Filmmaker Development Programs

Working With Us

While the majority of work made through the Kartemquin Collaborative Production Model stems from our core group of associates and program graduates, we are interested in building relationships with other social-issue documentarians and supporting independent filmmaking.

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Filmmaker Development Programs

Kartemquin’s filmmaker development programs 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.

Support for Kartemquin’s Filmmaker Development Programs in 2019 comes from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Journalism and Media program, the Voqal Fund, the Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Seabury Foundation, the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Prince Charitable Trust, the Chicago Department for Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


Educational workshops with our staff and award-winning producers form the core of our acclaimed internship. Interns are recognized as essential members of our team and are quickly immersed in all aspects of the organization. Each internship term is unique based on the needs and stage of production our current films are in,  and contains a range of activities across development, production, and distribution, as well in the day-to-day of making our not-for-profit media arts organization run.

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Diverse Voices in Docs

Diverse Voices in Docs is a professional development and mentorship program for documentary filmmakers of color, organized by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. The program hones skills as filmmakers develop projects, sharing experiences and expertise over the course of nine monthly workshops. Fellows become eligible for grant funds upon graduation. Graduates have gone on to receive funding from Sundance and ITVS, and had their work receive awards at major film festivals and be distributed on PBS, Netflix, and Hulu.

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KTQ Labs

A free monthly service at which filmmakers present their demos and rough cuts to the Kartemquin community in return for constructive critique. The KTQ Labs program has helped improve over 100 projects in the past decade. Notable titles that have been through our process include Making a Murderer; Quest; Louder Than a Bomb; What’s the Matter With Kansas?; The Prison in 12 Landscapes; Shot in the Dark; Scrappers; ¡Las Sandinistas!; Andrew Bird: Fever Year; and The Blood is at the Doorstep.

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Kartemquin / Hulu Accelerator

Combining Kartemquin’s expertise in nurturing emerging, diverse midwest-based filmmakers and projects with Hulu’s groundbreaking support of original documentaries, the Hulu/Kartemquin Accelerator program will will offer an unprecedented opportunity for alumni of Kartemquin’s acclaimed Filmmaker Development Programs.

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KTQ Collaborative: Granting Program

The KTQ Collaborative granting program provides funding towards early-career filmmakers within our community. The grants are available to filmmakers who currently are enrolled in or who have previously graduated from our Filmmaker Development Programs, and those who are currently engaged in co-productions with Kartemquin.

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Media Advocacy

To ensure a vibrant and diverse independent public media, Kartemquin regularly takes a lead position on policy issues affecting our field, such as issues of ethics and “fair use” rights for documentary filmmakers.

As representatives of the independent media arts community, we have also led or been part of coalitions in support of public access TV, the successful renewal and extension of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions for both documentary and fictional filmmakers, and the PBSNeedsIndies campaign and launching the Indie Caucus.

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KTQ in the Classroom

KTQ in the Classroom highlights activities Kartemquin has done throughout our history: working with educators to enhance media literacy and understanding of the power of documentary storytelling through in-classroom visits, educational screenings and discussions, special teaching materials, and on-site tours and practical workshops.

Want to start using Kartemquin films in the classroom, or to share tips on how we can better help you do it? Please email Abbie Brewer: for more information.

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Kartemquin Archives Project

Founded in 1966, our organization spans a fascinating time in American history and the KTQ archive contains film, videotape, paper archives and ephemera that we think will be of great use to film scholars, filmmakers and historians for years to come. The first task, however, is identifying what exactly is in there, and what condition it is in.

Kartemquin's archive of production materials is a collection of (conservatively estimated) 12,000+ different film reels, video tapes, hard drives and more. The painstaking inventory work is unraveling a hidden history of Kartemquin and Chicago filmmaking that has never properly been noted, let alone made public.

The KTQ Archives project is being funded in part by a generous grant from the Reva and David Logan Foundation. If you would like to contribute, please do so here.