News for April 2014

"People need to be able to feel like they're complicated." - Usama Alshaibi on American Arab

Ahead of the film's Chicago premiere at Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) on April 6th, American Arab director Usama Alshaibi has been in the local press talking about the film's exploration of race, identity and cultural stereotypes, and arguing "what it means to be American needs to be reexamined." Talking with fellow filmmaker Carlos Jiménez Flores in the Chicago Reader, Usama states: Continued

Steve James reflects on the anniversary of Roger Ebert's death

April 4th marks the one year anniversary of the death of Roger Ebert. At Kartemquin this sad event left us stunned and shocked, both because we were still in production on Life Itself, and because Roger Ebert had been a champion of our work since our very first film, and most notably with Hoop Dreams. Below, Steve James, the director of Life Itself and Hoop Dreams, shares his thoughts on Roger Ebert's legacy, one year later. Continued

In-progress Unbroken Glass takes an organic approach to outreach

You never knew her normal self. If you see broken glass… you never think about the beautiful thing it was before. It’s just broken glass. Dinesh Sabu is currently in post-production of his first feature length documentary, Unbroken Glass. As he puts the film together, he has also been piecing together plans for how it will make an impact, including events like a preview of clips and a discussion of the film this Sunday, April 13th at 7:15pm, at the Gene Siskel Film Center (Get tickets). Continued

The Trials of Muhammad Ali premieres Monday as first ever PBS online interactive broadcast

"Every life is valuable and everyone's story is mighty, but not everyone packs a punch like Ali." - Bill Siegel. On Monday, April 14 at 10pmET/9C The Trials of Muhammad Ali will have its television broadcast premiere on PBS Independent Lens. In an unprecedented first for PBS, Independent Lens' OVEE platform will also present a simultaneous online premiere and live chat with director Bill Siegel! The online screening is co-presented by Kartemquin, PBS Independent Lens, and Eight Arizona. Watch either on PBS or online at Continued

Tickets now on sale for the Kartemquin Spring Showcase

The 3rd annual Kartemquin Spring Showcase invites you to enjoy exclusive previews of never-before-seen footage from four of our upcoming documentaries, and give your feedback directly to the filmmakers in the theater and in a post-screening reception. Serving as both a window into our process and an opportunity to impact the future of these works-in-progress, this event embodies the Kartemquin spirit of collaborative creation and meaningful audience engagement. TICKETS NOW ON SALE: Friday, May 2nd at 8:30pm, with a filmmaker reception to follow for all ticketholders Gene Siskel Film Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 164 N State St, Chicago, IL. Tickets $11, GSFC Members $6. Continued

Al Jazeera America Announces Production of Documentary Series with Kartemquin Films on Realities of Low-Income Living

Kartemquin is proud to announce a collaboration with Al Jazeera America on Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series scheduled to air in early 2015. Production has already begun on the series, which will explore the lives of five American families striving to keep food on the table and their dignity intact despite the reality of high living expenses and low wages. “We’re pleased to bring this important documentary series to Al Jazeera America, which explores the economic realities that many Americans face,” said Shannon High-Bassalik, senior vice-president, documentaries and programs. “This series goes beyond the politics and policy discussions and immerses the viewer in the true day-to-day struggles individuals and families face, getting by in today’s economy.” Continued

Columbia College to give Gordon Quinn Honorary Degree

Kartemquin's co-founder and artistic director Gordon Quinn will receive an Honorary Degree from Columbia College Chicago this May. Gordon is one of five recipients chosen to represent the fields of film, theater, visual art, architecture and education. His fellow recipients at the May 17-18 commencement ceremonies are architect Jeanne Gang, owner of Studio Gang; Jim Jacobs, actor and co-creator of the musical Grease; Tony Karman, president of EXPO Chicago; and education historian Diane Ravitch. Read more in the Columbia Chronicle. Continued

Life Itself to screen at Cannes Film Festival, with new Cannes footage

The 2014 Cannes Film Festival will host the European premiere of Life Itself, our new documentary about film critic Roger Ebert. Life Itself director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) said to "The film's selection is a thrilling first for me and for Kartemquin. Beyond that, its also a statement about what Roger meant to the festival. He loved Cannes and Cannes loved him. We were so inspired by his writing about the festival, that we've created a new section in the film devoted to his adventures there over the years. Roger was a student of great cinema and of the dreams and spectacle that for him defined Cannes. We can't wait to share his story and our film with everyone there." Continued