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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Winter 2022

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

As IDA commemorates 40 years in the documentary space, we’ve witnessed a tsunami of change around us, from the art to the business, to the transformation of the community to a front-and-center manifestation of what democracy truly looks like. And we’ve done our best to morph accordingly—and hopefully by riding the tsunami, rather than by chasing it.

This is my third go-round in creating a commemorative issue, and I'm never one to replicate the territory I’ve trodded before. In fact, after saluting our 20th and 25th birthdays, I skipped the 30th and 35th toasts. But 40 sounds like, well, middle age—but in a good way, when, Janus-like, we take stock of what we’ve done, and look ahead to the at-once bright and daunting future.

Looking back, we spotlight two of our most cherished programs. The IDA Documentary Awards has, for most of our history, honored the game-changers of the form, while expanding our swath of categories to accommodate the many manifestations this form has taken. We reached out to some of the winners over the decades to share their thoughts of what an IDA Documentary Award has meant for their careers, and what they’ve been doing since.

The IDA funding program is noting a little anniversary of its own. Well, two. In 2011, we started providing grants, courtesy of our Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund, and in 2017, we launched the Enterprise Documentary Fund. The grantees from those years reflect on how that support impacted their projects and careers.

The biggest sea change over the past four decades has been the evolution of the gear and how it has facilitated the practice, access and cost. We asked our members to dig into their archives for images of their younger selves with their vintage cameras.

And in looking ahead, we tapped into some of the best minds of our generation to deliver a collection of provocative essays about the form and our community—where we are now and where we’re headed.

Happy 40th, IDA!

Yours in actuality,

Tom White