December 1, 2000

Short Takes, December 2000 / January 2001

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

-Edgar Allan Poe

 

And as the year turns from one to the next, we look all around us at the slow exodus of friends and colleagues, and anticipate the next stream of fresh laces to shore us up for winter. At year's end, we say thanks, reflect and say goodbye, ruefully, to another year in our lives. We contemplate, with a soupçon of dread and hope, the vast blank slate before us. IDA closes out another transitory year, one of new environs and bittersweet farewells, and I would personally like to salute our latest to leave.

David Haugland, IDA s president, steps down after a dynamic four years at the helm, a tenure during which IDA became truly international. Lisa Leeman, a former president, exits after completing the full nine-year cycle: she saw a lot of growth and tumult in those nine years. Thelma Vickroy, who spearheaded IDA's outreach efforts from her perch on the board and helped IDA establish a beachhead in Pasadena, also exits the stage. Joan Owens Meyerson was our board liaison on the Publications Committee, and while she will continue to offer her valuable input as a committee member, we will miss her advocacy on behalf of this magazine. Grace Ouchida, the acting director, will no longer be "acting" and will no longer be director. I've known Grace since she first showed up to volunteer, way back in '94, when the world was still analog, and I've soon her evolve and take on each new heady responsibility and its attendant political imbroglios with an equanimity and clear headedness that I've come to admire. And last and not least, Jessica Rath, the managing editor, has managed her last issue with this one. In the all too short time I worked with her, I enjoyed the kind of symbiotic business partnership that works so well you forget it's running. It just goes and goes. Jessica managed this juggernaut, I just rode it, and with the right mix of frivolity and professionalism, we got the job done. So, from my home base, I, like a wizened, but hale and hearty, college professor or prep school headmaster, say, "Happy trails to all. We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne."

 

NEWS BRIEFS

 

Los Angeles Media & Education Center Plans January Fete

The Los Angeles Media & Education (LAMEC), under the leadership of former IDA President Robert Guenette, is planning to open the new year with a splashy month of documentary screenings and seminars. LAMEC, a recently created nonprofit service organization, is mandated to bring the people of Los Angeles together through the arts.

The festival, tentatively titled Los Angeles—Through the Lens Darkly and Lightly, will run on consecutive Monday evenings at the New Ivar Theater in Hollywood. Each evening will be centered around a theme The City of Dreams, Rebels with a Cause and a Camera, The Way-Out Independents and The Hollywood Documentary, which will also pay tribute to Jack Haley, Jr, a longtime supporter of IDA and an acclaimed documentarian in his own right.

In its brief history, LAMEC has already made an impact on various Los Angeles communities. Since last summer, the organization has worked with six high school students to produce a documentary video about the Democratic National Convention, held in LA in August. LAMEC is also making its editing facilities available to filmmakers like Ernest Savage, who is making a series of films on poverty in Los Angeles; Lisa Davis, who is mentoring members of gang intervention groups and victims of gang violence while completing a film about gang violence; Kelly Oram and Kevin Proulx, who are working with the nonprofit runaway shelter Children of the Night to document the residents' study of Shakespeare; and Lisa Leeman, who worked with a group of African-American youths from Venice who do still photography studies of people from other cultures.

For information about LAMEC and Los Angeles—Through the Lens Darkly and Lightly, call 310.785.9312: e-mail: lamec@concentric.net.

Arts Channel Bows in UK and Ireland

According to docos.com. Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the former CEO of Channel 4, will unveil a new digital arts channel in December in the UK and Ireland. Artsworld is a joint venture involving British Sky Broadcasting and Guardian Media Group.

Programming will include Focus, a nightly arts magazine, then performances, documentaries and discussions. Artsworld will also telecast opera and ballet from La Scala in an arrangement with RAI.

Spiegel to Develop Doc Channel

Spiegel, the German publishing house, announced plans to start up a new documentary channel, to be based in Berlin. For this venture. Spiegel will partner with Kinowelt and DCTP, both of Munich. Spiegel currently operates Spiegel TV, which programs interviews and documentaries.

Historic Films Archive Acquires Vidicom

Historic Fihrs Library, a leading stock footage facility, has added Vidicom to its prodigious collection. For nearly 20 years, Vidicom has been a multi-media content provider specializing in lifestyle features. Through a team of journalists and producers, Vidicom has extensively covered health, technology, entertainment news, fashion and home styles. The library includes over 9,000 tapes. Historic Films expects to have database information about the collection available online for researchers by mid-2001 at www.historicfilms.com.

Archive Photos Now Representing Hulton Getty Collection

Archive Photos announced in September its North American representation of the London-based Hulton Getty Picture Collection. The collection features over 300 separate collections, forming  an archive of over 18 million still images, beginning with 14th century illustrations and engravings and continuing through the entire 20th century.

 

CHANGES AT THE HELM

 

Yeldham Ankles Sundance for FilmFour

Rebecca Yeldham, senior film programmer at Sundance Film Festival, recently joined FilmFour, Channel 4's production, sales and distribution company. Yeldham will run FilmFour's Los Angeles office, which opened in November. Yeldham was at Sundance for four years and was recently associate director of international programs.

Utley Named VP of Preservation Services at Kodak

Richard Utley was recently appointed vice president. PRO-TEK Preservation Services for Cinesite, Inc., a Kodak Company. He will serve as a liaison with studio asset protection managers and other motion picture content owners, in addition to supervising the PRO-TEK Preservation Film Vaults and Inspection center.

Utley had been chief operating officer for FPC, a subsidiary of Kodak

Bitan Departs 7th Art for HIQI

Oren Bittan, who helped acquire and distribute numerous documentaries at 7th Art Releasing, left the company in September for HIQI, a new venture that will produce and distribute music documentaries. HIQI plans to sell titles to overseas television, while touring the HIQI Film Series, a slate of music documentaries, to venues in the US.

The Film Series, scheduled to roll in April 2001, will feature such works as Rolfe Belgium's Driver 23, Theodoros Bataloukos' Rockers and Valerie Bennett's Synergy: Visions of Vibe.

 

DOCS WATCH

 

American High to Air on PBS

American High, the documentary series that aired very briefly on Fox Broadcasting Co. last summer (see September 2000 ID), has been picked up by PBS, which will telecast the R.J. Cutler-helmed high school project in April. American High documents a year in the life of a Chicago-area high school, and it includes video diaries made by the students.

PBS will air fourteen 27-minute episodes. PBS also announced a new series to premiere next year: Life in Bold. The one-hour magazine series, slated for a fall 2001 debut, will present an assemblage of stories about people "who face change and challenges in their communities and schools, in medicine and technology and in government and the arts."

Sound and Fury Hooks Up with Artistic License

Sound and Fury Josh Aronson's acclaimed documentary about cochlear implants and how they are impacting the hearing-impaired community, will be released by Artistic License. The New York-based distributor has released such acclaimed works as Jupiter's Wife (Michel Negroponte), Riding the Rails (Michael Uys and Lexy Lovell) and Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern (Jeanne Jordan and Steve Ascher).

First Run Features Acquires Split Decision

First Run Features picked up Marcy Garriott s documentary Split Decision, which follows boxer Gabriel Jesus Sandoval Chavez's battles in the ring and with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. The film will open in early 2000.

Facets Multimedia Announces New Releases

Facets Multimedia, the Chicago-based video and laserdisc distribution company, announced two new releases. Voices of Cabrini, which profiles the people of Cabrini Green, the Chicago based housing project, as they face possible eviction, was released in September. Judy Hoffman produced the 30-minute video, and Ronit Bezalel directed. Dream of Light, Victor Erice's lauded portrait of Spanish painter Antonio Lopez Garcia, will be released on video in January.

ERRATA

The November issue listed Red Files: Secret Soviet Moon Mission as a IDA Awards Limited Series Nominee. The correct title is Red Files.

The camera in the photo accompanying the article on Hot Docs in the October issue was erroneously identified as an Arriflex. One of our members identified the camera as a "converted Auricon using a tuning fork or crystal for wireless sync."

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