Director
Steve James
Segment Directors
Bing Liu
Rebecca Parrish
Kevin Shaw
Series Producers
John Condne
Rise Sanders-Weir
Executive Producers
Steve James
Justine Nagan
Gordon Quinn
Betsy Steinberg
Jeff Skoll
Diane Weyermann
Edited by
Leslie Simmer
David E. Simpson
Steve James
Cinematographers
Kevin Shaw
Rebecca Parrish
Bing Liu
Steve James
Composer
Joshua Abrams
Music Supervisors
Dawn Sutter Madell
Jocelyn Michelle Brown
Co-Producer
Janea Smith
Associate Producer
Stephanie Rae Smith
Co-Editor
Alanna Schmelter
Associate Editor
Rubin Daniels, Jr.
Additional Cinematography
Jackson James
Darryl Parham
Cosmo Coffey
Dana Kupper
Drew Angle
Adam Singer
Keith Walker
Location Sound Recordists
Zak Piper
Hayden Jackson
Alan Chow
Nick Clemente
Richard K. Pooler
Patrick Bresnahan
Derek Hanson
Dug Mara
Shuling Yong
Post-Production Supervisor
Alanna Schmelter
Post-Production Coordinator
Rubin Daniels Jr.
Technical Supervisor
Ryan Gleeson

Steve James

Director, Executive Producers, Edited by, Cinematographers

Steve James' affiliation with Kartemquin began in 1987 with the start of production of Hoop Dreams, for which he served as director, producer, and co-editor. He has since then become one of the most acclaimed documentary makers of his generation, with noted works being Stevie, The New Americans, The War Tapes, At the Death House Door, The Interrupters, Life Itself, and most recently the 2018 Academy Award®-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

Bing Liu

Segment Directors, Cinematographers

Bing is a Chicago-based director and cinematographer who Variety Magazine listed as one of 10 documentary filmmakers to watch. His 2018 critically acclaimed documentary Minding the Gap has earned a total of 28 award recognitions since its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. He is also a segment director on America To Me, a 10-hour documentary series examining racial inequities in America’s education system, set to premiere on Starz. Bing was a member of the International Cinematographers Guild for seven years, working alongside master directors of photography including John Toll, Matthew Libatique, and Wally Pfister. Bing is a 2017 Film Independent Fellow and Garrett Scott Development Grant recipient and has a B.A.

Rebecca Parrish

Segment Directors, Cinematographers

Rebecca Parrish is a documentary director, cinematographer and editor. Her feature directorial debut, Radical Grace, was executive produced by Susan Sarandon, and premiered at 2015 Hot Docs followed by AFI Docs, garnering audience awards (Hot Docs Top 5 Audience Favorite and AFI Docs Best of Fest). Other work included the interactive web documentary and engagement campaign. Parrish graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2006 with a BA in American Studies. Her coursework explored the operation of race, class and sexuality in U.S. society through Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory and other modalities. Rebecca is a Segment Director / Cinematographer on America To Me.

Kevin Shaw

Segment Directors, Cinematographers

As a director, producer, cinematographer, Kevin Shaw has produced award-winning documentaries for ESPN, PBS, the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network. In 2010, Shaw's Big Ten Network short documentary on a quadriplegic trying to regain the ability to walk won the Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting excellence. Shaw won a National Sports Emmy for cinematography for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Show Opens and Teases. His most recent documentary as producer looked at the poignant relationship between megastar Shaquille O’Neal and his collegiate coach at LSU, Dale Brown. Shaq and Dale premiered on ESPN in April 2015. He is a Story Producer / Cinematographer on America to Me.

John Condne

Series Producers

John Condne been the film and video teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School for twelve years. Condne received a Masters Degrees in film/video from Columbia College and in teaching & secondary education from Concordia University. Condne works with many current and former OPRF students on professional productions. He is the Producer on To Bridge the Divide.

Risé Sanders-Weir

Series Producers

Risé Sanders-Weir has supervised production for documentaries appearing on MSNBC, PBS, History, National Geographic, CNBC, A&E, The Weather Channel and others. Her work as a writer, producer, director and supervisor has been recognized with Emmy, Hugo and Telly awards. Sanders has also received nominations for an MPSE Golden Reel and an NAACP Image Award. She is the Producer of America to Me.

Justine Nagan

Executive Producers

From 2008-2015, Justine led Kartemquin Films as Executive Director as well as being an Executive Producer on each new film. She was responsible, in concert with the Board of Directors, for creating and implementing the strategic vision for Kartemquin. Justine successfully transitioned to the ED role in a historic founder-led organization, and made major strides in building a foundation for long-term sustainability.

Gordon Quinn

Executive Producers

Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) "an extraordinarily moving documentary." With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people. 

Betsy Steinberg

Executive Producers

Executive Director Betsy Steinberg joined Kartemquin in December 2015 and oversees daily operations, development, and serves as Executive Producer on Kartemquin projects. Prior to Kartemquin she spent eight years as Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office where she she spearheaded Illinois’ transformation into a world class film destination. She was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois film tax credit and implemented an overall business development strategy resulting in over $1 billion in direct economic impact. During her tenure the state broke all local film industry revenues in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and the Illinois Film Office was recognized by the Illinois Arts Alliance with an Arts Advocate Award and Cinema Chicago's Golden Hugo. She also served on the Governor's Roundtable on the Creative Arts and the boards of Free Spirit Media, Chicago Media Project and the Midwest Independent Film Festival.

David E. Simpson

Edited by

David E. Simpson is a highly-awarded filmmaker who brings to his projects a collaborative spirit, proven storytelling chops and formidable attention to detail. Films he has produced, directed or edited have garnered two Emmys, two DuPont-Columbia batons, a pair of Peabody awards, an Oscar nomination, a Sundance jury prize and best in category at countless festivals. He has worked in close association with Kartemquin Films since 1997.

Joshua Abrams

Composer

Joshua Abrams has composed scores for 7 feature films, 6 short films, and the themes for StoryCorps Animated Shorts. His music has appeared in Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning films by directors Steve James and Bill Siegel, as well as films by Aaron Wickenden, Dan Rybicky, Jamie Meltzer, Dinesh Sabu, and Simon Starling. Joshua's score for Life Itself earned him a nomination for best score of 2015 from Cinema Eye Honors. Ray Pride of New City writes, "Abrams brings nuance and grace to the smallest human moments in his bristling marvel of a score for America to Me. Abrams watches the moment; he anticipates the future, the possibility of change, the possibility of tragedy, and so many grades of emotion. His score is stealth: patient, suggestive, eager to surprise.

Janea Smith

Co-Producer

From game shows to reality shows and everything in between, Chicago native Janea Smith is a Television Producer and a Consultant who always has a new project up her sleeve. After graduating Cum Laude from Columbia College Chicago, Smith began her career as an Associate Producer on the nationally syndicated show, “The Black Enterprise Report.” Smith has worked on hit shows including, “College Hill”, “The First 48: Missing Persons”, CNN’s “Chicagoland”, and “Empire.” She has also worked for writer/director, Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Pursuit of Happyness) to serve as his Production Supervisor for an IFC pilot entitled “Timms Valley.” She is a Co-Producer on To Bridge the Divide.

Alanna Schmelter

Co-Editor, Post-Production Supervisor

Alanna Schmelter is a film & television editor with a concentration in narrative non-fiction & documentary. After graduating with a degree in film editing from Columbia College Chicago, she started her career by cutting comedy at the world-renowned Second City. She has since edited series for National Geographic, Travel Channel, Ovation and A&E. In January 2016, she finished cutting a feature documentary titled Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey (Co-dir: Kate Benzschawel & Mallory Sohmer), about four teenage street musicians from Chicago who embark on a journey to Senegal to explore its culture and their connection to Africa. The film made its Chicago debut at the Black Harvest Film Festival in August of 2016.

Darryl Parham

Additional Cinematography

With over 20 years of experience behind the lens, Darryl has made a commitment to producing visual solutions that meet the creative and technical demands of a diverse clientele. Having the ability to move from behind the camera to the role of a producer has allowed him the unique perspective of being able to tell a captivating story from concept to completion. His projects have given him extensive national and international experience, providing him the necessary skills to adapt to a variety of situations and work with people of various cutlures. Darryl has worked on a variety of projects ranging from documentaries and corporate assignments to independent films, commercials and live events. A few of the organizations that he has worked with include Google, Kartemquin Films, Casey Family Programs, Cities United, Namasté Laboratories, The National Urban League, Village Leadership Academy, Johnson Publishing Company, AARP, Saks Fifth Avenue and Walmart.

Adam Singer

Additional Cinematography

Adam D. Singer began working with Kartemquin Films in 1989 spending 5 years on the critically acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams and has continued his association with them for the past 19 years. He has worked on various productions, both nationally and internationally, as a producer, cameraman and sound recordist. With Kartemquin and director Steve James he produced No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson which had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and aired as part of ESPN Films' 2010 International Documentary Association award-winning series "30 for 30." The film was selected for the IDOCS International Documentary Forum in Beijing, and also played at the Cleveland, Full Frame, Dallas, Nashville and Atlanta film festivals, among others. In 2011, No Crossover was selected by the U.S. Department of State for the American Documentary Showcase.

Keith Walker

Additional Cinematography

Keith, co-owner and director of photography for Media Process Group, has shot hundreds of broadcast segments for shows like 60-minutes, Oprah’s Next Chapter, Dateline, and HBO Real Sports, as well as numerous award-winning documentaries for PBS, NBC and CBS. He also shot many corporate marketing and educational projects for clients like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Gates Foundation, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Starbucks.

Zak Piper

Location Sound Recordists

Zak is an Emmy-winning Documentary Producer who previously served as Director of Production at Kartemquin Films for more than a decade. Most recently, he produced Saving Mes Aynak, which follows an Afghan archaeologist as he and histeam race to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition by a Chinese copper mine. Zak also produced the critically acclaimed film Life Itself.

Ryan Gleeson

Technical Supervisor

A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Ryan first joined the Kartemquin family as an intern of Xan Aranda and assisted in the rollout of her film Andrew Bird: Fever Year. Later, as an intern at Kartemquin, he worked on a range of tasks including contributing to outreach on The Interrupters, assisting in editing of the demo of Living Revolution, and helping with Kartemquin’s first KTQ Labs Spring Showcase.