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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, June 2001

By Michael Donaldson

Dear IDA Members:

The big news at the IDA is that we have a new Executive Director: Sandra Ruch. She was selected as the final candidate at a special board meeting held April 26 at IDA headquarters. Over 150 applications were received and reviewed. Two committees worked on the search. First. Barbara Leigh Gregson and Steve Poster headed a search committee that included Richard Wells, Cara White and Rick Trank. They worked for months laying the foundation for the final search, headed by Larry Cate. Richard Propper, Mitch Block and Lyn Goldtarb rounded out the committee. Lynne Littman, Sven Berkemeier, Diane Estelle Vicari and our Managing Director, Melissa Disharoon, also devoted a lot of time to the search. Personal interviews were held after the field was narrowed down to a handful of applicants. The competition was very stiff. The board's decision was unanimous.

IDA was looking for both a strong administrator and someone who could raise money. Sandra not only filled the bill on those two fronts, but also has an interesting connection to our industry. She has worked at 20th Century Fox Television, Cinergi Pictures and New Line Cinema. and has had responsibilities for making grants to nonprofit organizations through her experience at Mobil Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her all-around background was just what we were looking for.

June is here. which means the Call for Entries for the 17th annual IDA Awards has gone out. The final deadline is July 2, 2001. In June, the screening committees will be meeting every weeknight to review entries. Lynne Littman will be serving as Chair. Other comittee members include Marilyn Engle and Rich Samuels. They will all be hard at work to narrow down the fiel.

The awards program and the gala have been moved to Decernber in order to separate them from Doctober, the docurnentary festival held in October. When Doctober was launched, it seemed like a good idea to have the two events close together. As each has grown, however, the demand on staff and volunteers has become too much. Also, moving the events apart helps generate more publicity for each and eliminates a certain amount of confusion between the two. We look forward to greater visibility for both events as a result of this change.

Summer also has IDA gearing up for the kick-off of an exciting new pilot program that will serve as a model for similar programs throughout the country and the world. We are currently referring to it as the DocStudiesProgram and it is designed to bring the study of the documentary into high school classrooms. The idea of teaching documentary-making at the high school level is very exciting. This program will be in the classrooms by September 2001.



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA President