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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, December 1999

By David Haugland

Dear IDA Members:

Filmmakers from around the world gathered in Los Angeles at the end of October to celebrate the 15th Annual IDA Awards.

The enthusiastic spirit of the filmmakers pervaded a weekend that included the annual press luncheon at Eastman Kodak in Hollywood, the Awards Gala and DocuFest screenings at the Directors Guild of America Theater.

The pinnacle event occurred Friday evening when over 300 people assembled for the Awards Gala in the newly opened Los Angeles Center Studios. The evening began with an exuberant reception followed by the presentation of awards in a brand new state-of-the-art theater.

Frank Müller, director and producer of Where the Sky Meets the Land, traveled from Germany to accept the Pare Lorentz Award from Pare Lorenz Jr. Matt White and Waleed B. Ali of Chicago received the ABC News VideoSource Award from IDA Trustee David Seevers of ABC News VideoSource for The Murder of JFK: A Revisionist History. IDA Trustee Margaret Clark presented this year's David L. Wolper Student Award to Lorna Kirk for A Little Bit of Freedom.

Roger Mayer, chairman of the National Film Preservation Foundation, member of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, president and chief operating officer of Turner Entertainment Company, and past recipient of the IDA Preservation and Scholarship Award, presented this year's Preservation and Scholarship Award to Dr. Anthony Bannon of George Eastman House.

Actress and comedienne Lorraine Newman enthusiastically presented television awards in three categories. Executive Producer Scott Garen accepted the inaugural Magazine Segment Award for Justice for All on behalf of producer/director Allison Davenport, who had just become a new mother. The first IDA Award in history to a documentary from Brazil went to director Belisario Franca, line producer Andrez Castilho and director of programming Paula Dionisio viard de Aguiar for Beyond The Sea, in the Limited Series category. And for the second time, the Strand Award went a National Geographic program, Dragons of Galapagos. Executive producer Nicolas Noxon and Australian director/producer David Parer accepted the award.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker and longtime IDA supporter Arnold Schwartzman, chairman of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ newly revised Documentary Committee, presented the award for Short Documentary to Theresa Tollini for Still Missing.

In another first for the IDA, directors known for both documentary and fiction films presented our feature awards. Phil Joanou (Rattle and Hum) presented the IDA Feature Documentary Award to filmmakers Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen for On the Ropes. The Feature Documentary Award to A Place Called Chiapas, director/producer Nettie Wild and producer Betsy Carson, was presented by another Australian, Scott Hicks (Shine and the Emmy-winning Submarines: Sharks of Steel).

The evening's crescendo was reached when actress, activist, film producer, author and mother Trudie Styler presented the 1999 Career Achievement Award to Michael Apted. Michael gave an eloquent and moving acceptance that brought the audience to their feet twice. The evening concluded with a candlelight dinner on an outdoor terrace surrounded by the Los Angeles skyline.

Thanks to the filmmakers, presenters, Eastman Kodak, the staff and everyone who made the 1999 Awards a success. Next year we hope that many more of you will join us for what has, in 15 years, truly become documentary's best night of the year.



David Haugland
IDA Board President