In Z Hood June 2018:
We Z People — Coming to Alexandria
By Kelly MacConomy
Ida Sjöberg Dahlgren comes from a small town about 20 minutes outside Stockholm, Sweden that you likely never heard of: Tullinge. Much like Del Ray, Tullinge is a suburb of the Swedish Capitol, boasting quaint houses and streets lined by friendly shops and restaurants, where you know the owners and staff and where in turn everyone knows your name.
Ida joined the staff at Istrico Productions in Del Ray last August coming from Santa Barbara where she spent the last three years in film school. Ida brings a keen, fresh eye to film making and has fast become a vital team member of the local award-winning production company. Ida has spearheaded numerous pro-bono film projects in the city including Vice Mayor Justin Wilson’s Mayoral candidacy announcement, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria annual report video, the 2018 Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Gala as well as the tribute to beloved former Mayor and State Senator Patsy Ticer hosted by the Alexandria Commission for Women.
Working on the Patsy Ticer video was a labor of love for Ida not only because it was an honor to do so but because she also had the opportunity to work with Living Legend Pat Miller. Pat needs no introduction in Alexandria. Everyone knows Pat. Her contributions to the quality of life in Del Ray and dedication to the entire Alexandria community know no bounds. Pat is fond of saying that Del Ray especially, and Alexandria as a whole, is a collection of front-porch neighborhoods disguised as a city. Pat Miller helped put Del Ray on the map.
Ida and Pat worked very closely on the tribute to Patsy. Together they identified interview subjects, drafted questions, conducted interviews and pored through archival photos, film footage and decades of research material. Ultimately, Ida single-handedly assembled, scripted and produced the tribute to one of Alexandria’s greatest ladies and most beloved citizens, alongside Pat Miller.
Anthony Istrico, president and founder of Istrico Productions and an Alexandria 2018 Forty Under Forty honoree, observed, “To see Pat and Ida work so closely together to share the history of Patsy and Alexandria really expanded upon the idea of community in my mind. Here are two women from very different backgrounds, and very different in general, coming together to profile a pioneering woman in Virginia politics for the Women’s Commission. To me it was another instance of Pat Miller giving back, mentoring and bringing people like Ida into the Alexandria community.”
Ida has worked for a wide variety clients with a focus on healthcare, technology and education. She brings a breadth of expertise that complements the outstanding creative and technological team partnered with Anthony at Istrico Productions. For Ida, working with such a high caliber of talent in a place like Del Ray was a dream come true. “For a very long time I have wanted to use the knowledge I have in video and media productions to bring awareness to important and innovative topics. Through the projects at Istrico Productions I’ve had the opportunity to work with people from all over the US that are true innovators and advocates in many different areas.”
Being so close to DC, Ida says, “Alexandria is the best of both worlds. You have access to the city but you don’t necessarily live in the middle of everything.” The one common thread Ida has noted is the profound sense of community and acceptance of diversity here. “That is something that has been consistent in all the projects I have worked on that are connected to Alexandria. Everyone has been very supportive and willing to share their story with me, a person they just met. And afterwards they have made me feel as if am a local to Alexandria”.
Ida recollects that she especially appreciated the patience shown to her at Let’s Meat On The Avenue as she regularly struggled to make quick conversions from grams to pounds or ounces when shopping for ground meat, her mother’s Swedish meatball recipe in hand.
When asked what Ida missed about living in Santa Barbra she noted that it was very different from the forests and pristine lakes of her homeland. And she undoubtedly missed the ocean as well as the sunsets. Wondering if she lamented leaving the quintessential wine country of Central Coastal California, Ida deftly noted that Anthony was introducing her to the increasingly expansive array of quaffable Virginia wines and even ventured out west to one or two of Anthony’s preferred vino destinations in the Shenandoah Valley he calls home away from home.
All of us at the Zebra extend Ida a great big Port City welcome. Ida represents the courage and promise of chasing a dream. Making your way in the world today really does take everything you’ve got. Alexandria is a diverse city where people aren’t all the same except in generosity of heart and lending a helping hand. Now everyone knows Ida’s name. And we’re really glad she came!