IDA’s “Awards Spotlight” event at Netflix’s quarters in Beverly Hills, organized by Amy Jelenko , was out of the ordinary. The spectacular staging was part and parcel of the panel’s presentation. While we listen to stories behind the scenes of four accomplished documentarians – Brian McGinn (Amanda Knox, Chef’s Table,) Ava Du Berney (13th,) Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U) and Ryan White (The Keepers) – moderated by IDA’s Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry, the eye wandered through a multitude of lights, sounds and shapes. The catering added delight to the senses.
Documentarians are an extraordinary mix of artists-journalists with a passion for the truth, no matter how bitter that may be. Quite frequently they risk their lives to get the footage, of which a small fraction is distilled through long days of editing. A sample story was provided to us by John McDonald, director of “Mule,” now in post-production. Pilar Galvez also had interesting stories related to her Latin-American background. To observe a group like this in that kind of atmosphere was more than unusual: it was surreal.