12 Kartemquin Associates make Newcity Film 50 List: Chicago's Screen Gems

Newcity Film has named twelve Kartemquin associates to its Film 50 2016 List: Chicago's Screen Gems. This year, NewCity has devoted its list to honoring artists rather than producers, programmers and all-round facilitators:

"It's essential to highlight bold figures who make work year after year, work that surprises or sustains, as well as supernovas who startle suddenly with vision or verbosity or vivid visuals or vital activism, and of course, those fresh-faced but hardly callow, protean people who you can't not watch as they invest themselves in capturing their moment and our moments in this toddlin' town today." –Ray Pride, Newcity

Honorees include:

Steve James, Director/Producer/Editor/Cinematographer
"From the universally recognized masterpiece Hoop Dreams, to Stevie, partly about dashed good intentions, to The New Americans, At the Death House Door and 2011's The Interrupters, James has proven himself one of the clearest-eyed of regional, or truly, international filmmakers.

Aaron Wickenden, Director/Producer/Editor/Cinematographer
"Strong story structure and stellar pacing with surprises along the way are a hallmark of movies where Aaron Wickenden has an editing credit."

David E. Simpson, Director/Producer/Editor/Cinematographer
"Another of the wealth of quiet voices that shape and structure the stories coming out of the city. A colleague once described Simpson as "the best editor in Chicago and quite possibly the world." High praise, but hard-earned."

Joshua Abrams, Composer
"Noted local composer and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams had always paid attention to the character of music in movies he watched. But he hadn't thought of scoring films until Aaron Wickenden, editor of The Interrupters cold-called him, and a conversation with director Steve James right before Thanksgiving led to a score for the movie's Sundance 2011 debut."

Maria Finitzo, Director/Producer
"Longtime documentarian Maria Finitzo continues to expand horizons as a filmmaker while recently sharing a duPont-Columbia prize for her work as a director on the Hard Earned series about the lives of underpaid workers...Her tender, assured, compassionate doc, In the Game, scheduled for a fall broadcast...follows a girls' soccer team for four years at Brighton Park's primarily Latino Kelly High School that's dealing with a four-million-dollar budget cut."

Dana Kupper, Cinematographer
"Veteran cinematographer Dana Kupper, whose credits include Steve James' Stevie and diverse Kartemquin projects including Bill Siegel's The Trials of Muhammad Ali, Maria Finitzo's In the Game and James' Life Itself, has expanded her reach to international projects in Japan, Singapore and London. [Says Kupper,] "There can be very dark moments when making a doc, from moral quandaries to crippling artistic doubt. But feeling that you can reach out to people who understand, truly understand, can be a lifesaver."

Ines Sommer, Cinematographer for In the Game, Hard Earned, The School Project, In the Family and Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita
""Ines is the best," a leading programmer told us when recommending documentary and experimental filmmaker Ines Sommer. "She's the city's best-kept secret and that is a shame." That may no longer be the case as the longtime director-producer-director of photography, who is also associate director of Northwestern University’s Documentary Media program, releases a raft of new work."

Bob Hercules, Director/Producer
"Hercules thrives on the Chicago film scene, he says, "because its a very collaborative community (rather than competitive). Chicago is a great place for documentary filmmakers since there's no lack of stories here, rich stories that demand to be told.""

Lyra Hill, Archival Associate
"Lyra Hill is prolific in multiple artistic pursuits. "I make experimental films, underground comix, performances, rituals and radical combinations therof.""

Margaret Byrne, Director/Producer/Cinematographer
"Margaret Byrne's long-in-the-works Raising Bertie, a behaviorally rich and visually ravishing, five-year immersion into the largely African-American North Carolina farming community of Bertie County, follows the lives of three young men approaching adulthood."

Liz Kaar, Editor
""Yes, indeed, I'm working on some stuff," editor-producer Liz Kaar says of her burgeoning career, which took off as an assistant editor for Kartemquin documentaries like In the Family and Milking the Rhino. She later edited Justine Nagan's Typeface as well as Joanna Rudnick's On Beauty."

Chris Rejano, Cinematographer for American Arab
"Director of photographer Chris Rejano has one of the most eclectic resumes in town, ranging from documentary to television to low-budget work."

Congratulations to all honorees! Read the full list here.