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Posted December 15, 2006


IDA Names Top Documentaries Of 2006


Michael Coate


On Dec. 8, the International Documentary Association (IDA) honored distinguished achievements in the field of documentary filmmaking at an awards gala held at the Directors Guild of America Theatre in Los Angeles.

The evening’s opening remarks were provided by IDA Executive Director Sandra Ruch and IDA President diane estelle Vicari. “These awards are presented to individuals who have earned the respect of their peers for their extraordinary achievements,” said Vicari. “We believe they are the history of our times, and the conscience and soul of our global community. They are also a source of inspiration for filmmakers everywhere in the world with untold dreams.”

A special address was given by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, whose position on the controversial subject of global warming was the inspiration for “An Inconvenient Truth.”

James Longley’s “Iraq In Fragments” took top honors in the feature length documentary category. The other films nominated in the feature category were “Can Mr. Smith Get To Washington Anymore?,” “Deliver Us From Evil,” “Showbusiness: A Season To Remember” and “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.”

In the short documentary (40 minutes or less) category, Marcelo Bukin’s “Angel’s Fire” (“Fuego De Angel”) was given the top honor. Other nominated short films were “The Blood Of Yingzhou District,” “The Diary Of Immaculee,” “The Short History of Sweet Potato Pie & How It Became A Flying Saucer” and “The Wild Sheep, The Fox And Love.” The feature and short awards were presented by actor Morgan Freeman.

Oscar-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC was given the IDA Career Achievement Award. The award was presented by Jane Fonda, with whom Wexler collaborated on “Introduction To The Enemy” (1974) and “Coming Home” (1978). During a storied career, Wexler amassed over 30 documentary credits including “Medium Cool” (1969) and dozens of narrative credits, among them “In The Heat Of The Night” (1967), “American Graffiti” (1973), “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Matewan” (1987) and “Blaze” (1989). Wexler won Academy Awards for his work on “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” (1966) and “Bound For Glory” (1976). Recently, Wexler made the documentary “Who Needs Sleep?,” which addressed the subject of sleep deprivation that can result from the long and often excessive work hours film industry employees are expected to endure.

Davis Guggenheim was this year’s recipient of the Pare Lorentz Award for “An Inconvenient Truth.” Also awarded were “An Inconvenient Truth” producers Lawrence Bender, Laurie David and Scott Z. Burns. Presenting the award was actress Laura Dern. The Pare Lorentz Award was established to recognize a documentary filmmaker who best represents the activist spirit and lyrical vision of legendary documentary filmmaker Pare Lorentz.

Andrew Berends received the Courage Under Fire Award for “The Blood Of My Brother.” David Brancaccio, host of PBS’ “Now,” presented the award.

The IDA Preservation & Scholarship Award was given to scholar and cultural critic Dr. Patricia Aufderheide. The award was presented by former IDA President Michael C. Donaldson.

Christopher Quinn received the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award for “God Grew Tired Of Us.” The award was presented by actor Dermot Mulroney.

The David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award went to Carrie Lozano for “Reporter Zero,” which she produced as a student at the University of California Berkeley. The award was presented by Jessica Yu, Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker.

The award for Continuing Series was given to Mark Samels and Sharon Grimberg for PBS’ “American Experience.” This category is based upon four individual programs that best represent a series. The award for Limited Series (series of episodes with a specific continuing theme) went to Brent Renauld, Craig Renauld, Jon Alpert and Diana Sperazza for “Off To War.” Both awards were presented by actor Robert Wuhl.

Stanley Nelson won the ABCNEWS VideoSource Award for “Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple.” Presented by David N. Sheehan, Director, ABCNEWS VideoSource, this award is given to a filmmaker whose exemplary work is largely comprised of archival television news footage.

Visit to see a complete list of this year’s winners and nominees or to learn more about the International Documentary Association.

And now, some photos from the gala…


(L-R) IDA Executive Director Sandra Ruch; Kodak's Michael Zakula; 2006 IDA Career Achievement Award recipient Haskell Wexler, ASC; IDA President diane estelle Vicari; 2006 IDA Preservation & Scholarship Award recipient Dr. Patricia Aufderheide at Kodak's annual luncheon that preceded the awards gala


IDA President diane estelle Vicari congratulates Pare Lorentz Award recipient director Davis Guggenheim for "An Inconvenient Truth" at the luncheon


IDA President diane estelle Vicari (left) and IDA Executive Director Sandra Ruch congratulate filmmaker James Longley ("Iraq in Fragments") at the luncheon


Actress Andie MacDowell ("Four Weddings And A Funeral," "Sex, Lies, And Videotape") was among the celebrities who attended the event


IDA Executive Director Sandra Ruch (left) and IDA President diane estelle Vicari flank former Vice President Al Gore at the pre-awards reception


(L-R) Former Vice President Al Gore chatting with Laurie David ("An Inconvenient Truth") and Larry David ("Seinfeld," "Curb Your Enthusiasm")


Actress Jane Fonda ("9 To 5," "Coming Home") and cinematographer Haskell Wexler, ASC ("Medium Cool," "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?")


Terry Lynn (#1 Haskell Wexler fan) and Haskell Wexler, ASC


Al Gore speaks with a reporter


"An Inconvenient Truth" team of (L-R) Lawrence Bender, Al Gore, Davis Guggenheim, Scott Z. Burns


(L-R) Christopher Quinn ("God Grew Tired Of Us"); James Longley ("Iraq In Fragments"); Davis Guggenheim ("An Inconvenient Truth"); Stanley Nelson ("Jonestown: The Life And Death Of Peoples Temple"); Carrie Lozano ("Reporter Zero"); Andrew Berends ("The Blood Of My Brothers"); Dr. Patricia Aufderheide (IDA Preservation & Scholarship Award); diane estelle Vicari (IDA President); Haskell Wexler, ASC (IDA Career Achievement Award); Mark Samels ("American Experience"); Marcelo Bukin ("Angel's Fire"); Brent and Craig Renaud ("Off To War"); Sandra Ruch (IDA Executive Director)

Photo Credits:
1. Lisa Muldowney/courtesy of CCS PR Inc.
2. Michael Coate
3. Kayte Deioma/courtesy of CCS PR Inc.

Special thanks to Lisa Muldowney and CCS PR Inc.






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