Kartemquin reteams with Steve James and Participant Media on Chicago Story

Kartemquin is thrilled to share that production has commenced on the feature documentary Chicago Story (working title), the newest project from two-time Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Steve James.

Participant Media will finance the project which will be produced by James and Zak Piper. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann will executive produce with Alex Kotlowitz and Gordon Quinn. James, Piper and Kotlowitz previously collaborated on The Interrupters.

Chicago Story will be a mosaic portrait of Chicago today, captured at this crucial juncture in the city's history – the upcoming mayoral election in February 2019. Principal photography is already underway.

“This is a film I’ve wanted to do for years, and right now seems the perfect time to make it. Chicago finds itself at a significant crossroads in so many ways as its citizens grapple with its future and who will lead them,” says Steve James. “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Participant again after our wonderful collaboration on America to Me.”

Diane Weyermann, President of Documentary Film and Television for Participant Media, commented: “We’re incredibly proud to be working again with Steve James. He truly is one of the most prolific, revered and compassionate filmmakers of our time. Chicago Story directly follows his recent, highly acclaimed unscripted series, America to Me, and we are excited by his creative vision for this deeply human, contemporary story.”

America to Me, which James directed and executive produced, marked the first in a growing slate of acclaimed television content from Participant Media. Acquired and released by Starz, the ground-breaking unscripted series, recently named one of the “Ten Best TV Shows of 2018” by The New York Times, follows students, teachers and administrators in Chicagoland’s Oak Park and River Forest High School, one of the country’s most exemplary and diverse public schools, over the course of a year as they grapple with decades-long racial and educational inequities. Digging deep into the experiences of a racially diverse student population, America to Me, in tandem with a nationwide social impact campaign from Participant Media and Starz, sparked thousands of local conversations around issues of race, education and equity today. Part observational character story and part high-school confessional, James captured critical moments within this vibrant high-school ecosystem.

In addition to America to Me, Steve James has several acclaimed directing and producing credits. He was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, and for Best Editing for Hoop Dreams. He has directed three Emmy Award®-winning films: The Interrupters, Life Itself and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. His other credits include Stevie, At the Death House Door, The New Americans and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson.

About Participant Media
Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant Media (www.participantmedia.com) combines the power of a good story well told with real world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing the well over 2 billion consumers compelled to make meaningful content a priority focus.

As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake. Participant’s more than 80 films, including Wonder, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, CITIZENFOUR, RBG, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 56 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for A Fantastic Woman. Follow Participant Media on Twitter (@Participant) and on Facebook and Instagram.

About Kartemquin Films
Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin is a collaborative community that empowers documentary makers who create stories that foster a more engaged and just society.

Kartemquin's films have received three Academy Award® nominations and won many more major prizes, including six Emmys® and two Peabody Awards. Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of documentary.

Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 organization based in Chicago. www.kartemquin.com