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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, July-August 2007

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

While it's no small feat for the IDA to live up to its mission to serve the global documentary community, we make our best efforts to traverse time zones and language barriers to spread the good word. With international co-productions and co-commissions having taken root over a decade ago, the festival and market circuit continuing to energize the documentary infrastructure, and the Internet transforming the entire media landscape, the planet is both vast and compact.

Over the years, we've brought you reports from far-flung places, and this issue reinforces what we've been doing. Jennifer Fox, a seasoned filmmaker and world traveler, forged those two passions into one six-hour exploration into what it is to be a woman of the world in the 21st century. Fox visited 17 countries, interviewing over 100 women from places as far flung as South Africa, India, Iran and Sweden. And while Fox is American, she received most of her funding from Denmark, the home base of her producer, co-producer and editor. Other funding came from Finland, the UK, Sweden and Austria. Cathleen Rountree talks to Fox about the making of Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman

March of the Penguins was an international sensation in 2005, but every success, it seems, yields a soupçon of scandale. Madelyn Most reports on a dispute between cinematographer Laurent Chalet and director Luc Jacquet and the production company Bonne Pioche over artistic credits for what was a 13-month ordeal in Antarctica for Chalet and a couple months sojourn for Jacquet. The dispute has erupted into a legal case now being considered in the French courts.

Famed cinematographers László Kovács, ACE, and Vilmos Zsigmond, ACE, had some ordeals of their own in escaping the Soviet crackdown in Hungary in 1956, and smuggling out footage that they had shot of that historic event. Bob Fisher caught up with filmmaker James Chressanthis about his doc-in-progress about Kovács and Zsigmond and their journey from film school in Budapest to legendary status in Hollywood.

Pernille Rose Grønkjær has earned kudos on the festival circuit for her film The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun. She shares with us her experiences at her alma mater, the National Film School of Denmark.

And for a teacher's perspective, Lisa Leeman weighs in with her account of leading a workshop in Amman, Jordan.

If you want to shoot a film abroad, you need to prepare yourself beforehand. Mark Roberts offers advice on protocol, wrangling equipment and diplomacy when making a film in China. Wherever you go--and particularly in dangerous places--you'll need the proper insurance. DeWitt Stern's Winnie Wong breaks down the necessities for a sound coverage package.

Finally, one country that has seen its share of Hollywood success is New Zealand, whose documentary community is keen on making forays in the international arena. Ewa Bigio reports on a growing movement and the challenges it faces.


Yours in actuality,

Thomas White