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IDA Officially Opens New York Office

By Susan Berry

June 28th, 1999 marked a new watershed for the International Documentary Association, when the New York documentary community banded together to officially welcome the East Coast office of the IDA. Hosted by HBO, in conjunction with the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, our rooftop party was treated to a stunning view of the classic Oscar winner, All About Eve which was projected across a giant screen. Over 150 guests attended this opening gala, including many of our East Coast members, Board of Trustees, Board of Directors as well as a number of TV and film company executives from HBO, The History Channel , etc., who joined with an enthusiastic audience to toast our new home at 73 Spring Street, in downtown Soho.

The establishment of an East Coast office has been a long-time ambition of the IDA, and its initiation reflects the success of our organization, and that of the industry as a whole. A substantial portion of our membership (over 20%) reside on the East Coast and can now expect a regional liaison for support.

In recent years, the East Coast film scene has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of organizations dedicated to various facets of independent filmmaking. This in part. reflects the re-emergence of New York City as a major international economic and cultural center and reflects the city's ability to attract and inspire new talent. In establishing a presence on the Eastern Seaboard, we hope to bring programs and events closer to the global documentary community and, in providing more support to our membership, we hope to be able to help strengthen the industry as a whole. The IDA will strive to bridge the distance between individuals and organizations that are separated by distance, purpose and access to resources.

Although all existing membership benefits (e.g. Fiscal Sponsorship Program, etc.) will continue to be administered from our LA headquarters, our new office will field inquiries and provide general support. At this juncture, the IDA will concentrate on introducing selective aspects of our existing services to the East Coast. Special events such as DocuFest and HBO's Frame by Frame Festival are also planned.

Intense collaboration in the way of inter-group activities with sister organizations are planned for Fall 1999. IDA aims to support the documentary community by supplementing, rather than supplanting existing services. Slated for September 1999 is The Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) in which the IDA plans to host a panel on September 24th at 11:00 a.m.. Following our panel discussion, the IDA and Docuclub will host a special reception for documentary filmmakers, VIP's and IDA/DocuClub members.

Our classic programs such as the Seminar Series are now available for our East Coast members. At the end of April 1999, we held our very first Seminar Series in New York City sponsored by Eastman Kodak. Our West Coast collection of professional seminars that focused on Budgeting, Directing & Shooting, Fiscal Sponsorship & Grant-seeking, and Research, Clips & Clearances was introduced to the East Coast. We're looking forward to offering this, and much more, to our membership on an annual basis.