Director
Steve James
Segment Directors
Bing Liu
Rebecca Parrish
Kevin Shaw
Series Producers
John Condne
Rise Sanders-Weir
Executive Producers
Steve James
Justine Nagan
Gordon Quinn
Betsy Steinberg
Jeff Skoll
Diane Weyermann
Edited by
Leslie Simmer
David E. Simpson
Steve James
Cinematographers
Kevin Shaw
Rebecca Parrish
Bing Liu
Steve James
Composer
Joshua Abrams
Music Supervisors
Dawn Sutter Madell
Jocelyn Michelle Brown
Co-Producer
Janea Smith
Associate Producer
Stephanie Rae Smith
Co-Editor
Alanna Schmelter
Associate Editor
Rubin Daniels, Jr.
Additional Cinematography
Jackson James
Darryl Parham
Cosmo Coffey
Dana Kupper
Drew Angle
Adam Singer
Keith Walker
Location Sound Recordists
Zak Piper
Hayden Jackson
Alan Chow
Nick Clemente
Richard K. Pooler
Patrick Bresnahan
Derek Hanson
Dug Mara
Shuling Yong
Post-Production Supervisor
Alanna Schmelter
Post-Production Coordinator
Rubin Daniels Jr.
Technical Supervisor
Ryan Gleeson

Steve James

Steve James' affiliation with Kartemquin began in 1987 with the start of production of Hoop Dreams, for which he served as director, producer, and co-editor. He has since then become one of the most acclaimed documentary makers of his generation, with noted works being Stevie, The New Americans, The War Tapes, At the Death House Door, The Interrupters, Life Itself, and most recently the 2018 Academy Award®-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.

Rebecca Parrish

Rebecca Parrish is a documentary director, cinematographer and editor. Her feature directorial debut, Radical Grace, was executive produced by Susan Sarandon, and premiered at 2015 Hot Docs followed by AFI Docs, garnering audience awards (Hot Docs Top 5 Audience Favorite and AFI Docs Best of Fest). Other work included the interactive web documentary and engagement campaign. Parrish graduated with honors from Wesleyan University in 2006 with a BA in American Studies. Her coursework explored the operation of race, class and sexuality in U.S.

Kevin Shaw

Born and raised in Chicago, Kevin has served as a director, producer, cinematographer on award-winning documentaries for ESPN, PBS, the NFL Network, and The Big Ten Network. In 2010, Shaw’s short documentary on a quadriplegic trying to regain the ability to walk won the Edward R. Murrow Award for Sports Reporting Excellence. Shaw won a National Sports Emmy for Cinematography for ESPN’s FIFA World Cup Show Opens and Teases.

John Condne

John Condne been the film and video teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School for twelve years. Condne received a Masters Degrees in film/video from Columbia College and in teaching & secondary education from Concordia University. Condne works with many current and former OPRF students on professional productions. He is the Producer on To Bridge the Divide.

Risé Sanders-Weir

Director of Production

Risé Sanders-Weir has supervised production for documentaries appearing on MSNBC, PBS, History, National Geographic, CNBC, A&E, The Weather Channel and others. Her work as a writer, producer, director and supervisor has been recognized with Emmy, Hugo and Telly awards. Sanders has also received nominations for an MPSE Golden Reel and an NAACP Image Award. She is the Producer of America to Me.

Justine Nagan

From 2008-2015, Justine led Kartemquin Films as Executive Director as well as being an Executive Producer on each new film. She was responsible, in concert with the Board of Directors, for creating and implementing the strategic vision for Kartemquin. Justine successfully transitioned to the ED role in a historic founder-led organization, and made major strides in building a foundation for long-term sustainability.

Gordon Quinn

Founder and Artistic Director

Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) "an extraordinarily moving documentary." With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people. 

Betsy Steinberg

Executive Director

Executive Director Betsy Steinberg joined Kartemquin in December 2015 and oversees daily operations, development, and serves as Executive Producer on Kartemquin projects. Prior to Kartemquin she spent eight years as Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office where she she spearheaded Illinois’ transformation into a world class film destination. She was instrumental in the passage of the Illinois film tax credit and implemented an overall business development strategy resulting in over $1 billion in direct economic impact.

David E. Simpson

David E. Simpson is a highly-awarded filmmaker who brings to his projects a collaborative spirit, proven storytelling chops and formidable attention to detail. Films he has produced, directed or edited have garnered two Emmys, two DuPont-Columbia batons, a pair of Peabody awards, an Oscar nomination, a Sundance jury prize and best in category at countless festivals. He has worked in close association with Kartemquin Films since 1997.

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams has composed scores for 7 feature films, 6 short films, and the themes for StoryCorps Animated Shorts. His music has appeared in Oscar-nominated and Emmy award-winning films by directors Steve James and Bill Siegel, as well as films by Aaron Wickenden, Dan Rybicky, Jamie Meltzer, Dinesh Sabu, and Simon Starling. Joshua's score for Life Itself earned him a nomination for best score of 2015 from Cinema Eye Honors.

Janea Smith

From game shows to reality shows and everything in between, Chicago native Janea Smith is a Television Producer and a Consultant who always has a new project up her sleeve.

Jackson James

Jackson James has worked as a director and cinematographer on over 55+ music videos primarily based in Chicago. He's worked closely with many of the rising musical acts from Chicago, including Ravyn Lenae, Chance the Rapper, Joey Purp, Twin Peaks, Knox Fortune, Towkio, and others, often featuring a wide variety of neighborhoods and settings around Chicago as the backdrop for each piece.

Darryl Parham

With over 20 years of experience behind the lens, Darryl has made a commitment to producing visual solutions that meet the creative and technical demands of a diverse clientele. Having the ability to move from behind the camera to the role of a producer has allowed him the unique perspective of being able to tell a captivating story from concept to completion. His projects have given him extensive national and international experience, providing him the necessary skills to adapt to a variety of situations and work with people of various cutlures.

Adam Singer

Filmmaker Associate; Creative Committee Co-Chair

Adam D. Singer began working with Kartemquin Films in 1989, spending 5 years on the critically acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams, and has continued his association with them ever since. He has worked on various productions, both nationally and internationally, as a producer, cameraman and sound recordist.

Keith Walker

Keith, co-owner and director of photography for Media Process Group, has shot hundreds of broadcast segments for shows like 60-minutes, Oprah’s Next Chapter, Dateline, and HBO Real Sports, as well as numerous award-winning documentaries for PBS, NBC and CBS. He also shot many corporate marketing and educational projects for clients like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Gates Foundation, Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Starbucks.

Zak Piper

Zak is an Emmy and PGA award-winning documentary filmmaker who has made films for over 15 years.

Currently, Zak is producing several feature films: Chicago Story (working title) with producer/director Steve James; Until the Lion Speaks (working title), for Concordia Studio, with co-directors Bing Liu and Joshua Altman; and Generation Food (working title), a film he is also co-directing/producing with Raj Patel and producer Rachel Wexler.

Shuling Yong

Shuling Yong is a Singapore-born, Chicago-based documentary filmmaker, sound recordist and DP with a passion for social change. She has worked on films like Radical Grace (Hot Docs, 2015, dir. Rebecca Parrish), America to Me (Sundance, 2018, dir. Steve James), and And She Could Be Next (dir. Grace Lee and Marjan Safinia).

Ryan Gleeson

Post-Production Manager

A graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Ryan first joined the Kartemquin family as an intern of Xan Aranda and assisted in the rollout of her film Andrew Bird: Fever Year. Later, as an intern at Kartemquin, he worked on a range of tasks including contributing to outreach on The Interrupters, assisting in editing of the demo of Living Revolution, and helping with Kartemquin’s first KTQ Labs Spring Showcase.