Director
Steve James
Producer
Steve James
Zak Piper
Cinematography
Jackson James
Steve James
Kevin Shaw
Field Producer
Sylvetta Christmas
Sound Recordist
Zak Piper
Co-Editor
Steve James
David E. Simpson
Executive Producer
Gordon Quinn
Alex Kotlowitz
David Linde
Diane Weyermann

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sylvetta Christmas

Sylvetta Christmas was born and raised in Chicago. She has extensive hands on experience in film and television that has allowed her to work in various locations abroad. She started as an intern and worked her way through the ranks of production assistant, coordinator, manager, and producer. As a producer she has managed production for some of the top rated cable network programs on VH1, MTV, Oxygen, Bravo, Lifetime and CNBC. Her vast experience in producing docu-series television has given her a broad range of skills that she is excited about bringing to the world of documentary filmmaking.

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.

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. 

Alex Kotlowitz

Producer

Alex Kotlowitz is perhaps best known for the bestselling There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America. The book, which was published in 1991 and has since sold over half-a-million copies, was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award. The New York Public Library selected There Are No Children Here as one of the 150 most important books of the century.