Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, September 2000
Dear IDA Members:
For the past eight years, Betsy Mclane served tirelessly as IDA's executive director. With Betsy's departure this past June, an era of tremendous growth, increased visibility and membership in 50 countries drew to a close. We thank Betsy for her years of dedicated service to IDA. Through her future endeavors she will undoubtedly make further contribution: to the doe documentary community.
While serving with IDA, Betsy was a constant advocate for documentaries at festivals, on panels and wherever she carried the IDA banner. She enhanced and initiated programs and services that many of us consider part of the organization's heart and soul:
- IDA Fiscal Sponsorship has become a key service to filmmakers. Simply put, this program allows qualified filmmakers and projects to use IDA as a nonprofit umbrella to receive grants and contributions in support of documentary production. At present there are more than 150 projects in various stages active in this program.
- International Documentary has undergone a significant transformation. From newsletter to journal to magazine now available on newsstands. ID has matured and is now the longest continuosly published genre-specific publication of its kind!
- Now in their 16th year, IDA's annual awards for Distinguished Documentary Achievement have adapted to honor the changing documentary landscape (including special awards for use of news footage. television categories. etc.) while retaining the creators' original intent to celebrate the best in documentary-making and those individuals whose work is or proud heritage.
- Our seminar series in LA and New York and screening programs like DocuFest, DocuDay and DOCtober continue. In fact, summer was another very busy season as over 50 volunteers met weekly June through August to screen another record number of entries in the 2000 IDA Awards competition. The IDA staff and Acting Director Grace Ouchida haven't missed a beat as we prepare for this tall's events and awards.
IDA has come a long way since its founding by a handful of dedicated filmmakers in a Los Angeles living room in 1982! And we are now poised to take on the challenges and possibilities that Betsy's departure and changes afford.
First among the Board of Directors' immediate tasks is to engage a new executive director. Board members Steven Poster and Barbara Leigh Gregson are chairing an international search and are joined in that effort by board member Richard Trank, former board member Richard Wells and Cara White.
We have also embarked on a long-rage planning effort led by Vice President Michael Donaldson along with board members Mary Schaffer, Richard Trank and myself. To assist us in this effort we have enlisted the counsel ol Pat Ferns/Banff TV Festival, Tim Kittleson/UCLA Film & Television Archive, Alyce Myatt/MacArthur Foundation, and Arnold Schwartzman/Academy Documentary Committee. Others will be actively involved in this process, including current and past board members, trustees, members and other associates in the documentary community. A report is anticipated in early 2001.
Always at the core of IDA-from those first humble years of passing the hat to pay fbr hors d'oeuvres at parties to today's IDA presence on the market floors at NATPE and MIPDOC has been the support and promotion of the documentary form and makers. I hope you will share your aspirations and vision tbr IDA's future with us as we look ahead and work to serve the international documentary community in the years ahead.