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Notes from the Reel World: The Board President's Column, Winter 2009

By diane estelle Vicari

Dear IDA Community:

As a nation, we recently lived through a historical moment. The 2008 US elections demonstrated that when diverse voices band together and fight, change happens. The ripple effect of our actions as individuals and as a people has resonated throughout the world.

The IDA community is no exception. I invite you to unite in celebrating IDA’s many accomplishments. The terrain and business of filmmaking is once again changing and opportunities are on the horizon for all. It is a time of limitless possibilities for art and artists, and we must seize it! We have witnessed IDA skillfully weather many challenges over the last few years, and despite the chilling climate in the nonprofit sector, we have thrived and we have passionately created solutions for filmmakers.

We at IDA have advocated on your behalf, and we continue to play an active role in Fair Use by changing its landscape. In collaboration with our European partners, we supported the expansion of its practice on an international level. In 2007, Fair Use riders were introduced and are now available to E&O insurance policies. Pursuant to Fair Use, we are seeking an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a crime to break the locks on DVDs. The Orphan Works Act of 2006, Bill HR5439, is currently pending to be considered by Committees and Congress.

Throughout, we have reached beyond our borders and expanded international alliances with our members from the Americas, as well as Europe and Asia.

We have built a new infrastructure for communication. We created an additional platform for Documentary, our quarterly magazine, as we redesigned and re-launched our website, The Internet offers us a range of alternative business models; with innovation on our part, we can actively participate in and bypass the traditional means of distribution, reach new audiences and, in the end, create new streams of revenue for our films.

“Our democracy is achieving an opportunity for new life and receiving new flows of energy because of the vitality and creativity of documentary filmmakers,” stated former US Vice President Al Gore, in his speech at the 2006 IDA Awards event. I consider being a documentarian a great privilege and believe that as filmmakers, as a community, we can bring about change. Yes, change can happen.

I have fulfilled a full three-year term as President of the IDA. I now step down with this spirit in heart and mind to renew my commitment to creating documentaries, and to the cause of our democratic spirit.

I shall always remain grateful for the opportunity to serve you.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and a renewed spirit for 2009!


diane estelle Vicari
IDA President