Celebrating 45 years of Chicago storytelling

Kartemquin Films marks its 45th year with a celebration of the power of storytelling this Thursday, September 15th at The Metro.


The event is the first of many this fall in recognition of this unique and often unheralded indie film success story – best known for producing Hoop Dreams – including retrospectives by the Milwaukee Film Festival; the University of Chicago’s Doc Films; Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox cinema; and the Virginia Film Festival, in addition to an ongoing monthly showcase on Chicago’s WTTW11 PBS station.


The September 15th anniversary event at Metro is in partnership with WXRT and features sneak previews of Kartemquin releases for 2012, music by Mar Caribe, and special appearances by WBEZ's Alison Cuddy, producer/director Steve James (cited this year as “America’s most important documentary director” by IndieWIRE), and many more Kartemquin filmmakers from the past 45 years, including founding members Gordon Quinn and Jerry Blumenthal. Tickets are still available online at http://www.kartemquin.com/45/event.


The anniversary events come amid a year of unprecedented activity for Kartemquin. A home for independent producers who share its focus on creating social change through film, the studio currently has a record number of films in production, and has already smashed its yearly screenings record, notching up over 1,000 live events and television broadcasts of films from its back-catalog of over 40 social issue documentaries.


Their newest film, The Interrupters (from director Steve James and producer Alex Kotlowitz) has won multiple film festival awards in 2011 and is currently on release across the US, Canada and U. The film about violence prevention in Chicago shattered the all-time box office record at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center in August, and was recently selected to screen for delegates of the United Nations in New York on September 14th.


The studio’s next release, A Good Man (co-directed by Gordon Quinn and Bob Hercules), previews at Chicago’s Siskel Center from September 23-29 before a major national broadcast on PBS American Masters on November 11th. The film documents Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones as he creates an original dance-theater piece commissioned by Ravinia Festival in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial.


Both films will also screen as part of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s retrospective, along with Hoop Dreams and a preview of forthcoming 2012 Kartemquin release American Arab. Kartemquin will also host panels on social engagement and films dealing with Labor at the festival, which runs from September 22 - October 2.


Beginning on October 2nd, The University of Chicago’s Doc Films will screen 19 Kartemquin films from across every decade of Kartemquin's history as part of a 10-week retrospective running on Sunday nights - a testament to the long-standing relationship between Kartemquin and the university. Kartemquin was initially founded in 1966 by University of Chicago graduates Stan Karter, Jerry Temaner and Gordon Quinn (hence Kar-Tem-Quin) with a manifesto of “cinematic social inquiry” aimed at letting people tell their own story in an intimate, direct cinema style. The current Executive Director, Justine Nagan, is also a University of Chicago graduate. Kartemquin directors and producers will attend many of the screenings.


Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox's retrospective will run October 3rd-9th and focus on the films of Oscar-nominee Steve James, who has called Kartemquin his filmmaking home for almost 25 years. James will be present for this "new auteurs" showcase of his films, which will accompany a run of The Interrupters, and will also feature Hoop Dreams and Stevie. Earlier in the year the Maysles Cinema in New York also hosted a Steve James retrospective.


The Virginia Film Festival retrospective, titled “Then and Now, 45 Years of Kartemquin Films,” will run November 3-6 and also feature films from across multiple decades of the history. Kartemquin Artistic Director and A Good Man co-director Gordon Quinn will attend the festival.


WTTW, the most watched public television station in the country, has been airing a different Kartemquin film each month of 2011, starting in March with the 1968 cinema verite classic Inquiring Nuns. Each broadcast has been accompanied by a special introduction from the filmmakers. Still to come in the series are Refrigerator Mothers, the nationwide television premiere of A Good Man, 5 Girls, and The Interrupters broadcast on Frontline in 2012.



Continuing Kartemquin Films 45th year events                          #KTQ45


·      September 15, 6pm                       45th anniversary celebration at The Metro, Chicago

·      September 23 - 29                         A Good Man at Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago

·      September 22 - October 2            Milwaukee Film Festival retrospective

·      October 2 - December 4               University of Chicago Doc Films retrospective

·      October 3 - 9                                   Steve James series at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto

·      November 3 - 6                              Virginia Film Festival retrospective

·      Ongoing to March 2012                WTTW monthly screening series