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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, January-February 2008

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

We close out our Silver Anniversary with one of our time-honored traditions: the honoring of a select few individuals and films that have helped enliven and enrich the documentary form.

Michael Moore, the 2007 Career Achievement Award winner, is the most visible figure in the documentary universe these days, and one could one argue that his considerable cachet has helped to raise the profile of documentaries in the theaters. With his Bush Era Trilogy of Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11 and SiCKO, he got the world talking--on both sides of the spectrum. He got the documentary community talking, too, generating a legion of fans and detractors alike. Michael Rose interviews Moore about his career and his achievements.

Just as Moore has helped bring attention to a number of issues, Christiane Amanpour, the Courage Under Fire Award honoree, has made a career of shedding light on volatile regions around the world, carrying on the tradition established by the likes of Edward R. Murrow, Sydney Schanberg and Oriana Fellaci. From her reports from the field to her interviews with world leaders to her long-form documentaries, Amanpour has demonstrated a bold commitment to her profession. She shares her insights about the current state of journalism with Sara Scheiron.

As the longtime executive producer of NOVA, Paula S. Apsell has helped to raise the bar and expand the territory for science programming. Documentary's own Tamara Krinsky caught up with the Pioneer Award honoree about keeping this strand of documentary fresh and fascinating.

National Geographic is the granddaddy of the science, nature and wildlife genre, with the National Geographic Society setting the tone over a century ago and such celebrated entities as National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Television carrying the banner high. Of course, when you've documented nature all these years, you have to preserve it as well--which is exactly what the archival branch of National Geographic Digital Motion has done. Bob Fisher sat down with Jocelyn Shearer, the archive's vice president of worldwide sales, for a conversation about the Preservation and Scholarship Award honoree's prodigious value as an educational resource.

Buddy Squires, the Cinematography Award recipient, has been spending much of the past year or two filming in America's parks for Ken Burns' forthcoming The National Parks, so he knows a thing or two about capturing nature in all its beauty and splendor. But his prowess with the camera goes way beyond nature; like the best cinematographers, he finds the humanity and poetry in the people he films. In another piece by Bob Fisher, Squires reflects on his work.

Finally, Ted Braun burst on the scene this year with his debut theatrical doc, Darfur Now, following a gestation period making docs and fiction films for television. Agnes Varnum talks to the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award winner about his days at USC and his subsequent travels to troubled regions around the world.


Yours in actuality,

Thomas White