People/Biz

International Documentary Association plots digital plans in midst of “unrecognizable landscape”

 The International Documentary Association (IDA) is the latest institution to make a shift to digital programs in the midst of the global COVID-19 outbreak. In an email to members, executive director Simon Kilmurry (pictured) put forward ...
March 23, 2020

 The International Documentary Association (IDA) is the latest institution to make a shift to digital programs in the midst of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

In an email to members, executive director Simon Kilmurry (pictured) put forward thoughts on how the organization will coordinate IDA’s organizing efforts while addressing the current challenges facing the entertainment field.

“We have paused in this moment to ask ourselves the original questions that prompted the first Getting Real Conference in 2014: How can we come together as members of a documentary ecosystem to learn from, support and inspire one another? How can we transform what can be an isolating endeavor into a community endeavor? How do we respond to changes in the world and the way they affect our storytelling, and how do we build a more sustainable and equitable field that allows critically important storytellers to weather any storm? These questions are more pressing than ever, but the landscape for our work looks almost unrecognizable at this point,” Kilmurry said in a statement.

The company’s first steps in adapting to the ongoing coronavirus situation will be to shift immediate focus to “creating opportunities and platforms for the documentary community to adapt to the new global landscape” by vetting and consolidating resources, and advocating for documentary inclusion in relief efforts and funds. IDA will also help facilitate dialogue amongst filmmakers, funders, festivals and the industry at large.

In addition, the association has restructured its 2020 Getting Real conference – headed by program director Maggie Bowman – into an online event convening from Sept. 22-24. The IDA said it hopes that the digital conference will host “productive virtual sessions”, though the extent of the conference has yet to be determined.

The in-person conference in Los Angeles, meanwhile, has been postponed to May 2021 or later “as circumstances require.

“We look forward to sharing space (albeit virtual) and conversations with all of you in the coming weeks and months as we learn to navigate these evolving waters together. We are starting this process by listening to you,” Kilmurry added. “We want to hear what you are going through and how you are adjusting to this moment we find ourselves in. If you have something to share, please do so via this form. Your experiences are extremely valuable to us as we plan our next steps.”

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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