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2008 IDA Documentary Awards Wrap-Up

"It's a great night to have a few laughs, drink a vodka mojito and talk about documentary films," said 2008 IDA Documentary Awards host Morgan Spurlock in the lobby of the Directors Guild of America building during a cocktail reception preceding the night's show.

Ira Glass, Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock on the red carpet at the IDA Awards. Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image.

Mingling among the crowd were many of the nominated filmmakers, special presenters Ann Magnuson and Adrian Grenier, and honorees such as Werner Herzog (Career Achievement Award), Stefan Forbes (Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Filmmaker Award) and Sam Pollard (Avid Excellence in Editing Award).

While David Novak, the filmmaker behind Burning The Future: Coal In America who had already won the Pare Lorentz Award said, "It's great coming to an award show when you've already got it because all of the pressure's off," others had to wait to see who would take home the Feature Documentary and Short Documentary honors.

Eddie Schmidt opens the show with a little guitar tribue to Morgan Spurlock. Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image.
The Short Doc win went to the Oscar-nominated La Corona, while Feature Doc prize ended in a tie between Waltz With Bashir and Man On Wire, both of which are already collecting ample kudos around the world, with the latter taking home the Best British Documentary from the British Independent Film Awards, Best Documentary from the National Board of Review and getting shortlisted for this year's Academy Awards.

Yet Man On Wire co-producer Maureen Ryan remained humble about her film's chances as Oscar. "I think there are a lot of great films out there this year," she said.

The show kicked off with IDA Interim Executive Director Eddie Schmidt playing guitar to introduce Spurlock, who made cracks about the economy, the struggles of doc filmmakers and even the not-so-super-sized success of his latest film Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

Danny Glover and Adrian Grenier on the red carpet at the IDA Awards. Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image.

Spurlock, who's been an IDA member since being nominated for a Pare Lorentz Award for Super Size Me in 2004, couldn't turn down the hosting gig. "I love documentary films and I'm a huge supporter of the IDA, so when Eddie called me and asked me if I would do this, how do you say no? You say no by going like this," he joked while nodding his head.

Marina Goldovskaya. Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image.
The night's sentiment shifted from humorous, to grateful to touching, especially when honorees Rob Epstein (Pioneer Award) and Marina Goldovskaya (Preservation & Scholarship Award) were on stage. Epstein reminisced about his revolutionary work with The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) and Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989), while Russian-born Goldovskaya expressed her appreciation for the U.S. as her "second motherland."

IDA first-ever Audience Award went to Chris Taylor's Food Fight, a look at American agricultural policy and food culture. "I applaud the IDA for having this type of award," Taylor said. "Winning an audience award is exactly the reaction I want. That's what I made the film for. It's a little lighter, it's meant to be entertaining."

Someone who is no stranger to winning, Ira Glass, won the Continuing Series Award for the second year in a row for radio show-turned-Showtime doc series, This American Life. "We're trying to recreate the Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan years of the Chicago Bulls," he said. "If we can do that, we feel that we've achieved all of our goals and we can stop broadcasting forever."

Ira Glass. Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image.
Of course he's kidding, but advised documentary filmmakers that no matter where you are in your career--a winner tonight or someone who just has an idea for a doc they have yet to start--there are always challenges to face when chasing your filmmaking passion. "It's every bit as hard at the age of 49 to find a good story that's good enough to tell as it was when I was 20. I wish somebody would have told me that," Glass said. "It would have been a reassuring thing to know that it's just as hard even when you're experienced as when you're beginning."

Get links to all sorts of other coverage of the 2008 IDA Documentary Awards in our Announcements and Updates section on that page.