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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, December 2001 / January 2002

By Michael Donaldson

Dear IDA Members:

As we head into the holiday season, we find reason to rejoice at the simplest of life's pleasures: just the freedom to read this magazine, pursue the films we want to make or watch, and be with family. Our constant prayer is for a world that works for everyone. The documentary form has a unique role to play in that process by shedding light, revealing truth and helping to bind people together through better understanding of each other's ways and thinking.

Bob Guenette, the first recipient of IDA's Pioneer Award, is an example of a documentary maker who has made films that have changed lives and has used his skills to help change the lives of others, right here in Los Angeles. A former president of IDA, Bob started his career with other pioneers of the documentary form—Robert Drew, DA Pennebaker, et al. More recently, he founded Los Angeles Media and Education Center (LAMEC), a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing the people of Los Angeles together through the arts.

Guenette's award will be presented December 7, 2001, at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Directors Guild of America, as part of the annual IDA Awards Gala. We will also honor Edith Kramer and the Pacific Film Archive with the Preservation and Scholarship Award, and Jean Rouch, who will receive IDA's Career Achievement Award. The Cinematheque Française also celebrated Rouch's award last month at a ceremony at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. Jean Charles Tacella, president of the Cinematheque, presented the award, and Richard Leacock, the 1987 IDA Career Achievement Award recipient, filmed the presentation. Talk about binding the world together!

The next day, Saturday, December 8, is DocuFest at the Eastman Kodak facility on 6700 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, where we will screen the IDA Award winners.

These films were selected by several committees, headed by Marilyn Engle and Lynne Littman (Features), Barbara Leigh Gregson (Continuing and Limited Series), Richard Samuels (Shorts), Douglas Chang (David L. Wolper Student Award), and Pare Lorentz, Jr. (Pare Lorentz Award). Lynne Littman also chaired the Blue Ribbon Committee. They worked many hours throughout the summer and early fall to review the films and select the winners. I cannot thank the committees enough.

Just before the screenings begin, we will have our annual membership meeting at 9:00 a.m. on the patio of the Kodak building. This is the time and place to elect the board menmbers for the new year and try to streamline our by-laws. We cannot even conduct business at the annual meeting without 25 percent attendance, so you can understand how important your attendance is (and how badly we need to streamline our by-laws). If you cannot attend in person, please fill out the proxy on page 56 and fax or mail it to IDA Headquarters. Our secretary, Richard Trank, will exercise your proxy, unless you wish to name someone else.



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA President