By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 5, 2009 at 8:36AM
Friday I interviewed It's Complicated writer-director Nancy Meyers by phone, Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner by Flip Cam, and went to a Paramount Lovely Bones cocktail party at the Four Seasons. There I talked to Stanley Tucci and photographed him with Peter Jackson, who I will talk to later this weekend. Then I ran off to the International Documentary Awards, which were taking place at the same time as the first screening of Avatar (Arrggh) for the Hollywood Foreign Press. Word on the street at the IDA party: Avatar's a 161-minute movie with fab visual effects and adolescent story. I won't see it until the 10th, alas.
The announcement of the IDA winners was posted online at 8 PM PST, just as the ceremony was beginning. The big winner was Sacha Gervasi’s Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which won both music and best feature awards (the full list of winners is at indieWIRE.com), but did not make the Oscar short list. "We are living proof that dreams do come true," said drummer Rob Reiner.
Here's my impromptu low-light interview with Anvil:
Host Ira Glass helped to keep things moving through a long night of earnest sincerity. "We're bombarded by stories like no people who have ever lived," he said, on the internet, radio, TV. "Watching documentaries, you see how rare it is with most stories we consume to enter the lives of complete strangers so deeply and intimately."
As Stanford student Peter Jordan accepted an award for The First Kid to Learn English from Mexico, Glass quipped, "I was 19 when I started making documentaries. I hope he's ready for a life where you don't make much money."
Philip Glass paid tribute to achievement award winner Errol Morris, for whom he composed three of his best scores, for The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History of Time and The Fog of War. "He's been vilified and glorified. What more can an artist hope for?" asked Glass, revealing that Morris dropped out of Julliard and still plays the cello. "With Errol there's a lot of heavy lifting. When I get a call from Errol I'm always ready to go. No one works harder. He sets the bar very high. And sets it just as high for you. At that point there's only one way to go. Up."
Author of the indie filmmakers bible, Clearance & Copyright, attorney Michael Donaldson earned rousing applause accepting the Amicus Award for his many hours of pro bono work on behalf of indie filmmakers, fighting for fair use. "I do this work because documentary filmmakers are my hero," he said. "Documentary filmmakers are the truth tellers today."