December 1, 1996

Short Takes, December 1996


IDA kicked off the month of November with a stunningly produced Awards Gala at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. New trustee ABCNews VideoSource was on hand to announce its award, to be given next year for the best use of video archival footage, and longtime supporters Eastman Kodak affirmed its commitment to the IDA and documentarians with a donation of 200,000 feet—about 92 hours—of film to IDA for award to worthy documentarians. Leonard Nimoy proved a gracious and winning host, regaling the docu-faithful wit witty anecdotes of his own forays into documentaries. David L. Wolper made a rare appearance to present his Student Documentary Achievement Award, and film critic Leonard Maltin presented the Preservation and Scholarship Award to the National Film Board of Canada. Some memorable e outtakes from the acceptance speeches: Jon Blair (Anne Frank Remembered) recalling how he most had the chance to film a season in the life of the Chicago Bulls—imagine the grumblings from Chicago-based Hoop Dreamers Frederick Marx and Stephen James had that happened!; and Steven Ascher (Troublesome Creek) thanking the IDA not only for the Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award, but also for the warm reception the film received at DocuDay.... And then there was Ted, holding up admirably despite his Braves just having lost a thrilling World Series. Following an encomia-laden presentation by Pat Mitchell of Turner Original Productions that raised the media mogul to the heavens, Mr. Turner took the stage for one brief, breathless moment, extolling the profound difference that his documentaries have made, and then he and Jane were gone. Nonfiction non pareil Betsy McLane bid everyone a fond good­ night, and the docu-fans gathered up their goody bags, freighted with fare from the Turner empire, and headed home. Following a successful DocuFest at the L.A. County Museum of Art, Ms. McLaren hit the road again—to San Luis Obispo, to Memphis, all for the good of documentary­ and everywhere.

National Video Resources Names Director of Planning and Communications

National Video Resources (NVR) has named Lisa B. Segal as Director of Planning and Communications. Ms. Segal joins NVR with a strong background in nonprofit fundraising and experience in both video and film production and public relations. NVR is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 through a Rockefeller Foundation initiative. NVR identified problems facing the distribution of independent media, including narrative films, documentaries, video art and performing arts. NPR's mission is to enhance the distribution of these works through all media nationwide, including emerging technologies. In addition, NVR works to improve availability to the general public of visual media that expresses diverse viewpoints and provides advocacy and leadership on issues facing independent media creators, producers and distributors.

New York-based Archive Houses Nation's Largest Latin American Video Collection

The Latin American Video Archive (LAVA), a project of the International Media Resource Exchange, holds the largest collection of Latin American and U.S. Latino—made video and film (on video) in the United States. LAVA's collection includes titles that are unavailable elsewhere in the U.S. In addition to its collection of 1,500 videos, LAVAs database of 4,000 films and videos will soon be available on the Internet. LAVA also sponsors speakers bureaus and student intern programs and facilitates South North media exchanges by collecting, organizing and disseminating information and tapes made by Latin American and U.S. Latino independent and national film and video artists. LAVA's Directory of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino—Made Film and Video includes detailed evaluations of more than 400 titles. For more information about LAVA, contact Informational Media Resource Exchange, 124 Washington Place, New York, NY 10014; phone: 212-463-0108; fax: 212-243-2007; e-mail:

PR Newswire Expands Its Photo Distribution and Storage Capabilities

PR News are announced a strategic alliance with Feature Photo Service (FPS) that will provide PRN members with direct access to a photo desk at more than 600 leading U.S. newspapers via the A.P. Photo Express Network and with archival storage in newsCom, the leading text and photo retrieval database serving the global news industry. PRN members will now have access to the largest photo distribution network available. Virtually every major U.S. newspaper, television broadcast network and news magazine will be a recipient of PR News PHotos. "Our New relationship with Feature Photo Service and NewsCom clearly differentiates PR Newswire from the competition," noted John Williams, PRN's senior vice president. "We now have access to the largest distribution network in the industry, and we provide database storage in the global news­ media's leading media retrieval service."

Archive Films Teams with Westwood One

New York-based Archival Films has signed an agreement to represent the audio archives of Westwood One, the largest producer and distributor of radio program­ming in America and the owner of the Mutual Broadcasting System archive. For over 60 years, Mutual has covered history as it happens, being first on the scene when Pearl Harbor was attacked, first with the news that Nixon would resign. Westwood One's own collection provides access to some of the most important speeches, press conferences and interviews recorded during the 20th century, including the only coverage of Robert F. Kennedy's assassination, the last interview with John Lennon, comprehensive audio coverage of World War II, the Civil Rights struggle, the Cold War, and some of the very first recordings from the beginning of the cen­tury. Patrick Montgomery, President of Archive Films, noted that "many of our film, video and multimedia clients don't often consider searching for separate hi ­torical audio to be combined with footage and stills. With access to the Westwood One archive, we can now offer a richer selection of historical coverage."

Program for Art on Film Relocates to Pratt institute

The Program for Art on Film, an interna­tional clearinghouse for information about moving image media on art and architecture, has relocated to Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science on the Brooklyn campus. The Program, founded in 1 984 as a joint venture between the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was created to fill the void in formation, education and experimentation in the expanding field of art on screen. The Program, with its Art on Screen Database of 25,000 titles, serves major museums, television networks, filmmakers, schools and library nationally and around the world. Pratt Institute educates more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students from around the United States and 70 foreign nations in its schools of Architecture, Art and Design, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Professional Studies.

Facets Video Brings Latin American Film Festival Home

Eight recent award-winning Latin American features will make their U.S. debuts on home video in the second series of the Facets Video/Chicago Latino Cinema Collection in December 1996. The Facets Video/Chicago Latino Cinema Collection is unique distribution project of Facets Multimedia and Chicago Latino Cinema. Both nonprofits are committed to broadening the distribution of foreign and independent art cinema. Each of the eight titles in the collection is $59.96, while the entire set is available for $349.99. For further infor­mation, contact Facets Video at 1-800-331-6197, or write Facets Video, 1517 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614.

Kodak Donates 200,000 Feet of Film for Documentaries

Eastman Kodak Company announced recently that it will donate 200,000 of 16mm color negative film to facilitate and encourage the production of high quality documentaries. The announcement was made at the IDA Awards Gala Last month; IDA will select the film grant recipients and administer the program. "Kodak is simply asking us to help deserving people with important projects to fulfill their visions on film," said IDA president Lisa Leeman. "This donation will help many non-fiction producers in their efforts to bring worthy projects to the marketplace." "Documentary filmmakers make extraordinary contributions to our visually literate society," says John Mason, National Sales Manager, Television Segment, Kodak Professional Motion Imaging. "They enlighten and entertain us and create an enduring record of our times. This donation is our way of saying thank you to everyone who work in this genre and also to the dedicated members and staff of IDA."

Visual Artists Information Hotline Now Operated by New York Foundation for the Arts

The Visual Artist Information Hotline, a toll-free information service for visual artists, has resumed full operation as a pro­gram of the New York Foundation for the Arts in New York City. Artists may call 1-800-232-2789 to receive information and referrals. The Hotline operates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Artists speak directly with the Hotline staff between 2 and 5 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, or they can leave a voicemail message at any time. The Hotline provides information on public and private sector funding, health and safety, insurance, artist communities, international opportunities, public art programs, studio space programs in New York City, legal information and publications.

HBO Captures Three CableACE Awards in Doc Categories

HBO led the pack of documentary cable casters in snaring three Cable Ace Award in the documentary categories. In the indi­vidual categories, Barry Reynold was honored for his editing on To Love or Kill: Man vs. Animal (America Undercover); and Deborah Dickson, Susan Froemke and Albert Maysles shared best directing hon­ors for Letting Go: A Hospice Journey. The Dying Rooms took the top award for Informational Special or Series. Rounding out the rest of the winners, Martin David son took the Writing award for Biography: Muhammad Ali for A&E, and The Learning Channel and BBC shared the International Documentary Special Award for Metropolis: The Tower Without Ends.

Passings: Kemp Niver, Academy Award®·Winning Archivist, Dies

Kemp Niver, whose restoration of the paper prints in the Library of Congress earned him an honorary Oscar® in 1954, died in October of natural causes. He was 84. A native of Los Angeles, Niver also produced his own documentaries and industrial films, taught film history at Loyola Marymount University, and consulted with many film studios. He wrote several books and articles on film history, and he served as associate curator, for the last 30 years of his life, of the Museum of the American Society of Cinema autography. Niver is survived by a granddaughter.