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Breaking News: IDA Career Achievement Award To Werner Herzog

By Tom White

The International Documentary Association (IDA) will award its prestigious 2008 Career Achievement Award to legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog. Herzog will accept the honor at the organization's annual IDA Documentary Awards Ceremony, to be held December 5, 2008 at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles.

This award is given to a filmmaker who has made a major impact on the documentary genre through a long and distinguished body of work. While equally known for his narrative films, Encounters at the End of the World (see below) is the latest in a long list of enduring documentaries from Herzog, including Grizzly Man, White Diamond, My Best Fiend, Little Dieter Needs to Fly and Land of Silence and Darkness. Encounters was released earlier this year from Image/THINKFilm, to much critical and audience acclaim.

Encounters at the End of the World trailer

"With the onslaught of new technologies such as digital effects and Photo Shop, and new forms of ‘reality TV' and virtual realities in cyberspace, our sense of reality is challenged in an unprecedented way," said Herzog. "Documentary filmmaking is called upon to find new answers. In these times of re-definition, it is a particular honor for me to receive the award from the IDA."

"Werner is a true original, and we are extremely proud to recognize his vast and unique contributions to the evolving art of nonfiction film," said IDA's Interim Executive Director Eddie Schmidt.

In previous years, IDA has bestowed its Career Achievement award on documentary luminaries such as Sheila Nevins, Michael Apted, Ken Burns, Albert Maysles, Haskell Wexler and last year's recipient, Michael Moore.

During this December's awards show, five documentary feature-length films and five documentary shorts will compete for the organization's top film honors, with nominations announced later this fall. Other annual awards presented at the event include its Pioneer Award, Preservation & Scholarship Award and the new Avid Excellence In Editing Award, sponsored by the industry's editing giant.

The IDA Documentary Awards are currently in their 24th year. Additional details for the upcoming ceremony will be revealed shortly, with tickets on sale in October.

IDA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and promoting the art of documentary film and video, can be reached at (213) 534-3600 and via

Additional Coverage:
Paste Magazine 
Los Angeles Times "The Envelope"
Our interview with Werner Herzog for release of Encounters at the End of the World
All Werner Herzog information on


Grizzly Man trailer