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

By David Haugland

As the next millennium approaches, the "International" in IDA is getting more attention than ever.

Getting IDA ready for greater international presence at festivals and markets are board members Sven Berkemeier and Marina Goldovskaya. Over the past few months they've been working to develop additional partnership s outside North America and to increase benefits and opportunities for TDA members around the world. Sven and Marina welcome your suggestions on how IDA can continue to improve relationships and services to documentarians around the world. Already, though, their efforts and those of others are increasing IDA's international profile:

During April, Associate Director Grace Ouchida and Special Projects Coordinator Apple Via winged their way to Cannes for MIPDOC. This first-ever collaboration between MIP and IDA was the result of efforts initiated by board member Richard Propper. For IDA members, this new partnership resulted in a very successful pilot project where 10 documentaries were represented i n the Documentary Pavilion under the IDA banner. Screening tapes were made available to buyers who could then contact the makers directly to effect international television sales. Early indications are that this pilot was successful—if so, IDA will be there in the future to further assistmakers in getting their work to ever greater audiences.

In June, IDA will have a presence at two events i n Europe, continuing what we hope wi ll be our ever-increasing presence on the international documentary scene. In mid-June, Executive Director Betsy McLane will represent IDA in St. Petersburg at the IXth "Message to Man" Film Festival. Later in the month, I will spend three days in Munich representing IDA at the European Documentary Film & TV Congress presented by ag dok, the German documentary organization, immediately preceding the International Film Festival Munich.

Before fully recovering from jet lag, both Betsy and l will stop in New York for a celebration to mark the opening of the IDA's east coast office. At an event hosted by IDA trustee HBO and Sheila Nevins, we will introduce our east coast staff representative and celebrate the conclusion of IDA's first seminar series in New York. Our east coast trustees have been working for months to develop a greater presence for IDA in New York and we are all excited to hit the ground running this year—offering more services and closer contact with members back East.

In closing, I want to celebrate a recent event which should encourage each one of you to continue your work in documentaries:

At the 5th Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, documen­taries again took center stage with sold-out houses for features and shorts. And not only did the feature documentary Pop and Me get the only standing ovation of the festival following its screening, it also walked away with the audience award for best feature film. Unlike many festivals where documentaries compete in separate categories, LAIFF includes fiction and nonfiction film in one audience award category for best feature. Congratulations to first-time filmmakers, Chris Roe and Richard Roe, for winning the hearts of fiction and non­ fiction film buffs alike. You do us all proud!


David Haugland