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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Spring 2019

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

The Documentary Space…is vast and global and diffuse and interconnected. And while we at the IDA and Documentary magazine have made great strides in recent years to be true to the “International” side of our name, we are always looking to improve our global service, with our active presence at festivals and markets around the world, the global representation at the past two Getting Real conferences, and a significant growth in editorial coverage of the Pacific Rim, Latin America and Europe,

So, think of this issue as a promissory note to keep our eyes on the “I” in IDA, with an amalgam of profiles, case studies and practical guides. At last year’s Getting Real, we presented a quartet of case studies on international co-productions. One of those, The Silence of Others, from Spain-based filmmakers Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo, is featured here, courtesy of Bernardo Ruiz. Copenhagen-based Øve Jensen, from European Documentary Network, who moderated several of those Getting Real sessions, talks to producer Monica Hellstrøm about how she assembled the international team behind Simon Lereng Wilmont’s The Distant Barking of Dogs. Back in 2002, an international coalition of producers led by South Africa-based filmmaker Don Edkins spearheaded the groundbreaking omnibus project Steps for the Future, which addressed, in 38 films, the AIDS/HIV epidemic in Southern Africa. That project, which involved commissioning editors from around the world, inspired Mette Hoffman Meyer, former head of documentaries at DR, and Nick Fraser, founder of BBC’s Storyville, to launch The Why Foundation and apply a global omnibus approach to democracy (Why Democracy? [2007]), poverty (Why Poverty? [2012]) and slavery (Why Slavery? [2018]) Manori Ravindran talks to Hoffman Meyer about The Why’s mission to distribute documentaries to underserved and developing nations.

Moving to the Western Hemisphere, Chile-based CCDoc and Uruguay-based DocMontevideo are working to open up more opportunities for docmakers to get their work seen in North America and Europe. Buenos Aires-based writer/filmmaker Richard Shpuntoff talks to reps from both entities about the challenges of convincing the northern world of the rich trove of stories from Latin America.

For those venturing beyond the borders to make your films, you need to familiarize yourselves with the laws there. In separate articles, Steven Beer, Neil Rosini and Jake Levy discuss what you need to know about filming in other countries, and Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jasci discuss fair use outside of the US.

Finally, the UK-based National Film & Television School has produced its share of prominent docmakers like Kim Longinotto and Nick Broomfield—as well as a number of IDA Documentary Award-winning films. Carol Nahra talks to Peter Dale, the head of the school’s Documentary Directing strand, about shaping the curriculum in concert with the demands of the real world.

Yours in actuality,

Tom White