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Notes from the Reel World: The President's Column, February 2007

By diane estelle Vicari

Dear IDA Community:

Happy New Year! 2007 promises to be a milestone at the IDA as we fête our 25th anniversary!   

As tradition would have it, new beginnings are filled with promises! I for one prefer to lean towards intention. Looking back at this past year, we have clearly advanced beyond the goals we intended to reach and we continue fostering IDA's success.

At the 2006 IDA Awards Gala event in December, former US Vice President Al Gore delivered an inspirational speech. Here is an excerpt:

"There is one venue in which individuals empowered once again by a new technology can express ideas in a way that will capture the attention of a mass audience and communicate ideas in such a powerful way that it will motivate action. To connect images and words and sounds and movement and music and color and embed in that medium a sense of justice, a sense of outrage, a sense of celebration, joy and sorrow--the full range of emotions that need to be connected to the agenda of our time in order to bring people to the point where they will act.

Our democracy is, in my opinion, in trouble. I believe it is in serious trouble. The informed citizenry has become an audience. An audience that listens, but does not speak, that watches movement but does not move. And yet, when they are able to watch and listen and absorb the serious and compelling messages in documentary film, it offers a rare bypass of this structure of conformity and not silence, but...triviality.

Our democracy is achieving an opportunity for new life and receiving new flows of energy because of the vitality and creativity of documentary filmmakers."

We are dedicated to our mission--to serve and support your efforts and to promote the nonfiction genre--and we strive to heighten the public's awareness of and appreciation and demand for the documentary form. Our commitment to the rights of our constituents will continue to be at the forefront of our agenda. 

As we ended the year, a small group compromised of past IDA President Michael Donaldson, IDA Board member Robert Bahar, Film Independent President Vondie Curtis Hall, USC law student Frank Bynum and myself met with Congressman Howard L. Berman to continue our dialogue regarding the Orphan Works Act of 2006. Berman affirmed to us that, as with the Senate side, he has the orphan works bill as his top priority. 

In the end, the most important element in the longevity of IDA is you. Without your renewed membership, much of our work would be impossible. Only as a community can we can forge onward to effect the expansion of our genre and its many extensions.

I look forward to the year ahead!


With gratitude,

diane estelle Vicari
IDA President