Kartemquin announces 2018 grant recipients, and new funds for Diverse Voices in 2019

Kartemquin Films announced today the recipients of $150,000 in grants at the 2018 Kartemquin Films Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon at the Union League Club of Chicago.

The award-winning not-for-profit documentary organization also announced that in 2019, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation will support Kartemquin’s new Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund, pledging $50,000 annually in grants to fellows and alumni of their Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) program, a professional mentorship and development program for documentary filmmakers of color.

Kartemquin’s grants provide crucial funding of up to $20,000 each for works-in-progress by debut and emerging filmmakers. The grants were initiated through founding support from the Sage Foundation, and additional support from Voqal Fund, The Chicago Community Trust and the Forum Fund.

“These funds help emerging filmmakers at critical junctures in the filmmaking process – times in which even a relatively small infusion of funds can make a huge difference in advancing a project – such as getting that last vital interview, finishing a rough cut, or putting resources towards expanded audience impact. As we continue to grow these resources, they will transform Kartemquin’s role in strengthening our community and the documentary media field,” said Betsy Steinberg, Executive Director of Kartemquin Films.

The 2018 Kartemquin Films Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon brought together 275 filmmakers, partners and champions of impact storytelling to celebrate America to Me, the 10-part docu-series directed by Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Steve James, produced by Kartemquin Films and Participant Media, and now airing on STARZ. Guests were treated to a dynamic conversation about equity in education, featuring series director Steve James and series participants Jessica Stovall and Charles Donalson III, moderated by Ali Barthwell of Chicago Magazine. Donalson also premiered a new spoken word performance, created for the event. Speakers also included Bing Liu, director of Minding the Gap, Kartemquin Board Chair Jason Stephens, Kartemquin co-founder Gordon Quinn, and several filmmaker grantees.

Of the ten projects selected for funding in 2018, 80% are graduates of Kartemquin’s filmmaker development programs, while 60% of the projects are by debut filmmakers. 90% are helmed by women in the lead director or producer role, and 60% of the projects are directed or produced by a filmmaker of color.

2018 Grant Recipients

'63 BOYCOTT
Director: Gordon Quinn
Producers: Rachel Dickson (KTQ Internship Alum) and Tracye A. Matthews
’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.
Impact Coordinator Initiative, supported by Voqal Fund and The Chicago Community Trust.

EDITH+EDDIE
Director: Laura Checkoway (KTQ Labs Alum)
Producer: Thomas Lee Wright
Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America's oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.
Catalyst Fund, supported by Forum Fund.

FINDING YINGYING
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi (Diverse Voices in Docs Alum)
Producer: Brent E. Huffman and Diane Quon
The intimate story of a Chinese family who arrives in Illinois to search for their daughter, an international student kidnapped with her first weeks in Illinois during the summer of 2017.
Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund, supported by Sage Foundation.

LOYALTY: STORIES
Director/Producer: David Washburn
The first documentary film series to capture what life is like for American Muslims in the military.
Impact Coordinator Initiative, supported by Voqal Fund and The Chicago Community Trust.
Impact Award, supported by Sage Foundation.

MINDING THE GAP
Director: Bing Liu (Diverse Voices in Docs Alum)
Producer: Diane Quon
Three young men bond together to escape volatile families in their Rust Belt hometown. As they face adult responsibilities, unexpected revelations threaten their decade-long friendship.
Impact Award, supported by Sage Foundation.

A PLACE TO LEARN
Director: Kevin Shaw (Diverse Voices in Docs Alum)
Producer: Rachel Dickson (KTQ Internship Alum)
A community struggles for equity when plans to convert a successful elementary school into a long-desired high school divides the neighborhood.
Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund, supported by Sage Foundation.

REPRESENT
Director: Hillary Bachelder (KTQ Internship Alum)
Producer: Anne Sobel
An intimate look at three first-time female candidates stepping into the political spotlight.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.
Impact Coordinator Initiative, supported by Voqal Fund and The Chicago Community Trust.

SOUTH SIDE
Director/Producer: Teresa White (Diverse Voices in Docs Alum)
Through innovative activism that includes overnight campouts on violent blocks and an annual basketball tournament with rival residents and gang members, three community organizers demand change on Chicago’s troubled South Side.
Diverse Voices Accelerator Fund, supported by Sage Foundation.

TRUE MEMORIES AND OTHER FALSEHOODS
Director/Producer: Debra Tolchinksy
An examination of the causes and implications of false memory and false internalized belief within the criminal justice system: a woman misidentifies her assailant, an investigator elicits a false confession, a suspect becomes convinced he committed a violent crime that he did not commit.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.

UNAPOLOGETIC
Director: Ashley O’Shay (Diverse Voices in Docs Alum)
Producer: Morgan Johnson (KTQ Internship Alum)
Unapologetic captures a community of young Black organizers confronting a Chicago administration complicit in state violence against its Black residents.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.
Impact Coordinator Initiative, supported by Voqal Fund and The Chicago Community Trust.

2017 Grant Recipients

AREA 2
Director: James Sorrels
Producer: Joshua Simon
Area 2 is a documentary exploring the Chicago Police torture saga through the stories of a broad spectrum of people connected to it, many of whom have never shared their extraordinary perspectives before.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.

EATING UP EASTER
Director/Producer: Sergio M. Rapu
Producer: Elena Rapu
Native Rapanui (Easter Island) filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu narrates to his son the modern dilemma of their people, descendants of the ancient statue builders, as they face the consequences of their rapidly developing home.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.

KEEP TALKING
Director/Producer: Karen Weinberg
Keep Talking follows four Alaska Native women fighting to save Kodiak Alutiiq, an endangered language now spoken by less than 40 remaining fluent Native Elders.
Emerging Fund, Supported by Sage Foundation.