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Brenda Robinson Named the First Black President of the International Documentary Association

Brenda Robinson photographed by Alina Tsvor. Courtesy of WRUW Productions.
If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.

Brenda Robinson, the very busy lawyer and philanthropist, has made history by becoming the first Black president of the International Documentary Association's Board of Directors. Robinson, who joined IDA’s Board of Directors in 2018, is an entertainment attorney who has acted as production counsel and executive producer for numerous documentary and feature film projects as well as scripted and unscripted television programming. 

“I am honored to have the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the continued growth of this organization and to lead us forward in fulfilling our mission of championing storytellers while creating a culture of inclusion,” said Robinson. IDA's Executive Director, Simon Kilmurry responds, "I am thrilled to be able to work more closely with Brenda as we seek to build an IDA that serves the community of documentary makers." 

Robinson is a partner in Gamechanger Films, an equity fund that finances feature films and television series by women and diverse storytellers. She is also active in the Sundance Institute as a member of the Women at Sundance Leadership Council and serves as an advisor to The Redford Center. She will be succeeding Kevin Iwashina, whose board term ends in December 2020. 

"I could not be more proud of what we accomplished as a Board during both my term and my presidency,” said Iwashina. “I am confident that Brenda’s leadership will be transformational for the IDA. Although my formal relationship with the organization is coming to an end, my enthusiasm for its long-term success does not, and I look forward to meaningfully supporting the organization in the future.”

As a dedicated philanthropist in the arts and entertainment community and advocate on behalf of creative artists, Robinson currently serves on the boards of Film Independent, Chicken & Egg Pictures, The Representation Project and Cinema/Chicago, where she also serves as official legal counsel to the Chicago International Film Festival. RogerEbert.com publisher and editor-in-chief, Chaz Ebert, in extending her congratulations on this historic moment says that Brenda's good deeds go deep in the community. 

"I am on the board of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, and when we gave the Lincoln Leadership Prize to Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, I wanted to make sure we had children from the community there to be influenced in the sciences," recalled Ebert. "I called Brenda and she enthusiastically sponsored a table for the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Who knows how many budding African-American scientists were encouraged that evening. That is Brenda, always willing to do a good deed."

Robinson is a founding advisory board member of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative as well as a financier on the Academy Award-winning documentary "Icarus" as well as "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and "Step." She is an executive producer on numerous projects including "United Skates," alongside executive producer John Legend; "The Great American Lie" by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom; "Jump Shot: The Kenny Sailors Story", alongside executive producer Steph Curry and Marian Anderson; and "The Whole World In Her Hands" for PBS’ American Masters series. 

Founded in 1982, IDA serves documentary filmmakers through funding, education and advocacy. IDA publishes Documentary magazine and each year honors the best in documentary storytelling at the IDA Documentary Awards. IDA’s biennial Getting Real conference is scheduled to take place online at the end of September 2020. 

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