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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Winter 2015

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

You can call this issue GETTING REAL: The Sequel. Or, Beyond GETTING REAL. But we felt strongly that a groundbreaking conference—for the IDA, at least—deserved a follow-up assessment here. So, we solicited a cross-section of our participants to not just give us a rundown of takeaways, but to go deeper and come back to us with a longer view of, say, Now that we've gathered as a community to really get into the most pressing and prominent issues, where do we go from here? In the wake of this deep, three-day exploration of Art, Career and Impact, what does this mean for the documentary community going forward? How do we process what we processed in those three days in October?

And so, we are grateful that Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis, Tracy Droz Tragos, Pete Nicks and Ross Kauffman took time out of their busy post-GETTING REAL schedules to get real with us—about, respectively, the art and impact conundrum; getting back in the doc groove after taking time off for motherhood; the need for diversity in the funding community to accommodate the diversity of artistry and craft among the doc-making community; and the possibilities of measuring and quantifying "emotional impact."

GETTING REAL was the crowning jewel of Michael Lumpkin's shimmering legacy as executive director. In his all-too-brief tenure, he, in concert with the IDA Board and staff, managed to move the IDA into a position of unprecedented prominence in the documentary community. New, expanded offices...departments in communications, development, education and filmmaker organization-wide expanded 30th edition of the IDA Documentary Awards that firmed up the IDA’s position on the Awards Season calendar…and of course GETTING REAL: These are the major milestones that have helped solidify the IDA’s service to the community.

In an exit interview with Michael, he reflects, "I think for the organization—and I'm going back to what Marj [Safinia, IDA’s Board President] said at the Awards—'Our path is clear.' If I can leave that for the organization, I'm really happy. It's clarity that a lot of organizations struggle to acquire and maintain; it was just seeing that what I've tried to do over a number of years resulted in that, and the change in IDA's position in the field and its relevance. That is the most gratifying part of what I've done."

As Michael takes the helm at AFI Docs, I look forward to his inaugural slate in June—and again salute him for his six transformative and impactful years at the IDA.


Yours in actuality,

Thomas White