How We Make Films

"I could produce, direct and edit as a lone wolf; but there's something wonderful about having a home. Kartemquin is a fellowship of kindred spirits, a hotbed of creative and intellectual energy, an environment that supports and yet demands of me that I do my best possible work."
—David Simpson

Kartemquin serves filmmakers through its acclaimed Collaborative Production Model. Producers bring us ideas for stories they are passionate about and we help make them a reality, providing support in story development, technical skills, equipment needs, office space, editing, legal and accounting services, fundraising, pre-sales and acquisitions, marketing, distribution and audience engagement. When the filmmaker is finished, we provide their work with a home for life, continuing outreach and marketing across emerging platforms, and ensuring the long-term preservation and archiving of their work.

It’s a collaborative relationship designed to help filmmakers make and distribute the film they want to make, to have a social impact, and for us to make sure that any Kartemquin project maintains strong ethics, quality and commitment to our mission.

These films are Executive Produced by our leadership, 10% the budget covers the many services provided by Kartemquin, and they are on our financial books. To ensure the results of this working relationship are of the highest quality, we only produce a handful of projects at any time. However, we are open to proposal submissions. We ask that prior to contacting Kartemquin, filmmakers prepare their proposal (including budget, fundraising plan, distribution plan, and outreach ideas) and make sure that their project resonates with our mission and history.

Other ways to work with us:

In-Association Projects

Occasionally we have collaborated with producers on projects that we cannot fit within our regular production slate, providing long-term staff assistance, story/edit consulting, and technical advice. These are rare relationships, but we are open to exploring more. We can offer fiscal sponsorship support if needed. Recent examples include City of Trees, Wuhan Wuhan, and A Mystery to Me. Please contact for more information.

Fiscal Sponsorship

There are many good organizations that provide fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers and we are happy to give you a referral. We are currently not seeking this type of relationship.


Kartemquin’s staff and associates offer a variety of consulting services on documentary works-in-progress. Areas of expertise include: budgeting and proposals, technical services, work-flow, and creative storytelling. Hourly and day rates are available. Please contact for more information.

Filmmaker Development Programs

Kartemquin’s Filmmmaker Development Programs (KTQ Internship, KTQ Labs, Diverse Voices in Docs) are the entry point for many into our community and the backbone of our organization. Our programs serve over 50 filmmakers annually and have cultivated a network of 500+ alumni. The organization is a committed advocate for the sustainability of the documentary field.