2019 Kartemquin #EmpoweringTruth Benefit Luncheon to honor Julia Reichert

Kartemquin is thrilled to announce we will honor documentary legend and three-time Academy Award nominee Julia Reichert at the 2019 Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon on October 29th at Chicago’s The Standard Club. Reichert will be present to accept the award.

Tickets can be purchased here.

The leadership of Kartemquin Films introduced the Empowering Truth Award in 2019 to annually recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of an individual or organization whose work has made a significant contribution to social issue storytelling or has strengthened the landscape of the field in ways that foster diversity and empower marginalized perspectives.

“Throughout her career, Julia has consistently championed the unsung, fought racial and gender discrimination, and laid bare the struggle to organize with caring, collaborative, and ethical filmmaking. Combined with her deep commitment to independent film, distribution, and public media, we can think of no stronger advocate for the transformative power of documentary and no better person to define the significance of this new honor,” said Jolene Pinder, Executive Director of Kartemquin.

“Kartemquin has been honored to work alongside Julia towards a common goal of engaging and accessible documentary media that elucidates crucial issues of social justice. We look forward to celebrating not only her filmmaking, but her commitment to the documentary community and the establishment of organizational bases,” said Gordon Quinn, co-founder and Artistic Director.

The event will also include an exclusive attendees-only sneak peek of Chicago Story (working title), the newest in-progress film by two-time Academy Award nominated director Steve James, produced in partnership with Participant Media and Kartemquin Films.

For the second year in a row, the luncheon will highlight the bold and exciting new works coming out of Kartemquin’s revered filmmaker development programs: the Kartemquin internship, Kartemquin Labs, and Diverse Voices in Docs (DVID). Recipients of Kartemquin’s funding initiative, the KTQ Collaborative: Granting Program, will also be announced at the event.

The 2019 Kartemquin Empowering Truth Benefit Luncheon will take place on October 29th at 11:30AM at The Standard Club (320 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, IL 60604). Tickets can be purchased here.

Sponsorships opportunities available. For more information, contact jo@kartemquin.com.


Since the 1971 release of her groundbreaking first film, Growing Up Female, Julia Reichert has distinguished herself not only as one of the most skilled nonfiction filmmakers and storytellers of the past 50 years, but a deeply committed and invaluable member of the international documentary community.

Reichert’s work examines a range of issues spanning from racial and gender discrimination to globalization and its effects on U.S. workers, unions, and industry. Unmistakably present throughout her body of work is Reichert’s unwavering dedication to caring, collaborative, and ethical filmmaking.

Reichert is a three-time Academy Award nominee and one-time Emmy winner. Her most recent documentary American Factory, won the Best Documentary Directing Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It was soon after picked up by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions and will be released on Netflix on August 21st amidst significant critical acclaim. 

She is a co-founder of the documentary film distribution cooperative New Day Films as well Indie Caucus, an action group formed to protect and solidify documentaries’ place on PBS. Reichert also advised the IFP and the PBS series POV during their creation, forever changing the landscape of the industry and continuing to pave the way for documentarians to create films to have a real and lasting impact in the world.


Chicago Story (working title) is a mosaic portrait of Chicago and its citizens, captured at a crucial juncture in the city's history: the 2019 mayoral election campaign.

The film is directed by Steve James and produced by Zak Piper, and produced in partnership with Kartemquin Films and Participant Media. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann will executive produce along with Kartemquin’s Jolene Pinder and Gordon Quinn, in addition to author Alex Kotlowitz (There Are No Children Here).