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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, May 1998

By David Haugland

With just six months until International Documentary Congress 3—when the "best of the best" in the documentary world will convene in Los Angeles, October 28-30—I want to welcome the individuals who have joined with the IDA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as members of the Congress Honorary Committee: Erik Barnouw, Les Blank, Robert Dowling, Robert Drew, Andy Garcia, Henry Hampton, Norman Lear, Pare Lorentz Jr., Albert Maysles, Leonard Nimoy, Edward James Olmos, Howard Rosenberg, Jay Ruby, Andrew Sarris, Richard Schickel, Gene Siskel, Steven Spielberg, George Stevens Jr., Trudie Styler, Haskell Wexler, Frederick Wiseman and David Wolper.

To make the upcoming Congress truly international and worthy of its theme ("Documentary at the Millennium"), Congress steering committee members and IDA staff are taking every opportunity to spread the word. During March, IDA Executive Director Betsy McLane attended the South By Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, participating in a number of panels and mentor sessions. IDA board member Lisa Leeman was also at SXSW screening her new film Fender Philosophers. Congratulations to Lisa and to all the other IDA members with films and videos at SXSW.

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, IDA Associate Director Grace Ouchida, Trustee Mel Stuart and I met with Gao Kerning, Director of the China TV Documentary Association and a member of the International Advisory Committee for IDC3. Mr. Gao anticipates leading a delegation of at least 6 documentary filmmakers from China to the Congress this fall. In early April, Betsy and IDA board member Richard Propper attended MIPDOC, spreading the word about IDA and the Congress to this first-ever documentary market in Cannes. We anticipate very strong representation from the European documentary community at the Congress.

At Canada's largest documentary festival, HotDocs, I had the chance to meet with filmmakers, commissioning editors and distributors from across Canada. IDA member and International Advisory Committee member Gerry Flahive of the National Film Board of Canada also attended. While Toronto ushered in the first day of spring with a snowstorm, I was privileged to visit IDA's new trustee, Dr. Lindsay Sharp, Director and President of the Royal Ontario Museum. Also in Toronto, I met with representatives of the Ontario Film Development Corporation, Canadian Independent Film Cooperative, NFBC and, of course, HotDocs. We'll be welcoming a large delegation of Canadian documentarians to the Congress. And while I'm at it, welcome to IDA's newest trustee, Steve Rosenbaum, founder and president of BNN. This innovative company is responsible for some of the most exciting ventures on CBS Eye on People and we're pleased to have them aboard.

Given the overwhelming success of our screening last year of Pare Lorentz's Nuremberg—and our soon-to-be-released set of four Lorentz videos—we've scheduled a screening of this powerful film in New York for Wednesday, May 6th, with the Museum of Jewish Heritage; see Events & Screenings in this issue for details.

There's a lot going on for IDA! So, mark your calendar now­ October 28-30—and plan to join your colleagues from around the world at what will truly be a celebration of "Documentary at the Millennium."


David Haugland
IDA President