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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, December 2002 / January 2003

By Michael Donaldson

Dear IDA Members:

The holiday season and the IDA Awards Gala Benefit, on December 13, seem to have a synonymous ring. Wrapping up the year and kicking off the awards season by saluting the best of 2002 makes the best sense. Our 20th anniversary year has been cause to celebrate, with a promising new partnership with the Sundance Channel; new trustees from ITN Archive and American Masters; two new staff members—Sarah Jo Marks and Megan Moroney—who have contributed immeasurably to the growth of the organization; an overhauled set of by-laws; successful gatherings in New York, Cannes and Singapore; and a leading role in the fight to retain artistic credits on documentary programs. This has been a year for setting the infrastructure in place to continue to serve you better.

So, at the Awards Gala, we play tribute to Ken Burns, the Career Achievement honoree, who throughout his two-decade career has invigorated America’s past with sprawling epic stories infused with the richness and texture of Greek drama. And we honor Agnès Varda with the Pioneer Award, for breaking new ground long before her Left Bank and New Wave comrades in Paris began to consider the possibilities of cinema. And we salute the UK-based Imperial War Museum, which houses a compendium of footage from every major conflict of the 20th century. Roger Smither of the museum’s Film and Video Archive will be on hand in Los Angeles to accept the award. Finally, Sheila Nevins, the 1998 Career Achievement honoree and a longtime Trustee of IDA, has earned the 2002 IDA Pare Lorentz Award for In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01, which she produced, along with Brad Grey and her HBO colleague John Hoffman.

Congratulations to the rest of the award-winning films—Señorita Extraviada and Mai’s America in the Features category; Bringing Down a Dictator, ABCNews VideoSource Award; Inside Pol Pot’s Secret Prison, Continuing Series; AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Woodrow Wilson, Limited Series; Judy’s Time, Short Documentary; and Left Behind, the Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award. We will be screening all of the films at the Los Angeles offices of Eastman Kodak on 6700 Santa Monica Boulevard on December 14.

All of this—the individual and film awards—could not have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of a dynamic group of volunteers: Lynne Littmann and Marilyn Engle chaired the Features Committee; Barbara Gregson, the Limited and Continuing Series Committee; Steven Roche, the Shorts Committee; Douglas Chang, the Wolper Committee and the Gala Committee. Thanks also to the respective Blue Ribbon Committees for all categories. Finally, we thank the Awards and Gala sponsors: Eastman Kodak, Sundance Channel, Directors Guild of America, Laser Pacific Media Entertainment, ABCNews VideoSource, TV5 USA and the French Consulate.

By next issue, we will have welcomed new people to the IDA Board, and we will have ushered in 2003 to build on the promise of 2002. We thank you for helping us get there. May you all enjoy the holiday season and the new year.



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA President