News for May 2015

View photos and reactions from the Spring Showcase

We would like to thank all who came to last night's Kartemquin Spring Showcase. We were thrilled to see the sold out crowd at the Gene Siskel Film Center engaging so passionately and thoughtfully with these new works-in-progress; and in turn, to see the four debut directors so eloquently explaining their filmmaking choices, and future hopes for their films. See below for the top tweets and click here for photos of the night, and more information on this year's projects: All the Queen's Horses; Minding the Gap; The Prosecutors; and Keep Talking. Continued

Watch Hard Earned tonight on Al Jazeera America

A landmark new 6-part series about getting by in America, Hard Earned begins airing tonight, Sunday, May 3rd at 10 pm ET/7pm PT as part of Al Jazeera America's documentary series Al Jazeera America Presents. In six one-hour episodes, the series follows the families both at work and at home, as they juggle the rising costs of housing, education, food, medical bills and more – all while working low-wage jobs. As widening economic inequality and the wealth gap continue to increase in the U.S., can these lower-income families get ahead? How are wage stagnation, student loan debt and demographic shifts in the workforce contributing to financial instability for many Americans? Continued

Raising Bertie ready for Good Pitch and SDF

Kartemquin's film Raising Bertie is one of just six in-progress documentaries selected for the second Good Pitch Chicago, which takes place tomorrow at Thalia Hall in Chicago. In Raising Bertie we follow three young men over the course of five years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, a small African American-led farming community in North Carolina. Through the intimate portrayal of these young men, we see the issues facing America’s rural youth and the repercussions of a woefully underfunded rural public school system. Their stories shed light on the complex relationships between family, economics and education. Continued

Life Itself wins CINE Golden Eagle and Golden Trailer Awards

The 2015 CINE Golden Eagle Award for Best Nonfiction Feature: Historical Events and Biographies has been awarded to Life Itself, our documentary on Roger Ebert. Read more about the CINE awards. The trailer for Life Itself was also selected by the 2015 Golden Trailer Awards as the winner of the Best Documentary category. Our congratulations to Mark Woollen & Associates, who edited the trailer, and Magnolia Pictures, the film's distributor. Continued

Raising Bertie Feels the Love at Good Pitch

#TeamBertie is wrapping up a crazy, emotional, wonderful week after participating in this year's Good Pitch Chicago. The event, which was held this part Tuesday in Pilsen's historic Thalia Hall, raised over $350,000 for the six projects that participated. Raising Bertie came away from the event with a Ford Foundation Grant of $50,000, as well as over $10,000 in additional grants from Impact Partners and private donors and support from all the members of their roundtable with offers to host screenings, make White House connections, brain trusts, and fundraisers. Additional highlights of the day included donation of all educational materials, and individuals donating story consulting and impact strategy consulting. Continued

"Truth and Fact and Dignity": Episode 2 of Hard Earned

Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series for Al Jazeera America, puts aside economic debates and follows five families around the country to find out what it takes to get by on eight, ten or even 15 dollars an hour. The series airs on Sunday nights at 10pm ET / 7pm PT. Episode 2 aired this past Sunday, and drew some very strong reactions. Check out more below. See you next week for episode 3! [View the story "Hard Earned Episode 2 Recap" on Storify] Continued