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IDA exec director Simon Kilmurry to step down in 2021

The International Documentary Association (IDA) executive director Simon Kilmurry will step down in mid-2021, the organization said today (Nov. 16). IDA’s board of directors established a committee chaired by James Costa and Lauren Lexton, ...
November 16, 2020

The International Documentary Association (IDA) executive director Simon Kilmurry will step down in mid-2021, the organization said today (Nov. 16).

IDA’s board of directors established a committee chaired by James Costa and Lauren Lexton, co-vice presidents of the board, to search for a new executive director.

“I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished over the past five-plus years,” Kilmurry said in a statement. “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.”

Kilmurry (pictured) joined IDA in 2015 after serving as executive director of American Documentary and executive producer of PBS strands ‘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 US$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).

Under Kilmurry’s leadership, 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, and the IDA Awards has continued to grow in stature.

The organization’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.

IDA expanded and deepend coverage of the field through Documentary magazine and on documentary.org, and in 2019 established a documentary editorial fellowship to foster and support new voices covering the 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” IDA board president Brenda Robinson said in a statement. “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.”

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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