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International Documentary Association executive director Rick Pérez has decided to step down from the role after about one a half years, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The leader of the nonfiction-focused nonprofit, its first executive director of color, told staff at a meeting late on Monday that he was planning to resign from the post, with his last day Dec. 23. Ken Ikeda will serve as the interim executive director once Pérez has left, an IDA spokesperson said.
“Rick thanked the staff for their work and acknowledged the difficulties as well as successes during the past year and half as executive director, but that the challenges of leading a changing organization, during and post-pandemic, have weighed on him,” the spokesperson added. “Ultimately, he decided his work was done and that he wanted to return to filmmaking, and working with directors, producers, and others as well as creating film projects, his true passion.”
Pérez, who co-directed 2002’s Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election and 2014’s Cesar’s Last Fast as well as a nonfiction strategist, succeeded former IDA head Simon Kilmurry as executive director in May 2021. Prior to the role, Pérez was director of acquisitions and distribution strategies at GBH | WORLD Channel and served as the Sundance Institute’s director of creative partnerships.
During his tenure at IDA, Pérez presided over a time of mounting labor tension within the organization: In January, four director-level staffers resigned, citing the board’s handling of an investigation into workplace conduct complaints. (The board responded in a statement at the time, “We want to communicate clearly and unequivocally that we have been thorough and committed to being fair and equitable, and we are united in ensuring the IDA continues to be an essential resource for the documentary community.”)
More staff exits followed, and in March remaining colleagues announced their intention to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 9003. While management stated that they wished to voluntarily recognize the group, workers protested that no official paperwork had been signed and filed for a National Labor Relations Board election. A few weeks later, the two sides finally reached a voluntary recognition agreement.
Interim executive director Ikeda is a partner and co-founder of creative media agency StudioToBe and previously served as the CEO of the Association of Independents in Radio.
Dec. 7, 3:51 p.m. Updated to specify Pérez was a co-director on two films.
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