The IDA Documentary Awards took place last Friday in Los Angeles and Independent Lens films received high honors. Series Producer and ITVS Vice President Lois Vossen was on hand and filed this report to BTB. From the beginning, it was clear this would not be your usual staid awards ceremony. Director Morgan Spurlock and Eddie Schmidt, president of the IDA Board, opened the show clothed only in Turkish towels in a skit to spoof the nominated documentary Steam of Life. Spurlock and Schmidt continued the fun throughout the evening, interspersing skits for all five featured films nominated for best documentary.
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger shared a heartfelt speech about the advocacy work undertaken on his behalf by other filmmakers and the IDA when a court ruling ordered him to turn over 600 hours of footage he shot for his film Crude to Shell Oil. Berlinger's comments are a testament to the importance of the work we do collectively when we unite as the independent film community. Of course it was a great night for Independent Lens, with our films winning all of the first five awards handed out. First, Duane Baughman and Johnny O'Hara accepted the ABC News Videosource Award for Bhutto.
Stuart Copeland of The Police then handed out the IDA Music Documentary Award to Jim Bigham for his film For Once In My Life (two additional IL films were nominated in this category: Thunder Soul by Mark Landsman and When I Rise by Matt Hames, Michael Rosen, and James Moll).
The IDA Pare Lorentz Award went to Lucy Walker for Waste Land. Jeff Malmberg the director of Marwencol was honored with the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Filmmaker Award. Then, Connie Field received the Distinguished Limited Series Award for Have You Heard from Johannesburg? which will air next season on Independent Lens.
Lucy Walker came back on stage at the end of the ceremony to accept the final award of the evening for best documentary feature, also for Waste Land. Many filmmakers who have worked with ITVS and Independent Lens were in attendance of course at this annual celebration recognizing the best of the best. Horrendous Los Angeles traffic couldn't keep us from coming together to acknowledge and celebrate a remarkable year of documentary film.
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