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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, July / August 2000

By David Haugland

Dear IDA Members:

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. And what could be better than spending a warm summer evening under the stars? Watching a great documentary about a great music legend under the stars and in the company of the filmmaker!

IDA has partnered with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Academy Film Archive to present a newly restored print of an important documentary film as part of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission "Summer Nights at the Ford."

The Ford, a 1,200-seat open-air amphitheatre set dramatically in Cahuenga Canyon just across ftom the Hollywood Bowl, is a Los Angeles landmark with a 70-year history in the performing arts. The current structure was built by the Works Proiects Administration out of poured concrete (in a style reminiscent of the gates of Jerusalem) after the original wooden structure was destroyed by fire. With the exception of a short term of duty as a servicemen's dormitory during World War II. it has been an outdoor performance space enjoyed by millions since re-opening in 1931.

For IDAs second year at the Ford, our evening will again combine great cinema and live performance. Our audience will be entertained with Duke Ellington music performed live and then treated to Duke himself on celluloid!

This year we are especially pleased to be presenting On The Road With Duke Ellington by Robert Drew. This rarely seen film about one of America's greatest jazz legends entertains and inspires as it captures the intensity of performance and the intimacy of composition. It is a gem of the documentary genre! 

The premiere screening of this newly restored print is courtesy ol the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Film Archive. Under the watchful eye and meticulous supervision of Michael Friend. Director of the Academy Film Archive, this is a milestone in the restoration and preservation of important documentary films. Our thanks to the Academy and Michael.

On The Road With Duke Ellington is especially significant in that it represents the first completed restoration of a film by Robert Drew since the acquisition of his life's work by the IDA/Academy Documentary Film Archive. With this collection now housed at the Archive, Bob's contribution to the documentary world, including films like Primary and Crisis, will be preserved and has a long life indeed.

Making our evening under the stars even more historic will be a personal appearance by Robert Drew. Bob is a longtime friend of the IDA and a filmmaker who needs no introduction with credits that include the extraordinary description as "President Kennedy's filmmaker." We are thrilled to have the opportunity at this event to present the IDA Mentor award to Bob for his lifelong contributions to documentary film and his self-less support of documentary filmmakers. Thank you, Bob. I look forward to seeing you at the Ford on Sunday, August 6, for a truly memorable evening under the summer stars!


David Haugland
IDA President

P.S. IDA is always looking tbr volunteers. talent and energy Give us a call.