2009 IDA Amicus Award

Michael Donaldson is the recipient of the 2009 IDA Amicus Award

December 04, 2009

An honor bestowed on only two others in the 25-year history of the awards: Steven Spielberg and John Hendricks (founder of the Discovery Channel).

Michael is being recognized for the significant body of pro bono work he’s done on behalf of filmmakers.

Congratulations Michael!

Here’s what our clients have to say about the award:

“Well deserved, of course – we at Film Independent are very proud of you, and are the beneficiaries of all your experience!” Michael Winchester, Film Independent

“Thanks Michael for making our jobs as documentarians possible. Your dedication throughout the years has made documentaries more powerful and compelling due in great part to the fair use of footage and work that often keeps truth from being told. Congratulations!” David de Hilster, Director

“Lisa and the team at Callif Donaldson: A hearty congratulations to Michael! I’m glad to be represented by such a stellar organization.” Michael C. Thomas, Filmmaker

“Congratulations Michael, obviously the industry values talent and effort.” Steve Abram



The Best and The Brightest – Lisa A. Callif, Donaldson & Callif

December 1, 2011

Hollywood Law: Up Next – Profiles

 By Iain Blair, Todd Longwell, Karen Idelson, Michelle Weiss

Here’s a group of attorneys that stand above the crowd and represent the next generation of sharp legal minds in the entertainment business.

Lisa A. Callif
Donaldson & Callif
Southwestern University Law School, 2001

Callif’s central focus has been on repping independent filmmakers in areas ranging from financing to production to distribution. She also has extensive experience in an area key for documentarians — the fair-use doctrine as codified by U.S. Copyright Law. As a result, Callif spends considerable time doing clearance work as well as rendering fair-use opinion letters, making it possible for clients to use limited amounts of unlicensed material in their projects. Callif has worked on indie docus such as “I’m Still Here,” “Teenage Paparazzo,” “Waiting for Superman,” and “Inside Job.” She’s now working with Oliver Stone, Jason Blum and Elise Pearlstein on their projects. Callif especially enjoys helping to shepherd small films all the way from pre-production through completion. “It’s satisfying to be part of taking someone’s dream project through all the different stages of production and providing the kind of advice that can help make that happen,” says Callif.

Variety Article



Power Lawyers 2011 – Michael Donaldson, Donaldson & Callif

July 13, 2011 by THR staff

The Hollywood Reporter

Michael Donaldson

One of the fiercest advocates for documentary filmmakers and an expert on fair use law, Donaldson knows as well as anyone how much of a copyrighted work can be used without paying a license (although the answer, as he’ll tell you, is that no one knows for sure). He handled this year’s best documentary Oscar winner Inside Job as well as eight docs at Sundance. And he published the American Bar Association’s legal guide for independent filmmakers. He’s now helping British directors Richard Finney and Anthony Baxter make a documentary about Donald Trump’s efforts to build a golf complex in Scotland that many believe is negatively impacting the locals. “I’m helping them through the insurance process and dealing with claims,” he says. “It’s the old David vs. Goliath situation. I’m always up for that, if David is right and speaking the truth.”

OFF-DUTY The ultra-fit Donaldson has recently taken up “globe walking.” Huh? “They’re balls made of polyurethane, and once you get used to them, you can walk on them. I found a circus supply store and ordered one and taught myself.”

THR Article



Power Lawyers 2010 – Michael Donaldson, Donaldson & Callif

August 8, 2010 by Dan Busta




Don’t let the smiles fool you. These are Hollywood’s 100 fiercest advocates.

The e-mails arrive in our inbox every couple of weeks.

Someone is desperately — desperately! — looking for a great Hollywood lawyer. Maybe it’s an author fielding offers to turn her novel into a movie. Or a TV producer upset that a new reality show looks awfully similar to the concept he pitched a year ago. They invariably ask whether the editor of a blog devoted to entertainment law (THREsq.com) can offer a recommendation or two. Well, consider this issue to be one giant “reply all.”

For The Hollywood Reporter’s fourth edition of Power Lawyers, we researched the biggest deals and lawsuits of the year in film, television and music to zero in on the 100 attorneys who are most influencing the entertainment business. Only outside, private practice attorneys are eligible (no in-house studio, network or music-label execs), nor do we include guild or agency lawyers, professors or non-U.S. attorneys.

We’ve broken down the list into specialties (talent, litigation, corporate deal making and labor), hopefully creating a comprehensive resource filled only with great Hollywood lawyers. Still can’t find one? Please don’t shoot us an e-mail. — Matthew Belloni

THR Article