Join us for our KTQ Labs Spring Showcase

For the first time ever we will be opening our KTQ Labs program to the public, with the premieres of select scenes from four new in-progress Chicago-produced films.

On May 15th at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago, we'll be showing clips from Encounters with the Other, Almost There, Unbroken Glass, and The Trials of Muhammad Ali, with the filmmakers and special guests present. Tickets for the event are now on sale.

The subject matter ranges from the story of Muhammad Ali’s fight against the draft and imprisonment in the Vietnam War era, directed by Oscar-nominee Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground), to first-time filmmaker Dinesh Sabu’s cinematic attempt to uncover the truth about his Indian-immigrant parents, who died both died when he was just six years old. Two-time Peabody-winner Maria Finitzo (Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita) will present her new film on the Tsimane people of Bolivia, and Aaron Wickenden (editor of Scrappers and co-editor of The Interrupters) will present Almost There, his collaboration with director/producer Dan Rybicky about outsider artist Peter Anton.

The new event structure will have the filmmakers present clips of their films before allowing the audience to provide feedback and shape the future of these important works.  The format came from Kartemquin’s own “KTQ Labs: Feedback Screenings” program, a free monthly service at which local filmmakers present their demos and rough cuts to the Kartemquin community in return for constructive critique.

“We make each of our films through collaboration and intense discussion. We’re so excited to now invite our fans to be part of our creative process through this unique event,” said Kartemquin’s Executive Director Justine Nagan.

The “KTQ Labs Feedback Screening” program service has helped more than 60 projects progress towards completion in the past 6 years, including some of the most acclaimed documentaries to come out of Chicago in recent years, such as Louder Than A Bomb; Andrew Bird: Fever Year; Tony & Janina’s American Wedding; Beneath the Blindfold and Scrappers.

“It is part of our mission to elevate documentary film and independent media, so we have always hosted these feedback screenings at our own building. We hope this may become an annual showcase of our own new works-in-progress, and could potentially grow to be more frequent and open to the wider local documentary community," said Nagan.

The Kartemquin Spring Showcase will take place at the Gene Siskel Film Center on May 15, 2012 at 8 p.m, with a filmmaker reception beginning at 7pm for all ticketholders. Tickets are now available:

This event is featured at as a “175 Days to Love Chicago” event in celebration of the city’s 175th birthday.


The filmmakers will show exclusive, premiere clips from these four Kartemquin works-in-progress:

·      Encounters with the Other  (Producer: Maria Finitzo)

Encounters observes Tsimane’ people, indigenous to the lowlands of Bolivia, as they attempt to preserve traditional values in the face of globalization and the introduction of the market economy.

Maria Finitzo is the Peabody award-winning producer of Terra Incognita: Mapping Stem Cell Research, 5 Girls and the PBS series The New Explorers.


·      Almost There  (Producers: Dan Rybicky & Aaron Wickenden)

A film and transmedia project documenting the discovery and stewardship of the work of 79-year-old outsider Peter Anton.

Aaron Wickenden was co-editor on The Interrupters, cinematographer on Andrew Bird: Fever year, and co-producer/co-editor on At The Death House Door. Dan Rybicky is a playwright and screenwriter, and teaches film at Columbia College Chicago.


·      Unbroken Glass  (Producer: Dinesh Sabu)

Twenty years after their deaths, a young filmmaker journeys to find out the truth about his parents’ lives.

Dinesh Sabu is a former Kartemquin intern (spring ’08) and staff member who is now a freelance filmmaker. This is his first film.


·      The Trials of Muhammad Ali  (Producers: Bill Siegel, Rachel Pikelny)

A documentary covering Ali’s toughest bout, his battle to overturn the five-year prison sentence he received for refusing US military service during the Vietnam War.

Bill Siegel is the co-director of the Oscar nominated The Weather Underground. Rachel Pikelny was a producer on Bill T Jones: A Good Man.