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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, April 2003

By Michael Donaldson

Dear IDA Members:

Once again, the Oscars Reception turned out to one of the highlights of the crazy awards season. Special thanks go to chair Rick Trank, co-chairs Lynne Littman and Bob Niemack, as well as Ann Hassett, Traci Lewis, Jeff Swimmer, diane estelle Vicari, Nancy Willen, Sarah Jo Marks and Sandra Ruch for all their hard work in producing the Oscars Reception. Thanks also to Sundance Channel for its sponsorship. And congratulations are due to IDA members Gail Dolgin, producer/director of Daughter from Danang; Jeffrey Blitz, producer/director of Spellbound; Alice Elliott, producer/director of The Collector of Bedford Street ; and Roger Weisberg, producer/director of Why Can't We be a Family Again? for their Academy Award nominations. I'd also like to mention that Spellbound and Why Can't We be a Family Again? did their qualifying run at DOCtober last year. 

You, too, can qualify for Academy Award consideration. Through our InFACT Film Series this August (formerly DOCtober), you can screen your documentary for seven days in Los Angeles to meet the primary requirement for eligibility. In addition, in order to satisfy new Academy rules for qualifying doc films for consideration (see, InFACT will include your film in a two-day booking in each of four cities, with paid advertising and promotion. We are working on lining up the four additional cities for the qualifying tour  The deadline for submissions is April 25.

One of the cities with which we have opened up a dialogue is Seattle. Our editor, Tom White, spoke to the board and staff of the Washington Commission for the Humanities, which is keen on developing the State of Washington as a region that's friendly for documentary filmmakers and conducive to documentary filmmaking. We hope to work with key players in that region in the near future.

Other cities that we are considering for the four-city tour include Minneapolis, Miami and Chicago. It is our aim to not only facilitate the qualifying process, but also develop relationships with like-minded organizations in those cities, and meet with IDA members there.

We hope you saw the IDA Awards Gala on the Sundance Channel on March 3. And no sooner had we wrapped up the IDA Awards when we crank them up again. The early deadline for submission of your film  is May 16; the final deadline is June 13.

To update all of you on the Documentary Credits Coalition's ongoing contention with the E.W. Scripps networks, just when things began to look bleak in December, they perked up in February. Scripps offered its website as a repository for artistic credits. While this scenario has never been acceptable to the DCC, it is an opening for discussion. We will keep you apprised as this scenario develops.



Michael C. Donaldson
IDA Board President