Saving Mes Aynak comes to Kartemquin

Undiscovered for 2,000 years, it survived revolution, invasion and war. Now destruction looms again: this is the story of Saving Mes Aynak. Director/producer Brent Huffman, a documentary maker and film professor at Northwestern University, has been independently shooting at the Mes Aynak site in Afghanistan since 2011, and has now brought the documentary to Kartemquin Films. “As the premiere destination for complex social issue films that intend on making a global impact, Kartemquin is the dream home for Saving Mes Aynak,” said Huffman, who hopes to finish editing and premiere the film by the end of 2014. Continued

The Homestretch celebrates successful US premieres

Last week saw the back-to-back US premiere weekend of The Homestretch, with 4 different screenings in 48 hours, in 3 different states, in 4 different theaters, with AFI Docs 2014 hosting the film in Washington, D.C., and Human Rights Watch Film Festival hosting the New York premiere. The Homestretch follows three homeless youth in Chicago over multiple years as they strive to graduate high school. These festivals allowed our team and our audience to look at the issue of youth homelessness first, as a policy issue, and second, as a human rights issue - while also getting stunning audience feedback that really brought home how ready people are to embrace this documentary. Continued

Final class of Diverse Voices in Docs 2014 ends with funder pitches

Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) is a professional development and mentorship program for emerging documentary filmmakers of color, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop​. At the core of the program are six engaging monthly workshops, with creative advice provided by Kartemquin Films’ world-class staff and associates. Each session provides practical, skills-based enrichment designed to help incubate and strengthen the participants' next documentary project​s. Continued

Net Neutrality Discussion with Patricia Aufderheide

Last week, Kartemquin board member Dr. Patricia Aufderheide - who is usually based in Washington, D.C. as co-director of Center for Media and Social Impact (CMSI) - visited us for an informal discussion on net neutrality, co-hosted by In These Times. Through her work at CMSI, Dr. Aufderheide has long been on the front lines of the fair use fight on behalf documentary makers and a range of other artistic disciplines, and in advocating for the health of public media. Her debrief to our producers and staff this week was another step in this mission, filling us in on what the key issues around net neutrality are for independent media makers and postulating where they’re headed in the future. Continued

"Potent" American Arab gets new review, festivals

American Arab continues to generate critical acclaim and festival buzz, including two upcoming festival appearances and a glowing review from the American Library Association. In a new review published in the ALA's Booklist magazine earlier this month, author Donald Liebenson called American Arab "a potent discussion starter," writing, "this perceptive video tells a universal story about immigrants’ struggles to assimilate and seek the often elusive promise of the American dream." American Arab is available for distribution to educational institutions via The Cinema Guild. Continued

Buzz builds for The Homestretch US & NYC Premieres

We are very excited that AFI Docs 2014 will host the US Premiere of The Homestretch tomorrow, June 19th. The film's New York City premiere will then be the next day, June 20th, at the 2014 Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Ahead of these screenings, more early reviews of the film have emerged - and they are superb! In the Village Voice, the film was called "a humane accomplishment," and The Washington Post called it "heart-wrenching," and picked it out as one of 'six to see' at AFI Docs. Continued

Watch Kevin B. Lee's "Transformers: The Premake"

Chicago-based filmmaker and critic Kevin B. Lee released his new 'Desktop Documentary' Transformers: The Premake to wide critical acclaim this week. We were greatly enthused to see the positive response, but not at all surprised, as Kevin had already brought the project to our KTQ Labs program for consulting guidance back in May. We were able to provide some guidance on editing, story structure, the employment of fair use on copyrighted material, and his plans for distribution. Continued

Celebrate Roger Ebert's birthday with Life Itself

Today, June 18, is Roger Ebert's birthday! Join a Google+ hangout with us on this special day, and YOU may leave with tickets to the Los Angeles, Chicago, or New York premieres of Life Itself. Chaz Ebert and will be hosting a major event on Google+ hangout to celebrate Roger and the new movie about his life. Joining Chaz will be Life Itself director Steve James, and Matt Zoller Seitz, editor-in-chief of (who will also be moderating). Special guests will include members of The Ebert Club, Indiegogo supporters of the movie, and some surprise guests. We will have a lively discussion about movies, Roger's life, and the upcoming release of Life Itself!; we hope you can join us! Continued

A visitor from Brazil

Kartemquin recently welcomed Nilson Tuwe Huni Kui, a filmmaker from the indigenous Huni Kui peoples in Brazil, to screen his short documentary Nós e Eles (Us and Them). His people live in the Kaxinawá land on the Humaitá River in the state of Acre, Brazil on the boarder between Brazil and Peru in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. They face threats to their way of life from deforestation and the industrial development of the Amazon region, as well an increase in narco-trafficking which has caused the previously isolated indigenous Brabos tribes from neighboring Peru to migrate into Brazil and unknowingly infringe on the indigenous Kaxinawá land. Nilson studied film at NYU before bringing his skills back to his homeland to create several documentary shorts unveiling the issues his people face. His time in New York was covered in a story by the BBC. Continued