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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, December 2001 / January 2002

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

The end of a year inspires us to reflect on events that have impacted the course of our daily lives and etched themselves indelibly into history. We reflect also on culture, on the artistic achievements that have defined the moment and that very well may stand the test of time

IDA moved its annual awards program from October to December this year to alleviate the burden of mounting two major events—DOCtober and the IDA Awards Gala/DocuFest—in the span of a couple of weeks, and allow each event its own space and identity. But it's probably more fitting for us to kick off the awards season, which hits its peak in early spring, right now, as critics across the country and around the world weigh in with their bests of the year. And so we salute the outstanding documentaries of the year, those works that exemplify the best in storytelling and innovation. We also pay tribute—as we always have—to the masters and mentors who have helped move the art form forward and reminded us of our allegiance to those who plowed the plains before us.

Jean Rouch, the 2001 Career Achievement Award winner, coined the term "cinéma verité" in honor of one of his forebears, Dziga Vertov, whose series of newsreel and actualities he dubbed Kino-Pravda, or "Film-Truth." Rouch himself would later inspire not only such documentary filmmakers as Chris Marker and Noriaki Tsuchimoto, but also such pioneers in cinematic narrative as François Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard.

The 2001 Preservation and Scholarship Award recipient, Pacific Film Archive, headed by Edith Kramer, has been a vital resource for the exhibition and study of cinema for the past 30 years. Headquartered at University of California, Berkeley, the archive includes some 7,000 titles in its collection, as well as a comprehensive research center, and sponsors daily screening exhibitions in its 234-seat theater. Bob Fisher talks to Edith Kramer about the future of preserving the past.

Finally, Robert Guenette, one of forces behind the founding of IDA 20 years ago, is honored with the first IDA Pioneer Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to the Documentary Community. Joseph Miller writes about both the impetus behind the Pioneer Award and Guenette's exemplary career in filmmaking, mentoring and community service.

Because this is the special IDA Awards issue, we have had to defer certain regularly featured columns to the next issue. However, we do include articles that look at funding from the perspectives of filmmakers and funders. Robert Bilheimer and Janine Hosking share their experiences of getting their respective films, A Closer Walk and My Khmer Heart, made, and Sarah Keenlyside talks to officers at major foundations about the media projects they support.

Finally, we wish everyone a holiday season of reflection and grace, and a new year of hope and good health.


Yours in actuality,

Thomas White