In this instant-gratification-60-character-status-update age, it may seem a little odd to be writing up my reflections on a film festival which ended three weeks ago. But it has taken me that long to collect my thoughts and impressions of the 2009 SilverDocs Documentary Film Festival. And, although I have attended the festival every year since it began in 2003, this year was a bit different. For it was the first year where I would be attending as someone with a foot fully in the documentary world, not as a sideline project. It might seem like attending this year as the full-time Executive Director of Docs In Progress would create a different set of expectations for me. But in reality, I had few expectations. Mostly because I had so little time to create them.
It is hard to believe that it has been nearly five years since Docs In Progress screened its first two documentary works in progress. Swing dancing and China's Cultural Revolution were the topics we started with and we have continued to work with a diversity of films and filmmakers through screenings, consultations, classes, and other professional development activities to help them be the best they can be. While we have not focused formally on helping our alumni stay connected with each other, a few of them have decided to take things into their own hands. And we couldn't be happier. Saltanat Berdikeeva, who has participated in a few of our classes and is organizing the first Docs In Progress Alumni Happy Hour, wanted to convey to her fellow alumni why she feels an alumni network is so important. So we have given her the floor of our blog to reach out.