A correction was made to this article on Oct. 13, 2003.
The Intl. Documentary Assn. has tapped filmmaker and educator Michael Rabiger to receive its Preservation and Scholarship Award.
Kudos will be presented during the 19th annual IDA Achievement Awards ceremony Dec. 12 at the Directors Guild of America Theater.
“Michael Rabiger has had an incomparable influence on an entire generation of documentary students, filmmakers and fans,” said IDA president Michael Donaldson. “In addition to directing and producing more than 20 BBC documentaries, he taught documentary filmmaking for more than three decades. Among his many writings are the ‘Directing the Documentary’ and ‘Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics,’ books that are used by schools and professional filmmakers worldwide.”
Donaldson says the IDA Scholarship and Preservation Award is reserved for an individual or organization that has made substantial and enduring contributions to nonfiction filmmaking.
Rabiger became an assistant film editor in 1956 at age 17 and went on to work on 12 feature films at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. In 1962 he moved to television documentaries, editing 30 films for BBC, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), Granada Television and others; between 1967-1972, he directed 21 docs in six countries for the BBC.
Rabiger migrated to America in 1972 to teach at Columbia College Chicago; in the late 1980s he published the first editions of “Directing the Documentary” and “Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics.” He later published “Developing Story Ideas.”
In 1996, Rabiger became chair of Columbia’s Film/Video Dept., which had grown to 1,700 students. Department’s docu center was renamed the Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary in 2001.
“To be recognized by the IDA with this award is very moving and surprising for me,” he said. “I think of myself as someone who works quietly and privately as a writer and as an educator with students, and so to be recognized for that is extraordinary.”