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International Documentary Association Names Richard Ray Perez Executive Director

Filmmaker takes over for Simon Kilmurry, who held the role since 2015

The International Documentary Association (IDA) has named filmmaker Richard Ray Perez as its executive director, taking over for the outgoing Simon Kilmurry.

Kilmurry announced in November he would be stepping down in mid-2021 after serving with the IDA since 2015. Perez will take over the role immediately.

“Rick” Perez is a documentary filmmaker known for the films “Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election” and “Cesar’s Last Fast,” which premiered at Sundance in 2014 and was named one of 20 essential films to capture the Latinx experience as part of a New York Times feature. He’s also a nonfiction film strategist focused on the convergence of storytelling, thought leadership and themes vital to contemporary societies.

Perez most recently served as the director of acquisitions and distribution strategies at GBH | WORLD Channel, where he curated and acquired documentary film projects for the platform’s three original series.

Prior to his position at WORLD Channel, Perez was director of creative partnerships at Sundance Institute, where he developed, designed and led artist-based filmmaking programs. That included Stories of Change, a multimillion-dollar Sundance Institute partnership with the Skoll Foundation that supported the development and production of 46 documentary, fiction, virtual reality and episodic storytelling projects. He also designed and led the Institute’s Documentary Story and Edit Lab in Beijing, a program that advanced the work of independent filmmakers in China by providing creative mentorship and grants to lab participants. 

At Brave New Films, Perez executive produced two documentary series and directed a third. He also serves on the Brave New Films board of directors.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rick into the IDA family. We strongly believe that Rick is uniquely qualified to lead the IDA through these continued extraordinary times where our voice in the field, as well as the depth of resources we offer to the documentary community as a whole, will matter even more,” IDA board president Brenda Robinson said in a statement. “We were all fortunate to have Simon Kilmurry with us during these past six very meaningful years, as his leadership has truly been transformative for the IDA. Simon has laid the groundwork for a solid foundation that all of us can continue to build upon. In that regard, he leaves a lasting legacy that truly changed the course of the IDA towards an even more promising future.”

“I am excited and honored to lead the IDA at this pivotal moment where the work of nonfiction filmmakers is increasingly vital to the health and wellbeing of societies,” Perez said. “I look forward to leading a talented team to support and advocate for documentary filmmakers and engaging partners and collaborators across the field to foster a vibrant, sustainable, and equitable industry responsive to these times.”