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March 24, 2022

International Documentary Association Announces New Senior Staff & Sets New Direction

Three new hires at IDA from L to R: Abby Sun, Keisha Knight, Louise Rosen.

Los Angeles, CA (March 24, 2022) – The International Documentary Association (IDA), an organization dedicated to supporting documentary filmmakers and a thriving and inclusive documentary culture, has announced two new senior staff members who will serve as Director of Artist Programs and Director of IDA Funds and Enterprise Program as well as the appointment of a senior consultant to the organization, tasked with reviewing operations, programs, and planning in collaboration with current and incoming staff.

These new hires represent a major step forward for the organization, which has set a new direction during the IDA’s historic 40th year.

“This is a critical time of transition for IDA as we assess where we’ve been for the last four decades and how we want to evolve moving forward,” said newly-elected board co-chairs Chris Pérez and Grace Lee. “We are excited to welcome our newest colleagues as we continue to reflect on how we can best serve the documentary filmmaking community and a more equitable IDA.”

Keisha Knight is IDA's next Director of IDA Funds and Enterprise Program. In this capacity she will oversee a portfolio of IDA's granting programs including IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, Logan elevate and Equity grants, and the Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund, XRM Media Incubator, and Netflix Global Emerging Filmmaker Award . 

“Keisha has a deep understanding of the life cycles of documentary film projects," said IDA Executive Director Rick Pérez. "Her background will ensure the continued success of IDA’s grants program and inform how IDA will respond to the evolving funding models for nonfiction filmmakers.”

Knight is an arts administrator, distributor, programmer, and educator with a commitment to the moving image and its associates. She uses her work across the fields of film, art, and education to support robust media ecosystems. She holds a BA in Comparative Religion from Barnard College, an MA in Media Studies from Pratt Institute, and is completing a PhD in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. As an educator Knight has taught in classrooms from Palembang, Indonesia to Bennington, Vermont. She has served on numerous grant review panels, film festival juries, screening committees, and was a programmer for the New York African Film Festival and the Maryland Film Festival. Through her distribution work at Sentient.Art.Film, she has had the honor of working very closely with established and emerging filmmakers, moving image artists, and industry professionals from around the world.

Abby Sun is IDA's next Director of Artist Programs where she will develop and lead programs and initiatives to support IDA’s community of artists. This includes developing the thematic content for Getting Real 2022.

“Abby has a profound grasp for what are emerging as critical issues in the documentary community and nonfiction filmmaking," said Pérez. "She is part of a forward-facing generation of leaders and thinkers who, along with IDA staff as a whole, will help shape the future of IDA and the field.”

Sun is a film programmer, researcher, and artist at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she edits Immerse, a publication that platforms creative discussion of emerging nonfiction storytelling. Most recently, she is the Curator of the DocYard and co-curated My Sight is Lined with Visions: 1990s Asian American Film & Video with Keisha Knight. Expanding on the latter's programmatic urges, Abby and Keisha Knight launched Line of Sight, a suite of artist development activities, in 2021. In this work, in addition to her organizing as a member of Distribution Advocates, she has bylines in Film Comment, Filmmaker Magazine, Film Quarterly, Hyperallergic, and other publications. She has served on festival juries for Dokufest, Cleveland, Palm Springs, New Orleans, and CAAMfest, as well as nominating committees for the Gotham Awards and Cinema Eye. She has reviewed applications for grants from BGDM, NEA, SFFILM, LEF Foundation, Sundance Catalyst, and spoken on and facilitated panels at TIFF, NYFF, and other film festivals. Her latest short film, Cuba Scalds His Hand (co-directed with Daniel Garber), premiered at Maryland Film Festival in 2019. Her hometown is Columbia, Missouri.

Senior Consultant for Programs and Strategy Louise Rosen has been working in independent media and the arts for over thirty years, starting her career in international film & television as Director of Sales and Co-productions at Boston PBS station WGBH, later launching her own distribution company and sales agency. She launched her own business working with filmmakers such as Henry Hampton, Stanley Nelson, Lisa Leeman, Arthur Dong, and Kimberly Reed, and later expanded into producing and consulting. Today Louise provides editorial and business consulting services to filmmakers and selectively serves as producer, co-producer, consulting producer, sales agent and distributor. Her projects have included Oscar, Emmy, Sundance, and other award-winning films. Rosen also has extensive arts administration experience as the former Executive & Artistic Director of the Maine Jewish Film Festival, Consulting Director of the arts agency for the twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn Maine, and Founding Director of the Points North Documentary Forum at the Camden International Film Festival. Her nonprofit board service includes Maine Media Workshops & College, Women in Film & Video New England, and the International Documentary Association. She currently chairs the advocacy committee of the Maine Film Association.

“Louise’s perspective, expertise, and nonprofit management experience will help us facilitate the IDA’s fulfillment of its immediate obligations to the documentary community and going forward, clarify the role we can play in advocating on its behalf," said Pérez.

“In conjunction with the announcement of our two new program directors, Louise’s engagement will support the fresh and exciting course we envision for the IDA," Pérez continued. "Louise begins her consulting work for us this week, will be attending CPH:DOX next week, and will be spending time with the team in Los Angeles soon after. We’re looking forward to having her support as we prepare for our new fiscal year starting July 1.”

“Over the past year I had the opportunity to work with Louise around issues related to equity in public media. I realized her breadth of experience would be very helpful to the IDA during this time of transition.” said Lee. “She’s a longstanding, highly respected advocate for the interests of independent documentary makers as well as the critical equity and inclusion issues the field is facing today.” 

“The IDA can have an essential part in the future of the documentary field as it faces enormous challenges to sustainability and its internal struggles with equity," said Louise Rosen. "I look forward to helping the organization rise to the important role it can play.”