Saving Mes Aynak free to watch in Afghanistan

Chicago not-for-profit documentary collective Kartemquin Films will release Saving Mes Aynak free to the people of Afghanistan. The award-winning documentary exposes a Chinese company's plan to turn a 5,000 archeological site in Afghanistan into a copper mine, destroying priceless Buddhist relics. The filmmakers are offering the free stream, hosted by the digital platform VHX, to anyone within Afghanistan who visits before midnight on July 1, which they have declared Global #SaveMesAynak Day. Continued

Major funders to attend final Diverse Voices in Docs Session

After 6 months of developing their new projects, the 2015 fellows of our Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID) program will have final session this Saturday, pitching in front of a roundtable of leading documentary industry funders. Now in its third year, DVID is a professional development and mentorship program for emerging documentarians of color organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago, and aims to provide skill enrichment, networking opportunities and discussions on such topics as ethics, fundraising and distribution. At the final pitching panel, the 12 documentary makers in this year's program will meet: N'Jeri Eaton, Programming Manager - ITVS (Independent Television Service) Lauren Pabst, Program Officer ​- MacArthur Foundation Continued

Fewer than 30 spots remain for the KTQ Summer Soiree

On Friday, June 26th, we'll celebrate spectacular Chicago views, people, and documentaries at our KTQ Summer Soirée. Please purchase tickets now to secure your chance to join us, as we are nearing capacity. There is limited space in our exclusive venue - with stunning views of Millennium Park, Maggie Daley Park, and all Chicago beyond - but no limits on the food, drink, great conversation and fine documentary filmmaking you'll encounter. Our signature celebration event for the year, the Summer Soirée supports all our filmmaking, programs and advocacy on behalf of documentary, while offering a chance to toast the vitality of Chicago's independent media community. Continued

Bertha Foundation funds The Prosecutors

The Bertha Foundation has awarded a production grant of $10,000 to The Prosecutors. Directed by Leslie Thomas and co-produced with ART WORKS Projects, The Prosecutors follows lawyers in three conflict-scarred countries - Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Democratic Republic of Congo - as they battle cultures of impunity to provide justice for survivors of wartime rape. The project joined Kartemquin in early 2015 and was featured at our 2015 Spring Showcase. It is currently fundraising for further production, editing, and audience engagement. If you'd like to support the film, please donate here. Continued

Funding takes Unbroken Glass closer

We’re excited to announce major support from the Sage Foundation for our in-progress film Unbroken Glass. Sage's generous grant will allow director Dinesh Sabu and his team to continue refining the film's rough cut throughout the summer back in-house at Kartemquin. In further good news, the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has awarded Dinesh an Individual Artist Support grant to work with a graphics animator. Since old family photos are such a key element of the language of Unbroken Glass this work will be vital to the aesthetic of his film. In Unbroken Glass filmmaker Dinesh Sabu sets out to learn the truth about his parents' lives twenty years after their deaths. Retracing the story of his parents immigration from India, Dinesh uncovers his mother’s schizophrenia, a mental illness that perhaps ultimately led to her suicide. Continued

Help William Gates support youth Hoop Dreams

William Gates, star of our 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, has launched an appeal for support to "Team Hoop Dreams," an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball team he is coaching. Gathering a talented roster of 13 young stars for the team's inaugural season, Will was devastated when a promised sponsorship deal fell through on the eve of the Team Hoop Dreams April opener. The team - which Will says "includes 6 of the top twenty players in San Antonio area, and 3 of the top 50 players in Texas," including his son, Jalon - has continued to play through the spring despite this financial setback, but he cannot cover the $7,500 needed to support the team in travel, lodging and food to get them to 2 major summer tournaments and complete the remaining games of their season. Continued

Almost There Enjoys International Premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest

Directors Aaron Wickenden and Dan Rybicky presented the international premiere of Almost There to a sold-out crowd at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 8. Following this well-received screening, Aaron and Dan held an intimate q&a hosted by Influence Film Club at the Crucible, along with Kartemquin's Director of Communications and Distribution, Tim Horsburgh. You can check out photos from the event from the film's Facebook page. A particular delight of Sheffield was the directors reuniting with the film's assistant editor Won Bae (pictured), who is now based in South Korea. Continued

In the Game to world premiere at Madrid International Film Festival

We're delighted to announce that our new film In The Game will world premiere this July as an official selection of the Madrid International Film Festival. The film is in competition at the festival, and is nominated for several awards: Maria Finitzo for Best Documentary Director, Peter Gilbert for Cinematography, Katerina Simic for editing, and Gordon Quinn for producing. Awards will be announced during the festival. We'll also update with exact screening times and more details when the festival announces them. Continued

Watch the offical trailer for Saving Mes Aynak

Yesterday IndieWire hosted the exclusive premiere of the new official trailer for Saving Mes Aynak. Saving Mes Aynak follows archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save this 5,000-year-old Buddhist archeological site from imminent demolition. So far only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated, though, and some believe that future discoveries there have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself. Continued