Through her company Ruthless Films, Ruth Leitman has directed six feature length documentaries. Her Southern Gothic film Alma (1998) won the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at Hamptons Film Festival, screened at IDFA, 3 SWSW, DGA and Whitney Biennial. Premiering at Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs, her film Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) won the Documentary Storytelling Prize at Nantucket Film Festival; was released theatrically; and was broadcast on SHOWTIME. Lipstick was featured on Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and NPR’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Leitman wrote Fordson, which has garnered numerous festival awards. Most recently, Tony & Janina’s American Wedding (2010), an immigration story, premiered at Chicago International Film Festival winning a Jury Prize.
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.
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. During her tenure the state broke all local film industry revenues in 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and the Illinois Film Office was recognized by the Illinois Arts Alliance with an Arts Advocate Award and Cinema Chicago's Golden Hugo. She also served on the Governor's Roundtable on the Creative Arts and the boards of Free Spirit Media, Chicago Media Project and the Midwest Independent Film Festival.
Alanna Schmelter is a film & television editor with a concentration in narrative non-fiction & documentary. After graduating with a degree in film editing from Columbia College Chicago, she started her career by cutting comedy at the world-renowned Second City. She has since edited series for National Geographic, Travel Channel, Ovation and A&E. In January 2016, she finished cutting a feature documentary titled Walk All Night: A Drum Beat Journey (Co-dir: Kate Benzschawel & Mallory Sohmer), about four teenage street musicians from Chicago who embark on a journey to Senegal to explore its culture and their connection to Africa. The film made its Chicago debut at the Black Harvest Film Festival in August of 2016.