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Notes from the Reel World: The President's Column, Spring 2008

By diane estelle Vicari

A fresh and revitalizing energy filled the room at the Heineken/IDA documentary networking cocktail party during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, an event sponsored by Heineken beer. 

For a few hours, over sushi and drinks, stimulating conversations were shared among an international corps of members from our community. The debate over the writers strike, which has been the focus of the industry for several months in Los Angeles, was overshadowed by discussions of individualistic stories, funding prospects, finalizing of deals and, mostly, a strong desire to explore new ways of distribution.

On several screens throughout Park City, a wide range of subjects opened windows onto other worlds, and mostly onto our own. A consistent display of dedication, intelligence, perseverance, restraint and passion for the genre raised the bar of excellence with each new film.   

At IDA, we stay true to our mission to support these voices, while welcoming ongoing shifts on the documentary landscape. Continuing our ongoing advocacy work in support of the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices on Fair Use, and in alliance with the global community, IDA recently endorsed the Resolution on Freedom of Expression and Information in Documentaries.

In our efforts to promote and increase public appreciation and demand for documentaries, DocuWeekTM, IDA's theatrical documentary showcase, is devoted to helping filmmakers qualify their work for Academy Award consideration. In 2007, this unique program showcased the theatrical screenings of four of the Academy Award nominees: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine's War/Dance, an IDA/Alan Ett Music Award Documentary Award finalist; Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side, an IDA Feature Documentary Award finalist; Tim Sternberg's Salim Baba; and James Longley's Sari's Mother.  

Among some of the other Academy Awards nominees, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience was both a Pare Lorentz Award nominee and an IDA Feature Documentary Award finalist; SiCKO was an IDA Feature Documentary Award finalist; and Freeheld was an IDA Short Documentary Award finalist.

Celebrating outstanding achievement and honoring films and filmmakers are longstanding tenets of IDA's mission to promote the documentary form. Don't miss out on the opportunity to see all of the nominated documentaries during DocuDayTM on February 23 at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills. Join the community for a rare chance to meet the filmmakers at these screenings!

Congratulations to all of the Academy Award nominees!


diane estelle Vicari
IDA President