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Notes from the Reel World: The President's Column, May-June 2007

By diane estelle Vicari

Dear IDA Community:

When I first joined the International Documentary Association as a volunteer in the early '90s, never did I dream that I would be at the helm of IDA while celebrating its Silver Anniversary! 

Reflecting on my years with IDA, I am filled with reverence for our community, as it continues to be a constant source of inspiration. The many voices in this community are essential catalysts to the health of our democratic culture. They empower us in our ability to make choices about our lives, as well as choices regarding our relationship to the world around us. 

IDA's 25th will be a year of celebration as well as a year of action. Over the last few years, IDA led the way with the Documentary Credits Coalition, took an active role in pushing Orphan Works legislation through the US Congress and worked with American University on the Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. Committed to our role as your advocate, we are pleased to announce a historic breakthrough in our struggle to tell our stories. 

Up to now, it has been virtually impossible to obtain insurance to cover Fair Use. For almost two years, we've been working to find an insurance company willing to take this on. Thanks to the efforts of past IDA President Michael Donaldson, MediaPro Insurance will be offering a Fair Use rider to its E&O insurance policies so that all of us will be able to purchase protection for the film clips, posters, photos and other material that we use under the doctrine of Fair Use.

This year, IDA also celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the IDA/Pare Lorentz Award. We will be launching the Pare Lorentz Festival, in which the award recipients of the last ten years, as well as the works of Pare Lorentz, will be screened. I am also thrilled to announce the establishment of the Pare Lorentz $25,000 Finishing Fund Grant. This money will be awarded to a filmmaker to help complete a film that focuses on Lorentz's concerns regarding issues of social justice and the environment.

Last but certainly not least, an essential element to our storytelling that is too often overlooked is music. For many years, we at the IDA have witnessed many documentary films quite deserving of recognition in regard to their musicality. The 2007 IDA/Alan Ett Music Documentary Award will be given to an "outstanding documentary about music and/or one illustrating exemplary creativity in the use of music in a documentary." Details of all of the above will be posted on our website shortly.

So, if you have been considering renewing your membership, and/or are looking for a reason to return to the community, I can't think of a better year to do so! 



diane estelle Vicari
IDA President