By Ray Pride

IDA To Honor Alex Gibney, Laura Poitras and Geralyn Dreyfous

International Documentary Association To Honor Alex Gibney, Laura Poitras and Geralyn Dreyfous at 29th Annual IDA Awards Gala on December 6, 2013  At the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles

 LOS ANGELES, September 25, 2013 – The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced top honorary awards for the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards today. The 29th Annual IDA Documentary Awards will be held on Friday, December 6th at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles.

The IDA will present its prestigious 2013 Career Achievement Award to Academy Award®- and Emmy Award-winning director, producer and writer Alex Gibney. Gibney is prolific filmmaker known for his uncompromising and in-depth profiles of influential public figures and his investigation of critical topics of our times. He premiered two films in 2013, including: The Armstrong Lie, an exposition of the myth and reality of Lance Armstrong, and We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, a profile of the controversial media figure Julian Assange. Included in Gibney’s award-winning body of work are feature documentaries: Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012), which recently won three Emmy Awards including the award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking 2013; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010), for which Gibney received a DGA Award nomination for Best Director; and Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), which won an Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature, an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Research, a Best Director nomination from the DGA and a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Screenplay. Gibney also received an Academy Award® nomination for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005).


The IDA Career Achievement Award is given to a filmmaker who has made a major impact on the documentary genre through a long and distinguished body of work. In previous years, the IDA has bestowed its Career Achievement Award on documentary luminaries such as Barbara Kopple, Errol Morris, Michael Moore and Werner Herzog.


The organization’s Amicus Award will be presented to Geralyn Dreyfous. Dreyfous’ executive producing and producing credits include the Academy Award®-winning Born Into Brothels (2004), the Academy Award®-nominated The Invisible War (2012), the Emmy-nominated The Day My God Died (2003) as well as 2013’s The Square and The Crash Reel. Dreyfous is the Founder/ Board Chair of the Utah Film Center, a charter member of the Utah Coalition for Film and Media, and co-founder, with Dan Cogan, of Impact Partners Film Fund, an organization that brings financiers and filmmakers together to create documentaries focused on social change. Impact Partners has been involved in the financing of over 30 films, including several Academy Award®-winning documentaries. Dreyfous has a wide background in the arts, long experience in consulting in the philanthropic sector and is active on many boards and initiatives.


The IDA Amicus Award acknowledges friends of the documentary genre who have contributed significantly to our industry. This significant award has been given only three other times in the 29-year history of the IDA Documentary Awards, to Michael Donaldson, John Hendricks and Steven Spielberg.


Laura Poitras will receive IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award, in recognition of “conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth.” This award is presented to documentary filmmakers by their peers for putting freedom of speech—represented in the crafts of documentary filmmaking and journalism—above all else, even their own personal safety. Along with Glenn Greenwald, Poitras broke the story of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealing the PRISM program.  Poitras is working on a trilogy of films about America post 9/11.  The first film, My Country, My Country (2006), was nominated for an Academy Award®, Independent Spirit Award and Emmy Award.  The second film, The Oath (2010), received a Gotham Award for Best Documentary, the Sundance Film Festival Award for Excellence in Cinematography for Documentaries and the award for Outstanding Achievement in Direction at the Cinema Eye Honors.  She is currently editing the third film of the trilogy, a documentary about NSA surveillance.


Past recipients of the Courage Under Fire Award include Jonathan Stack and James Brabazon, Andrew Berends, Saira Shah and Christiane Amanpour.


“The outstanding individuals IDA has chosen to honor this year represent the very best of our thriving documentary filmmaking community,” said IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin. “The dedication of Gibney, Poitras and Dreyfous to the art and craft of nonfiction storytelling has contributed greatly to expanding our understanding of the shared human experience and creating a more informed, compassionate and connected world.”

A full list of nominees for the IDA Documentary Awards will be announced in late October with winners announced at the December 6th IDA Documentary Awards Gala.

For more information on the IDA Documentary Awards, tickets and sponsorship opportunities go to:


About the IDA Documentary Awards

The annual IDA Documentary Awards Gala is the world’s most prestigious award event solely dedicated to documentary film. For almost three decades, IDA has produced this annual celebration to recognize the most groundbreaking documentary films of the year. In addition to honoring both individuals and organizations for outstanding achievements in documentary filmmaking and contributions to the field, the IDA Documentary Awards also recognize the year’s best documentary productions.


About the International Documentary Association

Founded in 1982, the International Documentary Association (IDA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that provides resources, creates community, and defends rights and freedoms for documentary artists, activists, and journalists.Our major program areas are: Advocacy, Filmmaker Services, Education, and Public Programs and Events. We provide up-to-date news, information and community through our website,, our various special events, and our quarterly publication, Documentary Magazine.


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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin