Skip to main content

Notes from the Reel World: The President's Column, Fall 2011

By Rachel Kamerman

Dear IDA Community,

When I first situated myself in this column, I started off by saying how excited I was to have my very own forum, comparing it to Stan Lee's bullpen in classic-era Marvel comics. Since that time, of course, I've regaled you with tales of Daredevil, Mr. Fantastic and the Human other words, Michael Donaldson.

In the last few years, IDA has launched major advocacy campaigns on behalf of the documentary community that support fair use, free speech and net neutrality, and that take a stand against corporate interference, trademark czars and IRS misunderstandings.

Our awards program, celebrating the best in documentaries each year, and our DocuWeeks Theatrical Showcase have both grown. We've turned our Doc U lecture series into a monthly LA happening with a large and dedicated following, and we've successfully held live events in DC, Boston and New York. We've co-hosted major events at Sundance and other festivals. And our online presence has grown tremendously, with over 15,000 registered users on

This column, and the progress mentioned above, will continue to thrive--but like all good things, my ownership of its real estate must come to an end. Under IDA's by-laws, someone can only wear the mantle of president for a maximum of three one-year terms. I'm past the halfway point of my third right now, and since Documentary publishes quarterly (and I alternate the space with our executive director, Michael Lumpkin), this will be my last missive.

Don't cry for me, Argentina--and don't even shed a tear, New Jersey. I'm proud of what IDA has accomplished during my tenure. But this is a great opportunity to remind you (and me) that this isn't my IDA, nor the IDA of the president after me or before me. It's your IDA, and it's as strong, vibrant, relevant and productive as you want it to be.

Haven't been to a live event in some time? Come on out. Or send some friends. Post in the forums or put up your trailer at Sign our petitions. Join our committees. Offer to speak on a panel or at a class. Give pro bono help to our advocacy campaigns. Use us as the fiscal sponsor for your film. Help us raise sponsorship and donation money for our programs. Make a donation yourself. Renew your membership.  Share your ideas and help take us into the future.

I've always thought that if you make documentaries, you're doing yourself a favor by joining IDA. In fact, if you're making documentaries and you're not an IDA're a damn fool! Get it together, man.

My best to all of you, to the future of this organization and to this field. As long as there is reality, we will be there to capture it.



Eddie Schmidt
IDA Board President