Skip to main content

How IDA is Adapting to COVID-19

By Simon Kilmurry

Dear Documentary Community,

Everything has changed over the last several weeks. In just filmmaking terms, hundreds of you have had film premieres canceled, missed vital shoot days, had gigs called off, been laid off, or been brought to a standstill in your work and lives by the urgent reality of COVID-19. Personally, the virus has already touched members of our organization and our community. The broader global implications of the crisis are far greater and are still months away from being known.

We have paused in this moment to ask ourselves the original questions that prompted the first Getting Real Conference in 2014: How can we come together as members of a documentary ecosystem to learn from, support and inspire one another? How can we transform what can be an isolating endeavor into a community endeavor? How do we respond to changes in the world and the way they affect our storytelling, and how do we build a more sustainable and equitable field that allows critically important storytellers to weather any storm? These questions are more pressing than ever, but the landscape for our work looks almost unrecognizable at this point.

With all this in mind, IDA will adapt to this fast-changing situation in several ways:

  • Organizing and advocacy efforts: We will shift our focus immediately to creating opportunities and platforms for the documentary community to adapt to the new global landscape. We will vet and consolidate resources, advocate for documentary inclusion in relief efforts and funds, and help facilitate dialogue among filmmakers, funders, festivals and industry.

  • Online convening: We will hold a mini-conference online on September 22-24, 2020. The extent of the conference has yet to be determined, but we hope that by that point, we will have a better sense of the global impact of the virus and can meet online for some productive virtual sessions.

  • In-person conference: We will reschedule our in-person conference in Los Angeles to May 2021 or later as circumstances require.

  • Online classes: We will move all our educational programs to an online format until in-person meetings can resume.

  • Editorial content: We will prioritize coverage of developments, issues and concerns that have arisen from COVID-19 and its impact on the community, reaching out to all stakeholders--filmmakers, funders, programmers, distributors, exhibitors, educators. 

We recently hired award-winning filmmaker Maggie Bowman to lead the programming team for Getting Real, and we are very happy that she will be staying with us as we pivot our upcoming efforts. Maggie will be working with the entire IDA team to coordinate our rapid response and bring the values and vision of the Getting Real Conference into our everyday work. 

We look forward to sharing space (albeit virtual) and conversations with all of you in the coming weeks and months as we learn to navigate these evolving waters together. We are starting this process by listening to you. We want to hear what you are going through and how you are adjusting to this moment we find ourselves in. If you have something to share, please do so via the form at the end of this page. Your experiences are extremely valuable to us as we plan our next steps.

It seems an apt time to revive the Getting Real motto from 2016 as a sign-off,

Together. Stronger.

Be safe and be well.