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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, November 2002

By Michael Donaldson

Dear Readers,

“DOCtober…in September” was a smashing success; we sold nearly twice the number of tickets over previous DOCtobers. But it’s time to change the name. When DOCtober was first created in order to showcase documentaries and help them qualify for an Oscar nomination, the Motion Picture Academy’s deadline for qualifying was the end of October, so it all made sense. This year, the deadline was moved up a month, hence the temporary name. Next year the deadline—and therefore the festival—could move again. So, we need to find a name for this important event that is not date-specific. Please email the staff with your suggestions.

And while you are emailing, please let us know your experience with any of the Scripps-Howard Network channels—the Food Channel, Home and Garden Television, Fine Living and Do It Yourself. Your Documentary Credits Coalition (DCC) has begun a dialogue with Scripps about its policy of limiting credits. The network believes it helps its business and use the rationale that when its fortunes improve, it will benefit everyone down the food chain (pardon the pun). National Geographic is also on our “watch list.”

A newly reworked set of by-laws should be in the mail this month, and the particulars are spelled out in a cover letter. The selection of board members will be broadened and streamlined all at the same time. There will be a worldwide nominating committee who will submit names to be considered. These individuals will then be interviewed to be sure that they are willing to undertake the rather substantial burden of work that membership on the board entails. Please vote by email or regular mail, but VOTE. This is the first overhaul in 20 years and we want to hear from everyone. By-Laws Committee Chair Michael Rose, Kathryn Galán, Carol King, Richard Propper and our hard-working general counsel Michael Morales have done an incredible job on this by-law revision, which has the unanimous support of the IDA Executive Committee, Board of Directors and staff.

Finally, the IDA Awards Gala is coming up December 13 at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles. IDA has just reached a three-year broadcast agreement with the Sundance Channel in which the IDA Awards Gala will serve as the launching point for a “year in review” type of show focusing on what has happened in the documentary world. Rather than telecast the Gala, Sundance will use the program as a touchstone in covering various events that have marked the year in documentaries. We are all very excited about this new initiative, which premieres in March as part of an on-air destination for documentaries called “DOCday.”



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA President