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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, November 2000

By David Haugland

Dear IDA Members:

With this issue of International Documentary we celebrate the first IDA Awards of a new century. So it is fitting that at this moment IDA recognize the rich heritage of the documentary and look ahead to its future.

This year IDA presents the Career Achievement Award to Charles Guggenheim in his 50th year as a filmmaker. During those five decades, he has produced more than 80 documentaries on subjects as diverse as American architecture, the Johnstown flood, D-Day, the civil rights movement and the First Amendment. Three of his films are on permanent display at the Harry S. Truman. Lyndon B. Johnson, and John F. Kennedy libraries, where they are seen by millions of people annually.

Mr. Guggenheim is a much honored filmmaker, with a dozen Oscar nominations, four Oscars, and the George Foster Peabody Award to his credit. Upon hearing of the IDA Award, he said, "I've received a lot of recognition from important organizations and I'm grateful for that, but this award is special to me because it comes from my peers who are dedicated to this important form of storytelling." His life, work and story are inspiring to us all. We proudly honor Mr. Guggenheim for his life-long contribution to documentaries.

IDA's Preservation and Scholarship Award recognizes The Film Foundation on the 10th anniversary of its founding. The Film Foundation is the inspired creation of eight of Hollywood's finest filmmakers: Martin Scorsese, with Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford and Steven Spielberg, joined shortly thereafter by Robert Altman and Clint Eastwood. The Film Foundation is committed to fostering greater awareness of the urgent need to preserve motion picture history.

In just a decade, the Foundation has raised and distributed over $4 million to member archives: Academy Film Archive, George Eastman House, Library of Congress. MoMA, UCLA Film & Television Archive and affiliated organizations National Center for Film & Video Preservation and the National Film Preservation Foundation. At least 10 documentaries in the IDA/Academy Documentary Archive have been restored with Foundation support, including Primary and Crisis by 1993 Career Achievement Awardee Robert Drew.

From a statement about the Foundation's challenges of the future: "Because they have less obvious commercial potential, there remains a struggle to preserve 'orphan' films: newsreels, documentaries, home movies, experimental and avant-garde, and other independent productions." We proudly honor The Film Foundation for its visionary efforts to preserve motion pictures. And, of course, this year we will be honoring documentaries and filmmakers for their distinguished work during the past year in various categories: Feature Documentaries, Short DocumentariesStrand Program, Limited Series, Television Magazine Segment, Student Documentaries, and ABCNews VideoSource and Pare Lorentz Awards.

And, as in previous years, the IDA membership will come together to celebrate all of this year's honorees at the 16th Annual IDA Awards Gala in Los Angeles. Congratulations to all of this year's award nominees and recipients. Thank you for distinguishing the documentary field!


Very sincerely,

David Haugland,
IDA President