February 29, 2008

IDA 26th Annual Oscars® Reception Wrap-Up

It was 25 years ago this year that IDA staged its first public programs: Reception for the Oscars® nominees in the documentary categories, and DocuDay IDA's two longest running programs are still going strong, still giving love to the documentary community, still enveloping the hard working doc maker in her loving arms. This past Wednesday, IDA Board President Diane Estelle Vicari, Executive Director Sandra Ruch and host Sandra Tsing-Loh welcomed this year’s crop of nominated filmmakers, as a sizable throng of doc devotees gathered in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Former IDA Board member Alex Gibney was there with Taxi to the Dark Side, which had qualified for Academy Award consideration through IDA’s DocuWeek Theatrical Documentary Showcase last August. Other nominated films that were part of DocuWeek included Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine’s War/Dance, Tim Sternberg’s Salim Baba and James Longley’s Sari’s Mother. In its 11-year history, DocuWeek has helped qualify 154 films, 24 of which earned nominations, and five earned Academy Awards. That’s two Oscar nods a year! Or, better yet, an Oscar every other year! Also on hand to practice their acceptance speeches were Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega of La Corona (The Crown) , fresh from an honorable mention at Sundance. Micheli won an IDA/David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award back in 1996 for Just for the Ride; that’s the kind of career trajectory we like to see! Rounding out the nodders were 2007 IDA Career Achievement Award honoree Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara from SiCKO; Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs from No End in Sight; Richard E. Robbins from Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience; and Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth from Freeheld. The latter two films were nominated for IDA Awards last December. From the podium, Vicari and former IDA Board President Michael Donaldson talked about their latest efforts to internationalize the Fair Use movement. They met in Rome last fall and worked with Doc IT (the Italian Documentaries Association) to hammer out a Resolution on Freedom of Expression and Information in Documentaries. And following last year’s announcement that IDA had negotiated a new provision for E&O insurance to cover fair use and that Media Professional Insurance Company was the first to take the plunge, the Kansas City-based company, represented by Chairman, Leib Dodell, returned this year to be the Presenting Sponsor of the evening. Donaldson also discussed IDA’s ongoing efforts to educate legislators in our nation’s capital about the issue of Orphan Works. Finally, he let everyone know that IDA would be seeking an exemption to the Digital Media Copyright Act, which made it a crime to break the locks on a DVD even if you are seeking to copy public domain material or material that you will use pursuant to fair use. Donaldson called for stories about situations in which these locks prevented you from exercising your legal rights to material contained on a DVD. Send your stories to mcd@donaldsonhart.com.

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