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New Digs for Docs: IDA Relocates to LA Center Studios

By Betsy McLane

The IDA's move to the Los Angeles Center Studios has been long and hard for both board and staff, but we are very excited to make this quantum leap. We will miss our good friends at the Production Center, who have been more than generous in providing a home for IDA from the first moment the idea of an association was voiced by Linda Buzzell.

There is too much history, too many fond memories of IDA in the Production Center to recount them all here. We do have to thank a special few of our colleagues there who kept the Association going through its ups and downs at that location since its inception. Three past presidents—Harrison Engle, Robert Guenette and Mel Stuart—along with Doug Steawart all shared space, time and dreams with us. And IDA will forever  be indebted to the great good-heartdness of our lord of all landlords Ben Bennett. We have no intention of letting any of them out of our clutches.

In the 18 years since Linda  gathered an initial group to create a membership organization for documentarians, many things have changed. Our nonfiction industry has been shaken and reshaped by the mighty forces of cable, satellite and digital television; by the arrival of both huge large-format and small online documentaries; by a continuing stream of provocative theatrical nonfiction films; and by the energy of thousands of individuals around the world picking up cameras to tell their truths about life in the latter part of the 20th century.

Now, in the 21st century, IDA is moving to meet the ever-greater challenges of our field. We are to be a part of Los Angeles Center Studios, a state-of-art center for media production in downtown Los Angeles. As a not-for-profit media arts organization, IDA is able to rent space there at vastly reduced rates, thanks to generosity of the Studios' developers and the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department.

We will have room to work, to screen documentaries, to entertain, to grow and to educate. And there are parking spaces for over 1,400 automobiles! It has been a year-and-a-half of work to negotiate this opportunity and again a few people gave been particularly helpful. IDA thanks Mark Johnstone, Rouella Luie, Michael Morales, Merry Norris, Garry Shafner and Steve Smith. The far-sighted leadership of IDA's board of directors, and especially President David Haugland, enabled this move.

The Los Angeles Center Studios is a major re-purposing land-use project in the city of Los Angeles. The site is the former world headquarter of the UNOCAL Oil Company. The developers have refurbished and restored this magnificent Luckman Building, built in 1958, adding six full-service sound stages (with six more to come) and contributing greatly to what really has become a renaissance of culture in downtown LA. IDA is very proud to ve a part of this new way of looking at our city, our documentary industry and the emerging media culture of a new century.

As always, all members are welcome to visit whenever we are open.


Betsy A. McLane
Executive Director