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November 16, 2020

Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of IDA to Step Down in 2021

Los Angeles, CA (Monday, November 16, 2020) – The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced that executive director, Simon Kilmurry, will step down in mid-2021. Kilmurry joined IDA in 2015 after serving as executive director of American Documentary and executive producer of the PBS series’ POV and America ReFramed.

During his tenure at IDA, the organization launched the Enterprise Documentary Fund with funding support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and established the Logan Elevate Grants to support emerging women filmmakers of color with support from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. IDA’s annual grantmaking now exceeds $1.3 million annually. Grantees have included Ramona Diaz (A Thousand Cuts), Loira Limbal (Through the Night), Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham (Crip Camp), Nanfu Wang and Lynn Zhang (One Child Nation), Marjan Safinia and Grace Lee (And She Could Be Next), amongst many others.

IDA’s Getting Real filmmaker conference grew to become a cornerstone event in the industry serving as a venue to explore challenges and opportunities faced by the documentary community. Attendance at IDA’s 2020 virtual edition of Getting Real was the highest ever with over 3,100 participants from 50+ countries. In addition, IDA’s membership grew by 300% and its annual budget increased 175%. 

IDA’s advocacy work also expanded in support of filmmakers’ rights internationally, including serving as the plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit against the Trump administration’s visa requirements in partnership with Doc Society, the Knight First Amendment Institute and the Brennan Center for Justice.

The IDA Documentary Awards has continued to grow in stature and is seen as a bellwether during awards season identifying which documentaries will garner the attention of the Academy. (The IDA Documentary Awards will take place virtually in January 2021.) IDA’s screening series grew in scale and expanded to New York in 2019.

IDA expanded and deepend coverage of the field through Documentary magazine and on, and in 2019 established a documentary editorial fellowship to foster and support new voices covering the field.

The IDA Board of Directors has established a committee to search for a new executive director chaired by James Costa and Lauren Lexton, co-vice presidents of IDA’s Board, 

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the past few years,” said Kilmurry. “IDA’s reach and impact has grown exponentially thanks to the incredible contributions of my colleagues and the board of directors. I’m happy to leave IDA as a more vital and stronger organization on every measure and know it will continue to have an immense impact on our field.”

“The IDA will continue to be a leader in the field because of the legacy that Simon Kilmurry leaves behind for us to carry forward. Simon has been transformative for this organization and has positioned the IDA to thrive for many more years to come” said IDA Board President Brenda Robinson. “Our Board of Directors will always have tremendous gratitude, not only for the impact that his work has had on our organization, but also for the impact that his presence has had on each of us personally who have all had the honor of working with him during this important moment in the history of the organization.”