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Al Jazeera English’s Poh Si Teng joins the International Documentary Association

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has appointed award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist Poh Si Teng as director of the IDA Funds and Enterprise Program. In the role, Teng (pictured) will be tasked with managing and building ...
February 1, 2021

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has appointed award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist Poh Si Teng as director of the IDA Funds and Enterprise Program.

In the role, Teng (pictured) will be tasked with managing and building out the non-profit organization’s grants portfolio. She will also work closely alongside IDA’s program officer Dana Merwin to serve as a key liaison with the documentary field, both domestically in the U.S. and globally.

Teng succeeds Carrie Lozano in the role. In September 2020, Lozano joined the Sundance Institute as director of the organization’s Documentary Film Program.

Prior to joining IDA, Teng served as a documentary commissioner and senior producer overseeing the Americas for Al Jazeera English’s flagship observational documentary strand, ‘Witness’. During her more than four-year tenure at AJE, she commissioned and produced the Academy Award-nominated short documentary St. Louis SupermanDead Woman’s PassIn Enemy TerritoryVenezuela: Smuggling DreamsChildren of the FARC; and Deportees Welcome.

Before this, Teng was previously a journalist for The New York Times, where she received an Emmy nomination, and other awards, for her work. Previously, she worked as an independent filmmaker and reporter covering India for the Times, the Wall Street Journal and Agence France-Presse.

“Poh brings a wealth of documentary experience as a commissioning editor, producer and journalist to IDA,” said Simon Kilmurry, IDA’s executive director, in a statement. As previously reported, Kilmurry will step down from the IDA in mid-2021. “Her vision will be essential as IDA continues to build its support of documentary makers both nationally and internationally.”

“The confluence of the pandemic, deep racial inequities in our society, and continued marginalization of voices in documentary has led to a point where there has never been a greater need to support a diverse set of filmmakers to further their films and careers,” added Teng. “I look forward to building on IDA’s grants program so that we can advance the cause of equity in our documentary industry, and our society more broadly.”

Since it was created in 2017 with major support from the MacArthur Foundation, the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund has provided US$4 million in production and development grants to more than 65 feature-length documentary projects that explore original contemporary stories that integrate journalistic practices.

In addition, the Enterprise Program offers filmmaking teams with pro-bono legal and technical support through partnerships with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Documentary Film Legal Clinic at UCLA, according to the IDA.

Notable grantees have included Ramona S. Diaz’s A Thousand Cuts, David France’s Welcome to Chechnya, Nanfu Wang’s One Child Nation.

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