another term were Sara Hutchison and Steven Reich.