Skip to main content

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

By David Haugland

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. From my youth in Minnesota, there's one particular Thanksgiving that I remember fondly—the one where the temperature actually broke 70° and we were able to enjoy one last gasp of summer before Winter entombed us in a frozen white capsule for six long months!

Thanksgiving of 1998 is another one that I'll remember for many years: not for the weather, but for the bounty that has come to IDA during the year.

At the beginning of 1998, IDA membership was at an historic high. People across the U .S. and around the world continue to discover us, through the magazine, on the internet, at festivals, and through our loyal members. Each time we add a member to our rolls, we're all enriched with new experiences , talents and interests, and a stronger commitment. Thank you to those of you who were here before '98 began and to those of you who have joined us throughout the year.

During 1998. IDA has been enriched by a host of new painters who have enabled us to do more than ever before. First among these is our Board of Trustees. Their ranks have grown to 17 nationwide, and their commitment to the documentary form and to documentarians is strong and sustained. Their vision and support informs and guides IDA's future. So, to our Trustees, thank you, also.

Wherever IDA has had a presence this past year, there has been a partner at our side. Eastman Kodak made possible our tremendously successful January seminar series. Festivals and markets—Sundance, HotDocs, MIPDOC, IFFM, Hot Springs—opened their doors and welcomed IDA representatives and members. UCLA initiated the docu­mentary salons. IDA and DocuClub/New York partnered in a first ever (and SRO') event in September. And the IDN Academy Film Archive partnership completed its first restoration project, three of Robert Drew's landmark documentaries from the 1960s. To our partners, too, thank you. During the summer months, more than 30 dedicated volunteers devoted hundreds of hours to screening the nearly 400 entries in this year's JOA Awards. These volunteer juries screen, evaluate, deliberate and finally arrive at those nominees that represent outstanding achievement in documentary long form, short, student, strand, limited series and archival news footage. For your discerning judgment, thank you to these valuable associates.

For the second year in a row, our fall theatrical screening series, DOCtober, brought documentaries to audiences on the big screen, as the makers intended. And this year, HBO initiated "Frame by Frame" with IDA in New York. This new series at the Screening Room transports the IDA concept of theatrical screenings to new audiences and helps more filmmakers get their work onto the silver screen. To our DOCtober partners and to HBO, thank you.

International Documentary Congress 3. In this one event, it becomes clear how many individuals, organizations and corporations genuinely care about documentaries and the people who make them. By every measure IDC3 set records. The partnership between IDA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in presenting the Congress is unprecedented. The Congress Steering Committee, Honorary Committee, International Advisory Committee, Panels Committee and staff from the Academy and IDA worked for nearly two years to assure its success. IDC3 corporate sponsors, panelists, moderators, wranglers, staff and volunteers gave this Congress a profile and content embraced by record numbers of attendees. To each and every one of you: thank you.

In the end, all of our efforts at IDA are in support of the documentary, the makers and the audience. It is your work, your vision, your dedication that gives us motivation and inspiration. To our documentary makers, thank you.

And finally, to the IDA board of directors and the IDA staff—Betsy, Grace, Dale, Apple, Tim, Josh , Tom, Nancy and Traci—who work throughout the year to move us ahead, thank you. This is truly a year I'll remember. Thank you for making it so.


David Haugland
IDA President