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Notes From The Reel World, Fall 2020

By Brenda Robinson

Dear IDA Community,

We are in an extraordinary time. I have been asked many times how one can process what is happening in America at this moment in history. I have shared my belief that the combination of this strange confluence of events that has caused so much economic hardship, racial disparities that long existed being brought to the surface in the most spectacular way through the coronavirus, along with general feelings of restlessness and hopelessness, has led to this moment. It seems that in every season we deal with a new tragedy. But because these prior incidents appeared to happen one at a time, people expressed their outrage, the most passionate response was largely limited to members of the impacted community itself, then things would dissipate.

But behold the power of citizen journalism. This time, because there have been several incidents back to back, in a climate of deeply pronounced division, we no longer have the luxury of time and a long summer to allow things to calm down and die down. The hopeful and hoped-for difference here is that we, as a collective, are motivated even more to speak up and speak out. Unapologetic and unashamed to do what is right.

My faith in the inherent power of people to instinctively do good is what sustains me in these moments. Because of the generosity of spirit of those who are truly committed to being impactful—not with words and statements of solidarity that are limited in their power, but through their actions and the concrete steps taken to effect meaningful change—reminds that we do not have to be alone in this. I believe in striving to live life in a way that sets an example of what is possible when good people combine their resources to create opportunity, a seat at the table. I am thankful for all of our brothers and sisters in the movement, as well as for our allies.

The news cycle will inevitably move away from this moment. Our challenge, then, is to make sure that we do not allow our work and mission to be lost.

I am fortunate that I can be a part of a group of committed people who care so deeply about using our resources to be impactful in our community of storytellers. IDA will continue to be a house of refuge for the community we serve—a place for storytellers to lay their cares, and to know that they have a home here, that they have advocates here. We will do our part as an organization to make sure that we manage who the gatekeepers get to be in this industry. We will work to eradicate the inequality that still exists with respect to how funding is distributed and how projects are curated, while working to level the playing field with respect to acquisitions.

Because when the playing field is even, and the goals are clear, and the rules are public, and the referees are fair, everyone has a chance to win.

With gratitude,



Brenda Robinson, IDA Board President